Cooking: It's a necessary part of adulting. Nobody is perfect at it. We've all had that time when we burnt a dish in the oven, added too much or too little seasoning, or forgot to watch that boiling pot of macaroni.
1. "We (a family of four) were invited to a friend's house for dinner, spaghetti bolognese. When we arrived, she said she'd decided to try pasta making for the first time and thought it would be fun to make together. She made 500 grams of pasta dough, then proceeded to cut the dough ball in half and freeze half of it for later, leaving only 250 grams of pasta dough to make spaghetti for seven people. My concerns about there not being enough to go around were brushed off. So, every bowl got a VERY small amount of pasta.
2. "I grew up thinking I didn't like vegetables. After I moved out and learned to cook, I went home for a meal. I watched my mom put a pan of chicken breasts in the oven, and immediately after, pour a bag of mixed vegetables into a pot of boiling water. She let this bag of diced corn, peas, and carrots boil until after the chicken was done. The vegetables were indistinguishable by taste."
3. "My mother-in-law, bless her heart, makes 'stewed green beans.' Which means she takes canned green beans, dumps them in a saucepan, and cooks them for three-to-four hours until they are MUSH. I believe she puts some kind of margarine in the pan, but no seasonings or anything like that."
4. "My uncle was grilling burgers and hot dogs. He sprayed the grill with some 'cooking oil/PAM' and also sprayed the tops of the burgers and hot dogs. Well, we went to eat, and they tasted funny. It turned out the spray was grill cleaner. So far, we are all still alive."
5. "When I had my first apartment, there was a nice couple about my age living right above me. The guy and I had chatted a few times, and at one point, we all decided to have dinner together, which turned into a sort of potluck. His fiancée made 'fried chicken' by tossing chicken in plain flour and baking it. They came out of the oven with loose, white flour still on them, and every bite threatened to send me into a choking fit due to inhaled flour.
6. "My brother invited his then-girlfriend over for some ham, beans, and cornbread for dinner. As they're dishing up the beans, he tells her that it's okay if they taste 'a little funny.' He accidentally left them sitting out for two days, and they got a little mold. So, he scraped the mold off...then, he stirred in some bleach to make it 'safe' to eat. She ordered a pizza. She still married him after this, which has always boggled my mind.
7. "I knew someone who thought that adding too much salt to food was her 'quirky personality trait.' She added so much that it was like sand in your food. No one ever ate anything she made, which was hardly a surprise. One time, she was at someone's house, and she dumped the WHOLE BOX of salt in a big pot of soup. The guests went to eat it, and everyone spit out the food."
8. "My own. I was trying to make a veggie chili with tempeh, dark chocolate, and a beer. I watched a few videos, read a few recipes, and felt confident. However, I accidentally over salted the dish. To compensate, I tried to add more chocolate. I wasn't thinking too clearly, and added about 10 times the recommended chocolate amount. It ended up being like a thick chocolate stew."
9. "When I was little, we went over to my grandma's friend's house for a party. I made my way over to the stove because I was a nosy kid and wanted to see what was for dinner. There were all these glorious items: mashed potatoes, a roast in the oven, gravy, pie, and cookies. Then, I saw the sink. One side of the sink was full of pasta, peas, cheese chunks, red peppers, and a white sauce…and it was just all mixed together in the sink. The other side of the sink was full of uncut fruit and dirty dishes. Now, we came early because my grandma was going to help her friend set everything up. So, I ran out to where they were and said, 'Grandma! There’s pasta in the sink! Do you want me to throw it away?!' Her friend said, 'No, sweetheart, that’s sink pasta. That’s how you make it.'
10. "The first time my partner made me dinner when we had just started dating. It was a sweet gesture, but probably one of the worst meals I've ever had. Everything was boiled to death — boiled frozen vegetables, boiled potatoes...if he hadn't picked up the roasted chicken from the local grocery store pre-cooked, I'm sure that would have been boiled, too. Nothing was seasoned either. When I opened his 'spice cupboard,' I found an empty salt shaker, some garlic, and onion powder that expired six years before, and a bunch of packaged sauces that were all well past their expiration dates."
11. "I was invited to a friend's house for a barbecue, and they said they were serving chicken. We got there, and I asked if I could help get the chicken ready or anything else. Host tells me, 'No need, the chicken is already on the grill.' The chicken was probably on the grill for 30 minutes, and it was boneless, skinless chicken breast. It was so dry and tough that it was basically inedible. There was no seasoning, not even salt and pepper. I actually had to ask for some kind of sauce to eat it with. I ended up eating it with ketchup. It was nasty. I couldn't believe someone would serve that to guests and feel good about it."
12. "They served lasagna made with one layer of pasta. It was basically just mini chicken nuggets, carrots, peas, and green beans. The worst part? The pasta was raw. It should have clicked for me when they made it in about 45 minutes."
13. "I worked at a restaurant for years, and I've always loved making food at home for my roommate. One morning out of the blue, my roommate wanted to make me breakfast, which was a nice gesture. I didn’t want to intervene, so I let him do everything and just peeked over from time to time. It was a simple meal: eggs, bacon, and toast. He went through the whole carton of eggs because he kept burning them. He ruined the pan by scraping it with a butter knife. He somehow managed to burn a lot of toast in the process. He also burned the bacon multiple times, causing the house to fill with smoke. He just kept cooking. Once I realized he wasn’t gonna do anything about the smoke, I opened the windows and doors and turned the fan on. By that point, I was already eyeing the fire extinguisher, just in case. Then it hit me: He had never cooked a meal in his life!"
14. "I went to my best friend's house for dinner. Her mom took two big, fat chicken breasts and dumped an entire bottle of Frank's RedHot sauce on them, then stuck the chicken in the microwave. An hour later, I was served a pink lump of meat with no sides."
15. "I swear my grandmother goes out of her way to make the easiest recipes a complete disaster. Once, I gave her a dump-and-go crockpot recipe for Mongolian beef. I thought it would be impossible for her to screw up: flank steak sliced and coated in cornstarch, then thrown in water with soy sauce, brown sugar, and some shredded carrots. All she had to do was set it on high for two-to-three hours, and it would be done. Nope. She picked the absolute cheapest cut of meat she could find. She didn't have cornstarch, so she just dumped in a bunch of flour later, and then forgot to add water. She also 'didn’t feel like' getting out her crockpot, but didn’t adjust the recipe accordingly. She just simmered it for three hours because 'it’s the same thing.' It was completely inedible, because the steak was so tough and covered in clumpy soy flour bombs. To add insult to injury, instead of acknowledging her mistakes, she just complained that the recipe was bad."
16. "I had an old friend back in college who claimed to be vegan. I didn’t understand this since she drank [regular] milk and ate cheese, which clearly are NOT vegan. One time, she invited me over for lunch and decided to make a 'vegan' omelette. I’m not a vegan, but am always open to trying new dishes. I know there are options for egg substitutes out there, so I thought she would use one of those. Nope. She dissolved a whole box of saltine crackers in milk, sautéed some veggies in a pan, then dumped the soggy cracker concoction into it. She cooked it for a few minutes, added some cheese, then divided it in half, and served it to me on a plate. I’ve had some very good vegan dishes in my life, but that was definitely not one of them."
17. "The hosts microwaved frozen chicken breasts until they thawed, then cooked the chicken naked on a sheet pan and served it shredded for tacos. Bonus, the chicken wasn't seasoned because 'that's what the salsa is for!' This was for a dinner we were specifically invited over for. We have not been over since."
18. "Once when I was eating at my ex-boyfriend's house, his mom was making soup and sandwiches. She boiled a pot of water and opened up a bag of frozen miscellaneous veggies like carrots, cauliflower, etc. She tossed the veggies in the water with pepper and salt. We heard her call out, 'Hey kids, soup's done!' The 'soup' was just the boiled veggies in their own water."
19. "I was at a group reunion with my college roommates. One of them was making chicken curry. She dumped all of the chicken and vegetables into a dirty sink beside a second sink filled with dirty dishes. She lost a piece of chicken down the garbage disposal, and then reached in to retrieve the chicken. I looked over at our other old roommate and went, 'Girl, we're gonna die tonight.' We just smiled and prayed."
20. "I graduated with a culinary degree, and have a couple friends who have degrees in chemistry. Shortly after we all graduated and found jobs, my chemist friends invited me over to hang out and make dinner. I decided I was going to assume more of a helper role than take full control because I really don't like telling people what to do...until I saw my friend take a brick of ground turkey straight from the package and throw it on the grill.
21. And finally: "Things happen, but I had never seen someone catch a casserole on actual fire until last Thanksgiving. They just scraped the burnt top off."
Now it's your turn! What's the worst mistake you've ever made while cooking? Tell us in the comments!
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.