We asked for your holiday-cooking horror stories, you answered. Here are some of the submissions.
Set off the fire alarm? Embarrass yourself in front of the in-laws? We shared some of our favorite holiday-cooking horror stories, then asked for your own. Here are some of your responses.
(If you have one to share, submit it here by Nov. 25, 2016 for a chance to win a restaurant gift card!)
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- Holiday-cooking horror stories: 9 lessons we learned the hard way
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“With a family of 7 and guests, and wanting leftovers, I always cooked what a friend termed a pterodactyl. Good-sized turkey.
The oven dinged, and I took the turkey out. I put it on the platter, waiting for it to “”set”” the juices for a few minutes. Went into the living room to chat with the guests. Heard a “”THUMP”” from the kitchen. I sweetly excused myself (“Guess I’d better go check on those potatoes.”)
When I got to the kitchen, the 10-lb. cat had managed to dump a 24-lb. turkey onto the floor and, grabbing one drumstick in his mouth, was d-r-a-a-a-g-g-i-n-g it across the floor, trying to get to a little hidden area where he could happily devour the bird!
I put the cat outdoors.
Wrestled up the turkey and ran very hot water over it.
Put the danged thing back on the platter with a bit of garnish.
We had a fine Thanksgiving.
The cat, sadly, did not.”
– Vicki Michels
“My daughter reminded me of another holiday near-disaster. Like my previous submission this one is also about pie. I make a chocolate pie that my family enjoys for special occasions, and I’d made one for Christmas to take to the in-laws Christmas dinner. The pie was in the refrigerator to stay fresh, and on the shelf above was a container of Pepsi that we didn’t realize had a leak.
Well, when it was time to leave for the party, I went to get the pie only to discover that it had a massive puddle of Pepsi on top of the chocolate cream filling. I carefully mopped it off with paper towels, scooped off the soggy part of the crust on the rim of the pie, and like my pumpkin pie disaster in a previous post, had to just take it with me.
When I got to the dinner, I made a contrite statement about the pie mishap, and referred to it as the “”chocolate-Pepsi”” pie. And to my happy surprise, the children who were at the party were practically giddy with anticipation to have a piece of “”Pepsi”” pie and it was devoured completely.
The chocolate pie that is now waiting in my refrigerator for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dessert is well protected with a cover.
(And this year, I did remember to add the sugar to the pumpkin pie. ☺)”
– Sandra Sifferman
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“Our new Traeger grill didn’t cook the Turkey in the time allotted, so we had to use the microwave to finish cooking enough for dinner and put the rest in the oven. It’s possible the turkey was partially frozen or the grill just needed more time in our cooler weather. The other disaster was I forgot to buy olives. Thankfully my daughter needed to run to Safeway for her black Friday ad. and picked up olives too.”
– Sally White
“Used our brand new Calphalon saucepan to make gravy – added drippings, flour/water, seasonings – was turning out to be one of my best gravies!! Grabbed the handle, not thinking about how hot it would be and burned my hand just before flinging the pot through the air and spraying gravy across the kitchen and dining room table. Everyone pitched in – dressed my burn, cleaned up the mess and I even had a packet of turkey gravy mix in the pantry. The carpet stains are still there to remind us every year!”
– Lauren Adams
“A couple of years ago at an extended family Thanksgiving dinner at my dad’s home, I was assigned pumpkin pie. I’m a grandmother myself, and I’ve made many, many pumpkin pies over my adult life, so this was a pretty easy assignment.
It wasn’t until the pie was nearly out of the oven, that I happened to notice I’d forgotten to add the carefully measured out sugar. It was too late to make another pie and I knew everyone would be expecting it later that day.
First I tried to poke holes in the top of the very hot from the oven pie and see if I could get some sugar to “melt into” it, but that wasn’t working.
So, later that day, before serving the pie I didn’t give anyone the option if they wanted whipped cream or not. I made up the cream super sweet and spread it thickly on the pie. It was eaten. If anyone noticed it was on the bland side, they were too polite to say it. I never told anyone, but now the world will know!”
– Sandra Sifferman
“Not cooking, but the aftermath. Our kitchen sink got plugged up, backed up and completely full of nasty water. We didn’t have a dishwasher so I ended up hauling all the dishes down the hallway and hand washed everything hunched over in the bathtub. I slopped grease on the hallway wall that left a grease stain. It was a LONG night with an expensive plumbing bill the next day.”
– Michele Lilley
“My mom and cousin were putting together the Thanksgiving meal and we were very near to sitting down to sup when there was a horrendous crash! from the kitchen. Turns out they dropped the very large roasting pan full of all the gravy and gravy was EVERYWHERE! The dogs had a field day on everything they could reach . . . until later when they were all (4) sicker (than dogs!) due to the richness of the gravy. We found grease & gravy splatters in all sorts of unexpected spots in the kitchen for months (years?) afterward.”
– Donna Hargus
“My mom worked two jobs and as we got older she did less and less of the daily cooking. However, come the holidays she wanted to get back into the kitchen. We were having a luscious beef roast and that meant gravy would be the crowning glory of the meal. My mom was all set to serve dinner except for thickening the gravy. She made her usual slurry of cornstarch and cool water and stirred it into the drippings & broth, but it wasn’t thickening the way she wanted it to. So, she made another slurry and added that. Still not thickening. She may have added a third round of her slurry, but to no effect. Finally she just put the runny gravy into the gravy boat & served it anyway. We all made horrible faces as we plunged into our first bites of delectable mashed potatoes with “gravy” – but the gravy was terrible! It was sweet! Turns out mom mixed up the jars of cornstarch and powdered sugar. She wasn’t in the kitchen that often and just mistook the sugar for the thickener. She’d been adding powdered sugar to the beef drippings – no wonder it wasn’t thickening! No wonder it was sweet. Awful stuff.”
– Donna Hargus
“Twas the night before Black Friday, when all the through the abode
The labs were stirring, even the one from a different zip code
The vomit was projected by the back door with unrestrained care
In the hopes that someone would arrive soon to help their despair
The adults and children were all startled out of their beds
As visions of WTF danced in their heads
And as we released the dogs to finish their puke attack ,
We soon discovered they had more to do than just yak
When out on the lawn the labs began to seek sweet relief,
Everyone watched with curiosity that soon turned to disbelief
Like a flash it came out of their rears
A black toxic sludge that had them in tears.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a luster to these horrible objects below,
When what to our wondering eyes did appear,
A trail of oil from the turkey fryer used downstairs by the family’s engineer
We now knew why the labs were to the door so lively and quick,
They had in a moment been led astray by the temptations of a turkey oil slick
This Thanksgiving was one for the ages,
Now it was time to find the carpet cleaner in the yellow pages.”
– Matt Shifley
“When I was 13, I tried to make divinity (you know, the soft, heavenly stuff?), but I accidentally mixed the recipes for divinity and divinity fudge. It looked like brown, chunky vomit and baked hard as rock. It became one with the pan, which I threw away without ever telling my parents.”
– Amy Dost
“Our Mom ALWAYS overcooked the turkey. One year I decided to turn the oven thermostat down by 15 degrees. Unbeknownst to me, my two siblings did the same thing. When it was time for dinner…. the turkey was pink and rare. Our first Thanksgiving meal, without a turkey. :-(. Great leftovers the next day though!”
– Kathy Harris
“My wife was recovering from abdominal surgery over the Thanksgiving holiday in a local hospital. It was my task to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my daughter and me. Well she can’t boil water and I had never cooked anything like a Thanksgiving dinner. So with phone instructions from my wife I started. Nine calls for instructions later, the nurses were howling with laughter each time I called, we ended up with a passable dinner. To all you guys, never underestimate how much work it is to prepare a dinner like this with all the trimmings. My daughter did clean up.”
– Chris Warner
“Dropped the turkey – yep….1987. My brother, a recent grad of SCCC Culinary Arts Program, and I took over the turkey prep at our Mom’s house. Back then, we still stuffed the turkey. Also, back then, my Mom still had the yellow/brown diamond-patterned carpeted kitchen (I know, right?). Timer goes off, we pull the 16 lb. turkey in the flimsy aluminum pan from the oven and voila – immediately dropped it! Turkey literally explodes. Ever so quietly, we grab a large spoon and start ‘picking up the pieces.’ Wipe off the turkey and put it on a platter, put the legs in their ‘correct position’ and spoon what we could save of the stuffing into a large bowl. Cleaned up what we could and, thank goodness, most of the mess blended perfectly in with the carpet, came out to smiling faces at the dinner table and never shared that story with Mom/Dad until 15 years later. We still laugh about that today!”
– Jan Renfrow
“Every year my grandfather took great pride in cooking us a Thanksgiving turkey. It was always a HUGE production. One year the turkey caught fire in the oven. He grabbed the oven mitts, opened the oven, grabbed the turkey and tossed the bird outside into a snow bank to cool off. He would re-tell this story every year around the Thanksgiving and Christmas table. He would laugh and laugh swearing it was the best turkey he ever cooked. He’s been gone for 10 plus years now but this story still makes me smile.”
– Kim Renninger
“A couple of years ago we had a group of family and friends numbering about 20 all cozy around several tables pushed together. Everyone brought something to add to the feast – some bringing more than one. When we sat down to pass all the platters, I was the last to receive the turkey. I helped myself but there was no room on the table for such a large item and I was back in a corner – so I put it on the floor. What could happen to it there? I forgot one family member had brought their dog Lucy. When someone asked for another helping of turkey I leaned down to retrieve it and met Lucy’s eyes – as she was quietly helping herself.”
– Kay Reeves