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Dinner II: The Gallery of Regrettable Foods (Part 1)


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Over in the excellent Dinner! thread, there are a lot of amazing pictures of some truly delicious looking meals. I've contributed enthusiastically to the thread, with mostly so-so pictures, but one or two that looked quite good. And a whole lot more that that once I saw them posted, I just had to wonder what on earth I was doing, posting these gratuitous reminders of horrible culinary failures...

I wondered if there was a more suitable thread for such pictures -- a gallery of regrettable foods, or a hall of shame if you like. And a couple of posters responded, saying that we should have such a thread.

So here goes... Middle Eastern Lamb, with couscous and some mint-cucumber-yogurt-tumeric relish:


The colors are just horrible. The cut of meat was supposed to be a simple lamb chop, but I ended up with some odd thing (shoulder, I think) that contained a big bone and some smaller rib-like bones. The yogurt-tumeric-cucumber relish was used to brush the meat with, during the cooking process, and made it look even worse. This just looks extremely nasty. It didn't taste nasty, but it certainly wasn't great.

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I wondered if there was a more suitable thread for such pictures -- a gallery of regrettable foods, or a hall of shame if you like. And a couple of posters responded, saying that we should have such a thread.

So here goes... Middle Eastern Lamb, with couscous and some mint-cucumber-yogurt-tumeric relish:

Hate to tell you this Grub, but that still looks a whole lot better that some of the things I've seen others cook. The weird yellow patches on the lamb are a little odd though. :cool:

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I can see the merits that the others claim for your meal, grub. . .but still I am laughing at this wonderful idea.

Yes, "regrettable foods". I love it. :laugh:

The truly democratic thread. The thread that sooner or later, everyone will be tempted to post in.

For there is no escape sometimes, from the regrettable food. :sad:

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Whoo, boy, lets dig into the archives here...


This was at a dinner party I held last christmas. A big extravaganza event involving lots of fiddly cooking just for the sheer hell of it. The dish in the picture was roast leg of lamb atop a bed of grilled summer vegtables (zuchinni, eggplant, bell peppers and tomato I think) with a lamb demi-glace and rosmary infused olive oil.

There are a few technical flaws with the dish that didn't affect the taste but hampered the presentation. At the last minute, without really planning to, I deglazed the roasting pan with my demi-glace. As a result, the demi-glace was rather thin and had... bits floating in it. I should have really strained it. Secondly, the massive oil slick on the side looked very unappealing and from the shot, it looks like it's leaking out of the lamb. The plate should have also been wiped. But most glaringly, the meat looks like... well... tubes and guts and innards. It looks like some kind of offal. The camera turned the most subtle shade of pink into some ghastly hospital gray. I was very ashamed of this picture afterwards. The dish tasted fantastic though.


I think this was meant to be braised short ribs... It just looks like someone shit in a pot.


Meat should not look shiny... ever.


Another braised dish, looks like dog food liberally sprinkled with bright orange bits.

All of these tasted fantastic and some of them actually looked fantastic in person, it's just the camera can do stange things sometimes.

PS: I am a guy.

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This is exaclty what I had hoped to see. The OMG! What was I thinking, make you shudder food. Not that it tastes bad....you just hope your friend are really enjoying thier wine so they don't notice the debacle on the plate.


Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"


One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Would this be foods that look bad, or foods that taste horrible?

That should be food that LOOKS bad... I've made plenty of food that looked bad but tasted fine (I think part of it is just a complete lack of professional education, about presentation etc.) I don't think I've ever made anything that looked great, but tasted bad, but it wouldn't really make much sense to post such a picture here, seeing that we can only view, and never taste the dishes online...

Shalmanese, those are some real beauties! I'd never dare to be so brazen in a one-upmanship over whose food looks best, but in this case I dare say I've got ya beat; my disaster lamb looks worse than any of your dishes -- no offense (or compliment) intended. :biggrin:

Keep 'em coming guys.

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just call this: how not to plate salmon :hmmm:

me and 'the gaggle' went to the new hot spot for some cajun food and jazz - i had to review the restaurant for the rag i write for....

i did tell the victim not to order the salmon - but no one listens to me :rolleyes:


it was some kind of panko and gorgonzola cajun spiced (i wish you could see the face i am making while typing these words :sad: ) coating on salmon served with rice and coleslaw. otherwise known as "today's fish".

sorry! i snapped this with a mobile phone camera in a very dark room with no flash.

the great live music and a few free drinks from the sweeties behind the bar made up for this nasty food....but i have nothing for the magazine! if i cant say something nice, well, you know!

"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

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from the archives.

I think we can conclude that sloppy rice-dishes are not very photogenic :biggrin:

red cabbage risotto.


chocolate rice pudding:



Both were, in fact, delicious. I'm wondering if there could have been any way to make them look good.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Oh! Really this is a wonderful thread!

How very endearing and happy are our imperfections when they happen (which of course is not often, not often :biggrin:) !

Now this is the thread that really might force me to use a camera just for the fun of it. Documentation of the excellent. . .that is all well and fine. But documentation of the mind-boggling nonsense that life dishes out even as we seek perfection. . .that. . .as they say. . .is priceless. :smile:

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Okay, I just had to look "milt" up in the dictionary ...

Me too, actually (English-Russian) but I was too embarrassed to admit it :biggrin:. The crowd here at eGullet is so articulate that my dictionary is getting quite a workout :smile:.

ha! in Dutch, milt means spleen.

can you understand I'm often bewildered in translation here on EGullet?

Alinka, your rice dish is too pretty for this thread! :smile:

here's another one from the archives. This plate looks just plain stupid, with all the elements (cheese-stuffed focaccia, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, and roast butternut squash) in exactly the same elongated shape. It looks like a puzzle or a child's toy waiting to be assembled, not dinner! And then there's the gooey brown sauce on the chicken.. not pretty no not pretty..


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That thing in the front looks like some sort of upside-down frog-like happy doll, Chufi. Can you see his little arms, eyes, and mouth?

And laying next to him it looks like a bookbag in which he stuffed his dead companion after he murdered him.

OMG! I see it! he's kind of cute!

now I have to explain to my husband why I'm laughing so hard while reading EGullet :laugh::laugh:

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ooh, I am going to love this thread!!

I have so much to contribute! :hmmm::laugh:

a roasted beet, arugula and blue cheese salad

how can beets combined with anything be made to look nice? it doesn't help that it is slightly out of focus...


Another delicious dish, that just looks bad. Why is it so shiny?

Korean tteok (rice cakes) in kochujang (chile miso) sauce


miso soup with daikon, aburage (tofu pockets) and white miso, I tried to brighten it up with a dollop of yuzu-koshou (green chile and yuzu rind paste) but it still looks very pale


another miso soup, this time with sweet potato and niboshi (dried baby sardines), it really tastes good but it just looks like dead fish floating in the soup...


I think I will stop for now...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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