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Worst meal at someone's home - Part 1


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Okay, I was invited to dinner the home of very good friends. The husband is a pretty good cook. The wife, who can barely microwave a potato, would always tell me of the great stuff her husband would make and boast that he only uses real butter in his baked goods. (As a home baker, I refrained from saying, "No, duh!")

So, we sat down to dinner and picked up my bread, spread some butter on it, and bit down. It was...margarine! I hadn't had margarine since I was a kid and could barely swallow the piece I had in my mouth. Blech, yuck, p-tooey!

The rest of the meal was fine, but I'll always remember that meal as the one where I was subjected to margarine.

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As an accompaniment, there's derma (which is literally stuffed intestine, but in this case it has been pulled out of its casing - its spices, fat, and flour) mixed with overcooked tasteless pasta.

but my dear, this stuff known as derma is the wonderful delicacy known as kishke! of course, to mix it with pasta, let alone tasteless pasta, should be worthy of several years in jail at the least. kishke is a very very very heavy substance, and combined with tasteless pasta could well be lethal. eat it roasted with a bit of brisket and oy: so delish!

my husband, who isn't even jewish, has adopted kishke as his middle name. we had a cute kishke experience once, but i won't take the time to go in to it this moment. note that i said cute, not naughty as could perhaps be inferred........with the shape of the kishke and all.........

isn't there a polka about these fabled kishkes?

or am i thinking of the wrong kishke?

and ray - you are the Gourmet nazi eh? I want to say the article was in a late 90s Saveur - soemthing about a mother who couldn't cook as the reason the author was a Food Writer today, i believe.

All these stories remind me of a co-worker i once had - who was remarkably food obsessed, who used to regale me with stories of her mother's cooking....one that sticks out in my mind is her mother tried to make a chocolate-coffee bundt cake, and didn't quite get that the coffee was supposed to be brewed first, and just dumped the ground coffee into the batter and baked it. this horrified me.

not as much as an old roommate who's definition of spices was salt and pepper, tho.

Edited by tryska (log)
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Terrific thread! I have a couple of unfortunate dinners of my own to share:

About three years ago, I had a summer job at prepared-foods counter of a fancy grocery store which shall go unnamed here. We had many customers who came in every night to grab something for dinner, and one of them was a friendly, early-30s-ish man. We'd often chat--totally benign stuff. He worked for some small record label and was in training to be a masseur. He once invited me to his home for dinner, and for some reason I can no longer remember nor justify, I accepted. He was a nice guy, after all. He lived in a sparse but beautifully-done rustic house up in the hills. As soon as I arrived, he showed me around and then proceeded to set to work on dinner, which he told me he'd picked up at the farmers' market that morning. As I stood and watched, he took no less than 15 minutes to arrange six different kinds of sprouts ( :huh: ) on a plate for me, carefully tucking little orange cherry tomatoes here and there, along with a few chunks of avocado. He then gave the whole plate a hearty drizzle of olive oil and handed it to me. He threw together a 30-second version of the same for himself, and we sat down to eat at a tatami table in his living room. Now, this meal *might* have been alright if it had been followed by something juicy, creamy, starchy, fill-the-belly-y, or maybe even just a big ole chunk of bread for me to maul. But that was it: sprouts. After dinner, he played some Chinese string instrument for me (he'd lived and studied in China and Japan after college) as my stomach rumbled, and then I politely left and went home to eat a massive peanut butter and raspberry preserves sandwich.

Another unfortunate meal was at the home of a friend of my boyfriend's. The two of us were living in different states at the time, and I had come to visit him for the weekend. This friend of his, a very nice "Mountain Mama" type of girl, offered to cook us dinner and suggested an acorn squash curry. Mmmm, acorn squash curry! But when we arrived and sat down to eat, the highly-anticipated curry turned out to be a room-temperature mixture of unsalted, near-raw bitter vegetables with a little chalky curry folded in, served over room-temperature brown rice. She offered us a bottle of avocado oil from the fridge, if we wanted to drizzle it over the top. I grabbed onto the salt shaker for dear life, ate about half of the raw mass, and got a terrific stomachache.

She blogs: Orangette

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worst meals..

-a couple I am good friends with fancy themselves good cooks, and most of the time they are, but they eat like birds. me and another friend have started having a meal prior to being invited to their house. the never seem to have enough, but always seem full. they are cheapskates on top of it. So, anyway, the worst thing this friend made though was a potato salad where the potatos were mostly raw. I was so damn hungry, I ate some against better judgement.

-last night, a friend of mine who is normally a damn good cook, but is one of the school of stoned cookery i.e. lots of odd concoctions that sound good to her when she is high. Usually she errs on the side of decadent, but last night. She filled my plate with ziti cooked with vinegar,cabbage,onions, and tomatos and something that tasted nutty. It was awful and sour and yucko.

the funny thing is I grew up eating true american-italian food, but I have always had this fasination with

"white" cookery--especially spaghetti that was sweet with ground beef mushed it. I know its bad. But I love it.

-----------------

AMUSE ME

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Oh my, this thread finally prompted me to post after reading the site for a little while. I love the site; there is so much information and so many wonderful people here.

My mother-in-law is the worst cook I have ever seen in my life.

Two of the more memorable (in a bad way!) meals I have had to put up with are: a gallon or so of water in a stock pot with one package of lipton chicken noodle soup mix, 2 pounds of regular ground beef, and 1 chopped onion. This was all mixed together in a pot and left to boil for about 2 hours. This was our lunch. The beef was not browned nor were there any other spices or seasonings added.

One supper consisted of leftover beef roast cooked to death with lumpy mashed potatoes over top (her version of shepherds' pie) and baked in the oven. This was served with parmesan cheese that I kid you not, expired 3 years prior; you know the type in the green can. My husband dumped some on his meal and it was dark brown. I turned the can over to look at the expiration date and a beetle also fell out to join the mess on my plate.

When we showed her this, she did not seem concerned, took some parmesan for herself and put the can back in the cupboard. Her salad dressings are also at least one year out of date.

By the way, when she served us this excuse for a meal, the dog also got a portion in his bowl and she let him then eat the leftovers off her plate. She does not have a dishwasher.

The worst part is that she lives a day's drive away and on a farm so one can't easily slip out for a snack or go home for something to eat. It was particularly nauseating when I was pregnant. I did take some snacks to eat while hiding out in our room. Her place is also dirty and stinks of mildew, dogs, and cigarette smoke.

My poor husband grew up on this and does appreciate a good meal now, although he is not the food lover that I am.

The last time we stayed there, we had a camper and cooked our own meals, but I don't know what we would do now since we sold the trailer. Thank goodness we don't visit often.

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Oh my, this thread finally prompted me to post after reading the site for a little while.  I love the site; there is so much information and so many wonderful people here.

My mother-in-law is the worst cook I have ever seen in my life.

Two of the more memorable (in a bad way!) meals I have had to put up with are:  a gallon or so of water in a stock pot with one package of lipton chicken noodle soup mix, 2 pounds of regular ground beef, and 1 chopped onion.  This was all mixed together in a pot and left to boil for about 2 hours.  This was our lunch.  The beef was not browned nor were there any other spices or seasonings added.

One supper consisted of leftover beef roast cooked to death with lumpy mashed potatoes over top (her version of shepherds' pie) and baked in the oven.  This was served with parmesan cheese that I kid you not, expired 3 years prior; you know the type in the green can.  My husband dumped some on his meal and it was dark brown.  I turned the can over to look at the expiration date and a beetle also fell out to join the mess on my plate.

When we showed her this, she did not seem concerned, took some parmesan for herself and put the can back in the cupboard.  Her salad dressings are also at least one year out of date.

By the way, when she served us this excuse for a meal, the dog also got a portion in his bowl and she let him then eat the leftovers off her plate.  She does not have a dishwasher.

The worst part is that she lives a day's drive away and on a farm so one can't easily slip out for a snack or go home for something to eat.  It was particularly nauseating when I was pregnant.  I did take some snacks to eat while hiding out in our room.  Her place is also dirty and stinks of mildew, dogs, and cigarette smoke.

My poor husband grew up on this and does appreciate a good meal now, although he is not the food lover that I am.

The last time we stayed there, we had a camper and cooked our own meals, but I don't know what we would do now since we sold the trailer.  Thank goodness we don't visit often.

Aren't you a sister-in-law of mine? :biggrin:

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Could be, Katherine, although as far as I know, no one goes by that name :smile:

How do you survive? My sisters-in-law are equally bad cooks, although I do think they make an effort. They also don't seem to care or know whether food is good or bad; it's all the same to them.

My husband used to be a truck driver; after all those years of bad food, truck stop food was probably like manna to him.

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I am thankful that I've never had a meal as bad as these (excepting my one time experience with chicken feet as noted above). I hope to god I never do.

I think Katherine and NeroW should get together and compare notes. :wacko: Their ex-es seem to have been switched at birth? (See quote and link below)

My ex-boyfriend (whose face, thank God, grows more and more dim with every passing day) claimed to be "allergic" or was seriously opposed to the following:

ALL fruits and ALL vegetables. All . No salads. No juices. No side of broccoli. No haricots verts. No ragouts. No roasted vegetable pasta. No fresh summer tomato with salt. Nothing . He said that fruits and vegetables made his throat swell up.

He ate no chocolate. He ate NO cheese, not even processed cheese food slices or Colby or string cheese, much less any "weird" cheese I might have had lying around. Wine. Caramel. Yogurt. Hard liquor, which was too bad, because he drove me to drink. Condiments other than ketchup, and that only with French fries, and those only McDonald's-type cut: no crinkle-cut or shoestring potatoes for him, he claimed the texture became too "mealy." This excluded hash browns or American fries or baked potatoes or mashers from his diet as well. A piece of potato that had been fried had also better not have any skin left on it--potato skin was a no-no. Bread in most incarnations--he'd order a hamburger, and eat only the meat. He'd eat brown-cardboard toast at breakfast joints with horrid fake jelly, but turn his nose up at my mother's sublime homemade bread.

He would Not Eat Butter--he wouldn't even buy butter for me to eat at his house. No pickles. No onion. All meat except plain grilled chicken breasts and hamburger patty was "gross" to him. He would not eat a piece of chicken that had been flavored in ANY way--even with lemon juice (no lemon! makes my throat swell up!) or olive oil (no! it has olives in it!) He would not eat roast chicken. He would not even eat ground beef, i.e., on nachos. He would not eat bacon, he would not eat roast beef, he would not eat sausage. He would not eat Thanksgiving turkey, or its stuffing. He would not eat Easter ham. The mere idea of getting him to try fish or seafood, or goose/duck/lamb/organ meats, or a freaking-ass pork chop, or even a piece of dark-meat chicken, was laughable. He'd never had a piece of steak--ANY steak--in his life. Barbecue sauce was out. Teriyaki? No way. No soy sauce. Fish sauce never crossed his mind once. Garlic--that's a laugh too, to think of him eating anything that garlic had even been near. Ever. Pasta: he would eat my homemade macaroni and cheese and my mother's lasagna, but that's all. No spaghetti. No ravioli. No noodle that was shaped unlike an elbow or a piece of toiletpaper.

He would not eat bagels. Cream cheese? Hah! Eggs were off-limits for him (another "allergy"). I used to thoroughly disgust him (through his mouthful of brown-cardboard toast) at breakfast joints by mopping up my runny egg yolk with my American fries. Salt and pepper, even, were "strange." Chutneys or jams or salsas were out. He wouldn't even eat junk food--oh wait, Doritos. He liked those. And Cheetos. He didn't drink coffee or tea or pop.

He DID eat: takeout Chinese from one particular place--but only Sweet/Sour chicken--no egg rolls, nothing that was "hidden." Plain. White. Rice. Tofu (??) The aforementioned Doritos and Cheetos. Grilled chicken breast. He used to come over to my house to grill enough chicken and make enough rice to last him an entire week, and mix it with taco sauce (NOT salsa). At. Every. Meal. He drank water, Corona (NO other beer) or Gatorade. The green kind.

He makes me, needless to say, want to puke.

Nothing will seem embarrassing or annoying after him. No one. Nothing.

Horror Stories Of A Different Flavor

Soba

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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I must say, I've been to many a meal where I've gagged several times at the table. No particularly good stories, just crappy food. Most of which had to be swallowed with whatever I was drinking at the time.

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Could be, Katherine, although as far as I know, no one goes by that name :smile:

How do you survive?  My sisters-in-law are equally bad cooks, although I do think they make an effort.  They also don't seem to care or know whether food is good or bad; it's all the same to them.

My husband used to be a truck driver; after all those years of bad food, truck stop food was probably like manna to him.

The first step toward recovery, for me, was divorce. Not for everybody, a last resort.

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Ha, Katherine, I suppose that would work!

This is my second marriage; the first mother-in-law wasn't a bad cook, albeit a bit boring. Divorce took care of her, although she was o.k. and much nicer than the one I have now.

Ah well, my husband now is a sweet fellow and we only have to put up with his family every couple of years so it's doable. He doesn't get along very well with his family at all so it's not like I have to fake liking her or her food. Next time we visit it'll be with one of his sisters or in a hotel.

We were out there this spring for a funeral and one of the meals cooked by his sisters featured overcooked roast beef, hacked into inch thick pieces, mashed potatoes with no milk, butter or anything else added and put on the table 3/4 hour before everything else and some vile salads.

The only edible thing were the fresh strawberries and ice cream. Tony's mom wondered why I was just slicing them into a bowl with a little sugar to macerate. She told me to pour boiling water over the strawberries to soften them up for a sauce. Blasphemy! I told her she was out of her mind. A few drops of balsamico would have sent them screaming for the hills, I am sure. :sad:

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hey Ray - i think i found her (the writer i mean) -

here's an excerpt fromt he NY times so you might have to register....

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/r/reich...chl-tender.html

tryska: I read that book! It's all coming back to me now. She is now the Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine. Tender at the Bone is a great book and her followup, Comfort me with Apples, is also good. Thanks for all your detective work. Now I just have to re-read that chapter :smile:

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I have a cousin who I'm sure would say it was the raw broiled chicken I prepared (at my mother's instruction) when I was about 13. She neglected to tell me that you had to drop the broiler pan when you broil chicken. I kept saying the chicken needed to be cooked more, my mother kept insisting that she "likes her chicken rare" my cousin, who had always thought we were odd anyway, I'm sure thought we were odder. The entire episode came to an end when my younger brother draped a napkin over his chicken, coyly peeked under it and asked if he could take the patient into the recovery room (we were required to ask to be excused from the dinner table and expected to clear our plates).

I have never broiled chicken again.

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Years ago, a new man in my life invited me to his home for dinner.

The dining room was fairly spacious with a high ceiling. Two candles on the table were the only lighting. So far so good.

He brings the meal out of the kitchen: a veg, white rice and white fish(not sure exactly what type of fish). So far so good.

We start eating. I discover that what I thought was filet was instead whole--filled with what seemed like thousands of tiny, needle-like bones. My eyesight is not the greatest, add that to a semi-dark room and a pile of white rice next to the fish...well, it took me about an hour to eat. That was our last "date".

I know an assassination attempt when I see one.

Kitchen Kutie

"I've had jutht about enough outta you!"--Daffy Duck

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Soba:

:biggrin:

Yargh, I'd forgotten about that ex-boyfriend post.

I seriously can't think of a time when I had a truly bad meal at someone else's home, unless it was of my own preparation.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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I never have a bad meal at someone home.

I am always gratefull for the invitation and the hospitality of my host.

The food is not anywhere near as important as the hospitality.

I find this approach will surely open me up to invitations to the best meals I ever eat at someone's home.

Now the worst thing I brough to someones house was a rock hard pizza.

It was edible but left my jaw tired after 1 small piece.

What was worse is I blamed the person who reheated it for the bad result. It was a party I went to as what I felt was an obligation and was grumpy.

I discovered the next time I made pizza that I needed to handle my oven differently than the other ovens I have had. The bottom heat is very harsh and tends to cook the bottom faster than the top.

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Nothing will quite match that presented by Katherine, but there used to be one post-doc back in grad school who used to routinely poison us at lab potlucks. The one standout was the bright lemony-yellow potato salad she made for our lab supervisor's inaugural barbecue: big chunks of unwashed raw potato, big chunks of unwashed uncored apple and big chunks of unpeeled Spanish onion (with the rootlets), all smothered in yellow-tinted Miracle Whip. :shock:

I had already suffered the misfortune of tasting one of her cookies (and slipping on another left on a flight of stairs), so I knew what to expect when that masterpiece was unveiled (our new tech didn't).

My supervisor doesn't fare that well either. Apart from managing to make a brisk fire with the oil-marinated chicken, his wife managed to use a carrot salad to rehydrate raisins.

Fortunately for me, the lab and I have parted ways, so now all we do is work at avoiding dinner with the our raisin-mad friend (raisins in the beef rolls, raisins in the chicken, raisins in the tomato sauce, raisins in the ravioli, raisins in the lasagna, etc etc :sad: ).

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I never have a bad meal at someone home.

I am always gratefull for the invitation and the hospitality of my host.

The food is not anywhere near as important as the hospitality.

I agree.

However I have had meals in France, Italy, England, Nigeria and other places that were amongst the best of my life in terms of the food. The hospitality and such might have been terrible or worse but some of those meals I remember now. Not many, but some. But then I was young and impressionable.

But every meal I have had at someone's home in North America (Canada and the U.S.) has been the worst meal of my life. The horrors shade into each other as my skin crawls and goose bumps rise even on my fingertips as I try to type as the memories leer and slosh:

Stale store bought samosas microwaved with Velveeta and curry powder and a melange of endcut deli meats with a salad of wet bean sprouts and catsup.

Mashed still basically raw potatoes with brine from Bick's dill pickles to moisten accompanied by skinless, boneless chicken breasts dryer than dry ice and just as cold and brown broccoli.

Tiny Salad, consisting of iceberg lettuce and cello tomatoes powdered so finely they fall through the tines of the fork.

Big Salad, consisting of a quarter of iceberg lettuce and half a cello tomato with some pink bottled sauce.

Green Thing: Coleslaw in lime jello. (I have since learned on eGullet that in the southern U.S. this kind of thing is a "salad".)

"Miso soup" with carrots and onions boiled to mush.

"Chicken Catchatoree" which consisted of chicken necks in Chef Boyardee pizza sauce with the powdered pizza cheese thrown on top.

"Paella" of hard rice, tinned tomatoes and tinned shrimp and raw yellow onion.

Cheeseballs of extra-terroire origin that wept clear viscous ooze when cut into and appeared to be spelling out a warning as the ooze congealed.

Steaks so thin that to be rare they would have to be eaten raw from the styrofoam package. Which reminds me of a steak that had the little rectangle of diaper material adhering to the bottom which was BBQed to it but still inevitably detectable through the bottled BBQ sauce which was charred over it.

Fruitcake. The horror from before time began come to end your days.

I just don't value anyone's company or hospitality enough to eat bad food.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Jin... You gotta get a new circle of frends!

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Oh my, this thread finally prompted me to post after reading the site for a little while.  I love the site; there is so much information and so many wonderful people here.

My mother-in-law is the worst cook I have ever seen in my life.

Two of the more memorable (in a bad way!) meals I have had to put up with are:  a gallon or so of water in a stock pot with one package of lipton chicken noodle soup mix, 2 pounds of regular ground beef, and 1 chopped onion.  This was all mixed together in a pot and left to boil for about 2 hours.  This was our lunch.  The beef was not browned nor were there any other spices or seasonings added.

One supper consisted of leftover beef roast cooked to death with lumpy mashed potatoes over top (her version of shepherds' pie) and baked in the oven.  This was served with parmesan cheese that I kid you not, expired 3 years prior; you know the type in the green can.  My husband dumped some on his meal and it was dark brown.  I turned the can over to look at the expiration date and a beetle also fell out to join the mess on my plate.

When we showed her this, she did not seem concerned, took some parmesan for herself and put the can back in the cupboard.  Her salad dressings are also at least one year out of date.

By the way, when she served us this excuse for a meal, the dog also got a portion in his bowl and she let him then eat the leftovers off her plate.  She does not have a dishwasher.

The worst part is that she lives a day's drive away and on a farm so one can't easily slip out for a snack or go home for something to eat.  It was particularly nauseating when I was pregnant.  I did take some snacks to eat while hiding out in our room.  Her place is also dirty and stinks of mildew, dogs, and cigarette smoke.

My poor husband grew up on this and does appreciate a good meal now, although he is not the food lover that I am.

The last time we stayed there, we had a camper and cooked our own meals, but I don't know what we would do now since we sold the trailer.  Thank goodness we don't visit often.

We have the same mother-in-law. :smile:

Did she ever make you chili? Two or three cans of Hormel canned chili in a pot, topped with 2 pounds of uncooked ground beef and several cans of water, cooked forever, then served in bowls with a seperate tub of processed potted cheese-food (what is IN that stuff???) to "top" it with?

I wish I were joking. My poor husband. The only nice thing that comes out of it is that no matter how bad a disaster I may produce in the kitchen, my husband will eat it and say, "Sweetie, no matter how bad you think it is, it's better than my mother's cooking." :biggrin:

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Jin... You gotta get a new circle of frends!

Those folk are all miles and many years away. I'm safe.

Soba, I always make an exception for your skinless boneless chicken breasts in my otherwise total condemnation of them as bland and worthless objects of fetishism for the Scared of Food.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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