Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Thanksgiving Cooking Disasters

I’m always looking for stories that will console me about my lack of cooking aptitude and talent.

So this Associated Press story was clipper!

“See, Eric, you don’t want me to cook, really you don’t.”

To read the full AP story, “Holiday cooking hot lines share the disaster stories they’ve heard,” written by Tanya Bricking Leach, click here.


I’ve excerpted the real prizes:

Sargent is a baking instructor at the King Arthur Flour Co. in Norwich, Vt. She helped launch the company’s Baker’s Hotline in 1993. Her favorite disaster story involves a woman who called while trying to bake bread.

Sargent says the woman described how the dough she had put in the oven to rise was oozing out the sides of her oven and gushing onto the floor in volcano-like bursts.

Turns out the woman took the recipe literally when it said add a packet of yeast. Sargent says the woman didn’t realize the recipe meant a 2 1/4-teaspoon packet, not the 1-pound package she had bought.

At the Ocean Spray Consumer Helpline, calls have ranged from odd (“Help! I can’t get the sauce out of the can!”) to weird (“Can I dye my hair with your cranberry juice?”) to disturbing (“Can I give cranberry juice to my cat for its bladder infection?”).


Speaking of cats, one caller to the Foster Farms Turkey Helpline wanted to know how to fix a turkey that the family cat had chewed holes into prior to roasting. Foster Farms spokeswoman Teresa Lenz says the woman was urged to buy a new bird.

Then there’s Clingman’s kitty-litter incident.

A caller from Georgia wanted advice from the Butterball folks on cooking a turkey inside her husband’s new gas grill. The catch was that her husband didn’t want the grill to get dirty, so he’d filled it with kitty litter to absorb the grease.

Would it be OK to grill the turkey with the litter? No, Clingman didn’t think so.

Becky Wahlund, director of test kitchens at Land O’Lakes, says the company’s former holiday baking hotline used to get some hilarious calls, including the woman who asked whether she could substitute tartar sauce for cream of tartar.


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  • Kathy

    Thank you….I feel a little better about myself. I still hate the holidays, though.

  • Frank

    I’ve offered to bake a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving – but I don’t know how long to leave it on the grill. 99% of my cooking is done on the grill and a pie will fit – but they tell me timing is everything. :)
    I’m not sure what to do today – SAD is epidemic – cold and dreary but that must come before spring can arrive. Maybe baking really is the cure for what ails me.
    I am going to try the baking and see if it will help. I’m going to turn on all the lights in the kitchen and put on so R&R to liven things up.
    Against all odds, I am anticipating a good Thanksgiving. . . mainly because I wrote out some gratitudinal truths. Thanks again, Therese, for bringing a lot of smiles and some great truths. And thanks to each of you who are sharing here. Your contributions are much appreciated and contain thoughts that reach someonee else in their time of struggle. That is a good thing…good friends. And, again, Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    My younger sister roasted her first goliday turkey without removing the packets stored in the cavities (obviously she didm’t stuff the bird) so that when my father began carving he discovered them fully intact (but well done) inside–(melted)plastic and all! My own worst mistaskewould be a toss up between accidentally using baking SODA instead of POWDER in my mother’s biscuit recipie resulting in over a dozen “hockey pucks”, forgetting to put the sugar in a batch of sugar cookies and not knowing to remove the string from a rolled roast before cooking it(Makes it H**L to carve!)and (LAST BUT NOT LEAST) TRYING TO USE A REGULAR THERMOMETER AS A MET THERMOMETER (ALSO IN A ROAST) exploding the glass and tainting the meat with the mercury! Believe it or not, today I’m known as a fairly competent cook/baker!

  • Larry Parker

    True story:
    My ex-wife was germophobic when it came to cooking.
    So it surprised me that the one Thanksgiving we invited all our relatives from both sides to our modest two-bedroom condo (fortunately local hotels and my nearby in-laws helped out with the hosting), E. indeed wanted to cook a traditional turkey.
    Except she forgot what you have to do to reach in the turkey to clean out the innards.
    She freaked. She would not do it. Furthermore, she wouldn’t let me or my mom do it (we were happy to).
    Finally, she said she would let me shake the turkey out over our third-floor balcony.
    I can’t imagine what our neighbors below thought of us. More to the point, I can’t believe, given what a klutzy butterfingers I am, that I didn’t drop the turkey a la the helicopter on WKRP in Cincinnati.
    So we did end up with a “bird” for the Thanksgiving table, though cleaned out in a most unorthodox way.

  • Nancy

    Larry – I’m sitting here laughing at my computer screen on “The Cleaning the Turkey” scenario. THANK YOU for much for the much needed humor! That was too funny. I can just picture you with the turkey over the balcony – talk about “Shake ‘N Bake”. That was Great!!

  • Nancy

    Margaret – It just finished reading your post – Ditto to you also. It cracked me up. No – not in the brain (that’s a given) – in the heart. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  • Babs

    Hey Larry,
    You know the WKRP turkey episode? Well, the incident really happened at a local radio station where I live in Virginia. I couldn’t believe it the first time I heard it. ‘KRP was funny, but I wish I’d seen the real thing!
    One of my great accomplishments was preparing some hot cider with yummy spices for my daughter’s birthday party. My family was coming in the front door as I poured the cider into a punch bowl, which immediately shattered sending sticky cider and glass all over the kitchen. No one was hurt, but what a mess!

  • Margaret Balyeat

    I had a (somewhat) similat experience when I was prepreparing my “famous–now nown as ‘infanous”– lasagna for a group of collegues when we were spending a weekend retreating at my family’s “cottage’ (more like a self-built log home with all the ameneties albiet on a small lake sut=rroundby ten acres of northern (lower penninsula, however) Michigan virgin forest. I had heated a pint of my home canned spaghetti sauce in the microwave unaware that the seal hid a fragmented jar opening which the heat would release, and small pieces of it ended up in the sauce which I was unaware of until I served it–after much braggadocia, I might add. Yep, you guessed it…one of my dinner guests finally said “I think there’s glass in my piece.” Fortunately no one ended up with any serious complications, but I certainly finished that meal with a hefty dessert of “humble pie”–after we’d all scraped the rest of our dinner into the garbage pan!

  • Chinamom

    The worst holiday cooking disaster we ever had was a goose. Talk about nasty!! Never again!

  • Kathy

    Yesterday I felt bad about the lack of sex my husband gets so I thought I’d make a romantic T-day breakfast of popovers, which I have made before. I always thought it was a foolproof recipe. Anyway, they turned out like hockey pucks, having failed to pop up much at all. He said they tasted good, but I gave him an out by asking them to share it with the dogs, which he was happy to do. I kind of feel like a loser.

  • Brian Funny, touching, memorable short Thanksgiving stories about holiday disasters, family & friends

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  • Keith

    Really? You tried to make up for the lack of sex by making popovers? Maybe he would have appreciated some sex instead. And the bonus there would have been that no matter what recipe you follow and no matter what your skill level or what mistakes you make, it ALWAYS turns out good.
    Just a thought…

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