HAHAHAHAHA…plop! <— That's me laughing my head off.
Last week, a friend brought along a picnic lunch for our weekly photography outing. She made a comment about what was she thinking, bringing along food for a cookbook author. I laughed and reassured her that I love food, and especially when someone else makes it.

It's a pretty familiar exchange, actually. Being a former pro chef, cookbook writer and restaurant critic, people have sometimes claimed to be too intimidated to cook for me. I always say the same thing in response to such concerns, that line about loving all food and and especially when someone else makes it, and that's because it's true. Ask any chef what their favourite food is and chances are it's whatever someone else is cooking. Not only does it mean someone else is doing the work, but there's a deeper, more emotional aspect as well. I think preparing food and sharing it round a table is one of the most generous gifts of self you can offer another person, and I don't care what's on the table but who's around it.

And to go back to their concerns, well just let me share this.
For anyone who's ever cooked for me, and anyone's who's thought that everything I cook must be fabulous, I present to you highlights from my Hall of (Culinary) Shame. These are all home disasters, and just regular cooking-I could fill a blog on my test kitchen failures!

Sometimes, it's clear what went wrong. Too thick a batter, on too high heat, led to this disaster.
Pancake-raw in the middle, burned on the outside. No amount of maple syrup can save this one!

I don’t recall what happened to these shrimp, but they didn’t deserve to go this way.

Unintentionally blackened shrimp
Unintentionally blackened shrimp

This one was recent. So busy chatting with dinner guests that yup, I forgot to stir the soup. This is a good reason to have a back-up plan, which I did (homemade bottled soup that I broke out quickly-but not before we had a good laugh over the burned stuff. No use crying over burned soup and all that). The pot soaked for three days before it would come clean.

When you forget to stir the soup
When you forget to stir the soup

And this is the result of…I dunno. It may have been because the recipe was actually for rolls and didn’t translate well to a loaf (baking is more sciency than cooking), it may be that I rushed it out of the oven. Whatever the case, it make great toast for toads-in-the-hole.

Hmm...shoulda used the thump test...
Hmm…shoulda used the thump test…

There’s more, of course, but these are just the highlights.
I’d love to hear about your worst kitchen “disasters”! What happened? What did you do?