Even if you're a great cook, there's a very fine line between a delicacy and inedible.
1. "The biggest one that comes to mind is combining the directions of 'salt your steak a day before cooking' and 'let rest on the counter before cooking.' Yes, you’re supposed to do both of those things, but you AREN'T supposed to let it rest on the counter for a day before cooking. I left a nice piece of meat out overnight, and when I woke up, I instantly was like, 'How the hell did I think this was correct?'"
2. "My first time cooking a ham, I thought fresh pineapple would be better than canned. BIG mistake. It turns out that fresh pineapple has an enzyme that turns ham into literal mush with no flavor and the consistency of fat that you want to spit out. Canning somehow eliminates the effect. Who would have thought? It's lucky I even looked it up, or I would have attributed the phenomenon to a bad ham or something and made the same mistake the next time. So only use canned pineapple on ham!"
3. "I was making brownies from a boxed mix and didn't have any vegetable oil, so I thought sesame oil would be okay. They were the foulest brownies I've ever tasted."
4. "I made a blunder yesterday! I was making sponge cake for the first time, and the recipe called for using a skewer in a zig-zag pattern to free large bubbles. I did that, then had the bright idea to get rid of as many bubbles as possible by tapping the pan on the table multiple times. Guess who ended up with an overly dense cake instead?"
5. "When I was first living off-campus in college, I had to learn how to cook for myself well, and how to balance my budget and cook interesting food for my meals. I decided to cook a Middle Eastern dish that sounded amazing. I had all the ingredients except a big one: plain, whole-fat yogurt. That was the day I learned that when a Middle Eastern recipe calls for yogurt (or any recipe really), Yoplait flavored yogurts are NOT an appropriate substitute. Instead of lasting for three days of lunches, like it was supposed to, it went into the trash after two and a half spoonfuls."
6. "I had chicken breasts but had nothing to coat them in at all. I realized I had wasabi peas, so I made them into a powder and coated the chicken breasts. It did not taste like wasabi deliciousness. It was heinous and tasted/looked like Shrek."
7. "I made coconut tilapia in an air fryer. It might have been okay in oil, but it came out looking like a melted pile of wax adorned with 200 burnt candle wicks and tasted about the same. Not even my blood alcohol content at that time could influence my perception of the edibility of this monstrosity. I threw it in the trash and opted to crush a bag of chips for dinner instead."
8. "I made a huge stock pot of gumbo based on a recipe I found on Instagram. It was my first time making gumbo. It was so disgusting that I had to throw out a whole stock pot full of soup out. Lesson learned: Don’t use Instagram recipes, and make small quantities of recipes I am unfamiliar with."
9. "Did you know that if you put purple cabbage into eggs, like in a frittata, the eggs near the cabbage go green? It is not an appetizing look."
10. "In high school, my friend and I thought it would be amazing to make a chocolate and peanut butter omelet. We mixed cocoa powder into the eggs and filled it with Skippy and chocolate chips. It was not amazing."
11. "I was so excited to use my new smoker and thought that I’d break it in with chicken wings. I bought the quality 'air-chilled' (no water added) fresh chicken from the store as well as a popular rub recommended for chicken. I went to town seasoning the wings before smoking for 90 minutes. They looked great and were cooked well, but had WAY too much seasoning and were disgustingly salty. I ended up throwing most of them away. I learned a valuable lesson not to overdo it when it comes to seasoning, particularly when smoking, which adds so much flavor on its own."
12. "I had pre-shredded beets, and I had this idea to fry them as a unit like a big hash brown. I knew for hash browns, shredded potatoes were often squeezed to get excess water out to encourage browning and get the hash brown to cook through without turning to mush, so I did that to the beets. I squeezed SO much juice out of them, that their color started to fade. That should have been my first clue. Finally, I went to fry it, and while they were taking on some color, they really aren't getting crispy at all, so I just keep cooking. When I was satisfied, I removed it from the pan. A faintly pink, barely crispy blob of shredded beets. Go in for a taste, completely flavorless.
13. "Hotdog in homemade bun? Great! Fried dough? Great! Hotdog wrapped in dough and deep fried? Explodes!"
14. "I mixed Gatorade powder with milk to make an awesome milkshake. I almost puked."
15. "I made mint pesto using only mint plants out of my garden. Apparently, you’re supposed to use 90% spinach and 10% mint, not 100% mint. Oops."
16. "I needed to make mayonnaise the other week, but I was out of canola oil. I had a bottle of some higher-end olive oil and said, 'Sure, it might be a bit pricey, but I love olive oil. It should be fine,' and oh boy, was I wrong. The gelatinous green mess was one of the worst things I had ever tasted. When they say 'neutral-flavored oil,' they mean it."
17. "In college, I was just starting to really cook on my own. I have always been an adventurous eater and food lover but hadn’t really made anything beyond basic dishes to that point. I had a summer internship that left me with some extra cash on hand, so I figured every once in a while, I’d experiment a bit. One Sunday, I decided to make mussels in a red curry coconut broth. I spent all day making homemade fish stock, adding lime leaves, ginger, lemongrass, etc., and making this amazing red curry broth. The mussels were cooked perfectly, and I served it all on top of some rice noodles. My roommates and I feasted, and there was a good half pot of broth left over that would make excellent quick lunches for the week. In an effort to save space, I tossed the leftover rice noodles in the broth and put it all away in the fridge. When I went to heat it up for lunch the next day, the noodles had soaked up every bit of broth.
"The pot was almost completely dry, and the noodles were decently flavorful but nowhere near the taste or texture they were the day before. Keep starch away from any sauces or soups when storing them — that was a painful lesson."