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The Worst Cook In Your Family


Pickles
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I have to admit, my beloved Auntie isn't a very good cook. But bless her...she thinks she is. So we humor her when she brings out a baked ziti--the cheesy topping hard as a brown, shiny linoleum floor; her baked breaded chicken breasts that you could bounce into the next town (cut from the joke rubber chickens....) and her odd desserts (Proudly: "I didn't have sour cream....so I used mayonnaise :biggrin: !") Some other treats:

Soup with left-over egg-salad in it. :blink:

Braised turkey neck (frozen since Thanksgiving....1976?) with pasta

Meatballs on toothpicks, floating in a sauce made with grape jelly, and a can of Hormel Chili :sad:

Cookies and cakes she makes MONTHS ahead of time and keeps in tins and insists they are fresh. :unsure:

I love her dearly...but... :shock:. My cousin, her daughter, is a fairly good " from recipes only" cook, but serves no variety when she entertains. If one dish has a cream-based sauce...then all the other dishes on the buffet have cream sauces. And it's all 50's type foods. She makes this GAWD-awful brunch strata with cheddar cheese and sausage links. She always cooks it at too high a temperature, and for too long. The center of the thing is always raw, and the sausages stick up..proudly erect....from the upper layer of bread. :blink: Lord...it's a mess! :laugh: So...what's the worst food you've been served? Who's the worst cook in your family?

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The center of the thing is always raw, and the sausages stick up..proudly erect....from the upper layer of bread.

Braised turkey neck (frozen since Thanksgiving....1976?) with pasta

Cookies and cakes she makes MONTHS ahead of time and keeps in tins and insists they are fresh.    :unsure:

The image of erect sausages is just... :laugh:

As for the other stuff, it might be an age thing. My grandmother, bless every one of her 95 years, was an awesome cook back in her day (we'll generously overlook the molded jello salad with cottage cheese & pineapple...) but lately, she doesn't cook at all and doesn't eat all that much. So, she freezes EVERYTHING that she can't finish.

I have been offered the following frozen items in the past year:

Rigatoni w/ sausage that I made 1 year ago

Lobster Ravioli that I made 2 years ago

Leftover piece of lamb from dinner 2 weeks ago

leftover chicken from 3 months ago

Cookies from 2 months ago (these not frozen)

Whenever i visit I go through the fridge and exterminate all science projects, and last raid of the pantry uncovered a bottle of tabasco from 1972. And then I promptly head to the supermarket.

Having said that, my mom used to be a very good cook but lately not so much. Either I am a lot more picky or else a sad genetic destiny awaits me... :unsure:

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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my sister. it isnt so much that she is a bad cook, as it is that she thinks she is julia child. and she isnt. not even close. she is hell on wheels with a mix, but ask her for a little freestyle... no way! no imagination! this includes what she will eat as well.

bless her heart.

:D

xo

"Animal crackers and cocoa to drink

That is the finest of suppers, I think

When I'm grown up and can have what I please,

I think I shall always insist upon these"

*Christopher Morley

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Pickles, your Auntie and my aunt Ruthie must have been twins separated at birth. My Aunt is a great hostess, we go to her house every Friday for Shabbat Dinner, the table is set, there's usually a first course, soup, a main course and plenty of dessert. Usually we go with our bellies full, just in case. Chances are that not only will it not be tasty, but it will be hazardous to our health. The policy is that nothing gets thrown out. Leftovers are eaten for a period of 3-4 days, and when you can no longer eat them as they are they seem to get recycled into something new. Most specifically salads, Green salad, coleslaw, and other salad, becomes next week's soup :shock: But not exclusively, often we come to dinner and have trouble identifying things. Thinfs I had baked months earlier suddenly appear on the table when coffee is served. The only thing I feel secure about more or less is tuna salad, I see her opening the cans and her family is such an avid tuna eater that there are never leftovers.

I have to admit that since her husband passed away six months ago things have improved (since he was the preservation specialists), her kids come over at least once a week and throw stuff out, no more 7 year old preserved lemon juice or mustard or jam. I don't know about the stuff in the freezer, I would rather not think about it.

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My SIL. Awful. Really awful. She did dinner for the family one night. Barbecued polish sausage. Cooked for so long it was hard as a rock and salty as hell. Served with basmati rice. Cooked on the stovetop for almost an hour. Way too much water, could have been wallpaper paste by the time it was done. Served with green beens in a sauce comprised mostly of ketchup! Whole family sat there stunned and pretending to eat. Thankfully when we are invited to their house my brother does most of the cooking now. Worst part is, she told us they were her mothers receipes, and her favourites!

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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My brother. I was once over at his house at around the supper hour, and we were hungry. "I'll cook up something," he said.

He brought a pot of water to the boil -- not too full, though. Threw in a box of pasta and some salt. Added a bag of frozen vegetables, and some hotdogs.

"Don't you... drain it?" I asked, appalled, from the kitchen door.

"No!" he said proudly, "that's the sauce!"

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This is one of the funniest threads Ive ever read! :laugh: The worst cook I know is my husband...he doesnt cook AT ALL. Occasionally he makes coffee but thats it. I dont even get a funny story of his grossness to tell. -sigh-

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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My grandmothers, blessed be their memories, were both quirky in their style of food preparartion. My Gram loved to bake - - was a world-class baker, actually, but hated doing main courses. Until I was 20, I thought lamb was *supposed* to taste like liver. Gram came from the fine, traditional, English school of cooking of boiling the hell out of vegetables (if they're not limp, they're suspect!), roasting meats until the outer crust reaches the middle, and frying eggs until they could bounce. Dinner salads were always iceberg lettuce covered with fruited squares of jello with a dollop of Hellmans mayonaise, sprinkled with paprika - for daring effect.

My other Grandmother was avant garde in her approach: Anything that could be microwaved, would be, even if the technology didn't improve the preparation. (This is, say, 1979). Bacon. Pineapple upside-down cakes. Instant can soups. There were always boiling hot spots, and frozen spots in any dish. (And with bacon and cakes, burned, rubbery spots!) She was also frequently dieting, and substituting artificial sweetner into everything...........so there was always that chemical tang aftertaste to look forward to!

I miss their cooking in spite of this............mostly because I so miss their company and their warmth.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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My mom freezes and recycles everything, too, although I've never had salad-into-soup. ( Guh-ross! )

My brothers once put their leftover crawdad tails into a small tupperware box and froze it for a future fishing expedition, but then forgot all about it. Mom thought it was blueberries and thawed it for pancakes. (Mom cooks absent-mindedly because she's always got her nose in a book--usually a murder mystery.) You shoulda heard the shrieking! :laugh:

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Mary Baker

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My brothers once put their leftover crawdad tails into a small tupperware box and froze it for a future fishing expedition, but then forgot all about it. Mom thought it was blueberries and thawed it for pancakes.

I've never seen frozen blueberries.

Do they... Do they... look at all like frozen crawdad tails?

(By "crawdad" I presume you mean what we call "crayfish"?)

"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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Do they... look at all like frozen crawdad tails?

Yes, they're crayfish! And the blueberries would freeze into a sort of icy lump inside the white tupperware (not packed tightly, wet and all) so the contents appear as just a frosty lump of something with dark blobs. However, even we kids were aghast that Mom didn't lift the lid to look before thawing, or dumping!!!

How absent-minded can a person be? :blink: Never mind. :hmmm:

The rest of her cooking wasn't a great improvement. Canned, cooked peas--blech!

Canned corn beef hash--salty! We lived for the days Nana would come by and cook, or Dad would take over--which he rarely did so as not to insult Mother. He put his foot down, though, when she started studying German and decided to make wienerschnitzel--her way. "I don't care what you call it," Dad groused. "You are not pounding my grass fed steaks into pancakes!"

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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Speaking of German Nanny's...

I remember when I was quite young (had to be 7 or less) there was a German girl who would come occasionally take care of my sisters and I (I believe she was a grad-student studying under my father, trying to pick up extra money babysitting), and the only thing she could ever cook, was cheese toast. Recipe as follows:

Cheese Toast

2 Slices Toast (rendered from Wonderbread usually)

1 Slice Processed American Cheese

Toast the toast. Put it on a sauce. Cut slice of American cheesefood product into half, placing one have on each piece of toast. Microwave for at least 1:00 or until the cheese has done that cheesefood imitation of melting, and the bread has lost its crispness in exchange for an odd tough rubberyness induced from the microwave. Serve.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I love my sister very, very, very, very much. She is just a beautiful person, so nice, great sense of humor. She makes incredible salads, creative, lovely to look upon and they taste terrific. Her spinach dip is (really) unparalleled and the toast of the parties she hosts.

Her main dishes are a horror beyond all compare. I won't even try to describe her spaghetti sauce...suffice it to say it's mostly jarred, with a couple of "fresh" ingredients thrown in (like dried basil or oregano) and some crumbled up ground beef that has been cooked beyond the point of being a food, I think.

She does not use salt or pepper, or other seasoning type things. :blink:

She once served this at a RECEPTION for board members of a guild to which she belongs and couldn't understand why she had so much left over.

In fairness, she CANNOT use any milk products or cheese, as her husband's milk allergy has become so severe that even a little causes him to experience several hours of excruciating pain. This, at least, spares us from having to eat her never-quite-firm-enough-yet-somehow-still-sticky-and-chewy!-cheesecake.

My other sister got the cooking gene...she can make McDonald's taste homemade and great.

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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I've never seen frozen blueberries.

Do they... Do they... look at all like frozen crawdad tails?

It's a hell of a stretch. In my experience frozen blueberries tend to look like... blueberries. Go figure. I thought I was absent-minded, but I'm impressed by this.

BTW, returning to the frozen blueberries for a moment - they are in fact worth looking at. Even the store-bought kind, these days, is not beneath contempt for cooking purposes - any long-simmered thing like a slump or grunt where the flavor is going to be altered anyway. I hasten to add that by "these days" I mean the pleasing tendency toward fruits being individually flash-frozen plain; no syrup or gunk or chemicals to preserve them. Good to have in the freezer for emergency last-minute concocting, especially if like me you spend a lot of your time in a remote area where trotting to the corner grocer is an hour's round-trip at best.

But there's another world of frozen blueberries, a lovelier one, and that's the blueberries you freeze yourself, on purpose. Buy or pick in season, when they're big and beautiful and perfectly ripe. Flash-freeze on a tray. Eat, frozen, on a hot hot summer evening - they are the perfect dessert, needing no enhancement whatsoever; each of them a tiny sorbet in itself. Or put a lot of them into a glass of freshly-pressed lemonade.

You can do this with several types of berries - frozen strawberries in champagne or Maiwein, anyone? - raspberries also work well in lemonade. And frozen green grapes are also very refreshing. But for my money there's nothing like a frozen blueberry bursting in the mouth.

(Hmmm... almost time to make Maiwein. Didn't bother, last year. Pity.)

Sorry to get so OT here, especially after the gasping pleasures of the horror stories up-thread. But if anyone in my family were a terrible cook I wouldn't dare to say so on a public forum! Fortunately... except for some long-dead in-laws-in-law on my father's side... it happens not to be the case. Sometimes you get lucky with the genetic strain, and the culinary gene runs true in the family. There are a couple of non-cooks, but they know it, and very sensibly yield the cooking gig to those of us who know how - and then of course they reap the benefits.

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My MOM, hands down! LOL Sorry mom, NOT that you'd be reading this...but she always overcooked everything. She used to think her weekday chicken was the bomb I suppose, but we all knew each time she cooked it it would taste like wet leather!

Got my cooking genes from Dad, he was cook and was manager of Beaver St. Fisheries, and did catering as a sideline.

Out of necessity my brother and I had to learn to cook at a fairly young age. We'd experiment with different things and one of our favorites was poached eggs and asparagus on toast...Ahhhhhhhh, the memories.

Of course since dad passed away I think out of necessity here too, mom has gotten somewhat better. But we still always do a lot of going out to eat when we visit her.... :smile:

Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique."-Anon

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I love my sister very, very, very, very much.

bergerka, you look - just wonderful! :smile:

I also love my siblings very much. They can all cook. My oldest sister who is a vegetarian is a real gourmande although each have their strong areas. Combined we are a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately, by SIL on the other hand, (that would be my husband's oldest sister) makes all yellow food. And she believes that potatoes are enough to cover the vegetable food group. Serve Pringles chips which contain potato derivatives with the before dinner cocktail, and the vegetable's covered. :wink:

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My brother, my brother is not only an horrible cook but a horrible eater he has the strangest palate ( I think he is a non-taster)

The first thing I ever had that he cooked he brought some sort of quesadilla type nightmare to and Amero-Cuban thanks giving. there was something close to pesto mostly garlic with raw yellow peppers & something else it could have been good in theory but there was something off about everything.

His former girl freind was in cooking school and I hope she's doing well the guacamole they served at a party achieved a shade of gray I was unaware was possible

His lastest culinary masterpeice which he is bragging about is a Blood Sausage Rissotto ( I've mentioned it before) which he served with Lamb Chops

Blood Sausage Rissotto...my god in heavens

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

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My sister is the worst one in our family. She served us gumbo one day. Basically she boiled the chicken until the meat was into little strings, then added her seasonings. It wouldn't even pour from the ladle -- just plopped down on the plate. :wacko: Daddy made the funniest face and just looked at Mom to see what he should do. :unsure: He wouldn't eat it -- just shook his head from side to side in amazement. Never one to mince words, he actually said, "Don't ever cook this for us again." :laugh:

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Give him full marks for being open-minded about cooking, though. :smile:

Oh he's made HUGE strides when it comes to eating, he no longer smothers eveything with ketchup now uses kimchi, he just has very very weird ideas of what foods go togther (the menu he put together for our ski trip had one nights dinner garlic potato soup and chili...I made both and they were great but it was an odd combination of food)

what I can say is given his lack of culinary prowess I do not imagine that his blood sausage rissotto was the best it could ever be, he probably added hot bean paste or something

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

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I mean the pleasing tendency toward fruits being individually flash-frozen plain; no syrup or gunk or chemicals to preserve them. Good to have in the freezer for emergency last-minute concocting, especially if like me you spend a lot of your time in a remote area where trotting to the corner grocer is an hour's round-trip at best.

I concur on the frozen fruits that are now available. Right now, in the big freezer, we have all sorts of tropical fruits that would not be available (in decent shape anyway) around here for large hunks of the year. While all we really ever do with them is make smoothies or puree in order to make sorbet, I find them to be quite acceptable in terms of flavor.

Blueberries, which we pick fresh in the summer time, can be flash frozen using the dry ice method that Alton Brown used on one of his shows. While it can be a pain in the ass for some people to find carbonic ice (not around here, in seafood land) it is a great way to freeze freshly sliced fruit.

Edited to try to change my evil off topic ways (I am easily led astray by others :wink: )-My paternal grandmother couldn't cook a lick. Every Sunday at her house (rarely were we forced to eat there-she usually ate with us or at my maternal grandmother's house (she was a champion among champions of old school southern cuisine)-conveniently located next door) was "a little roast", mashed potatoes, yellow squash and onions, and rolls from the bakery-served with a jello mold or tomato aspic. Trust me, this done right is not a bad thing (I do not have the jellophobia many of you gastronauts seem to be afflicted with :hmmm: ) but done her way that roast had not one drop of juice left-dry as the Sahara and tougher than Tanya Harding. :laugh: The jello was usually ok, but tomato aspic is one thing that I have never really developed a taste for-much to the amusement of my aspic loving mama who serves it and laughs at me for every holiday occasion. The rest of my family loves the stuff.

In fairness I should say that she made the most gorgeous and elaborately decorated birthday cakes one could have wished for (with 7 minute icing, God I love that stuff :wub: ). The decorations were always over the top and all of them edible.

Why is it that so many people who can bake can't cook a lick?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Blueberries, which we pick fresh in the summer time, can be flash frozen using the dry ice method that Alton Brown used on one of his shows. While it can be a pain in the ass for some people to find carbonic ice (not around here, in seafood land) it is a great way to freeze freshly sliced fruit.

Hey, I've got a great method for flash-freezing fruit too! It's called, lay it out on a tray and shove it in the freezer. :wink::raz:

Sheesh - fancy-schmancy exotic ice for freezing fruit? Isn't that a leetle over the top? No, but seriously, does it really make any difference? I suppose it must, but I have a really hard time imagining it.

Why is it that so many people who can bake can't cook a lick?

And vice versa. A really good question, and one that can only be answered by generalizing in an unacceptable way - but if you can bear with that for a moment, my best guess is that they are two different types of competence and confidence. My mother, one of the best and most comfortable natural cooks I have ever known, was made nervous by the whole idea of baking. With no good reason, because whenever she did attempt something it came out well, and there were certain things even she felt confident about: a small repertoire of cookies, cakes and pies that she was comfortable with and that were consistently delicious. (Killer shortbread!) But the general idea of baking made her nervous because she felt it required a degree of precision that was alien to her.

Overall, I think there's probably some truth to that, insofar as baking can be a lot more precise and a lot less forgiving than cooking. There are areas, of course - some types of country breads, for instance - that allow for some experimentation, but overall it's probably a lot easier to screw up baking than cooking. And I think baking anxiety may be akin to math anxiety - which my mother had in spades. The funny thing is, it really was about the anxiety, not the aptitude: if she'd been able to relax into it, she had the kind of mind that would have been nimble at all these things. She never believed me when I told her she had more natural aptitude for the computer than a lot of people I knew who were professionals - it was true, though. Then again, nothing on earth could have made her want to be good at it, and there was no reason she should be. I'm sorry, this sounds like a digression from a digression, but I really do think these things are related.

Anyway, the thing about baking is that it requires not only precision and deftness and attention to detail but also instinct and confidence, not only in and of themselves but in one's possession of those first three qualities. Oh yes, and knowledge and experience, too, which of course present the same catch-22 as they do when you're trying to get your first job. You gotta have some chutzpah to try your hand at baking! And some people don't have it, or at least not the right kind. To approach baking without that is to approach it without joy or desire, in which case where's the point?

Why is cooking different? Is it just a different flavor of chutzpah? Might be. But it's also more flexible, more elastic, more open to total spur-of-the-moment improvisation. That is its joy for some and its curse for others: where some people feel liberated by that sense of possibility, others need the crutch of strict rules and are terrified and bewildered the lack of them. These are the people who can often cook very well indeed as long as they have the recipe close at hand and can follow it to the letter; such people may be able to approach baking in the same way and do well at it, but they will never be able to make Cream of Refrigerator Soup, for instance, nor will they be able to stand in the middle of a market and feel the inspirations for tonight's meal wafting toward them from the sale shelves!

Boy, that was a lot of yak by way of saying that it's probably just one of them right-brain/left-brain dichotomies at bottom. :wacko:

(Sorry....

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Why is it that so many people who can bake can't cook a lick?

Baking is all about following directions, measurements, timing. You pull out the cake when the timer rings.

Cooking is all about sensitivity to all of the ingredients and the whole process. You pull out the prime rib when it sounds and smells ready.

"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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