10 Cooking Mistakes You’re Too Smart To Make

10 Cooking Mistakes You're Too Smart To Make


 10 Cooking Mistakes You’re Too Smart To Make

It’s rare that we talk about our failures. It’s even rarer that we photo-document these failures.

Let’s face it, we all want our blogs to look pretty.

Today I’m going to tell you about some of my worst mishaps. I’d love to say it’s so you don’t have to make the same mistakes. But as the title says, I’m sure you’re too smart to make these mistakes!

I’ve looked back on a few shaking my head, wondering what on earth I was thinking.

1. Corn Starch Batter = a gluey mess

My entire kitchen, cupboard space, and arms up to the elbows were covered in thick, white goop.

Remember that thick glue you used as a kid in school?

That consistency, but powder white, and with the force of the strongest steel. That was the cornstarch batter I’d made. It only had two ingredients: corn starch, and corona lites.

I don’t even have a photo to show you the gluey, disgusting mess, because I was covered in it: hair, face, arms, hands, elbows, shirt. It was like it multiplied and clung as soon as it touched human skin.

And know the worst part? I still used this stuff to batter my tofu and fry it. I have a bizarre inability to waste anything. And I ate this gluey stuff, and it felt like cement in my stomach.

2. Sweet Potato, Kale & Ravioli = a hideous mess

10 Cooking Mistakes You're Too Smart To Make

What on earth possessed me to try all of these together?

Urgh. No, no and no. Don’t ever do this. I think I had the odd idea that trying flavours that don’t traditionally mesh together would come out as some fantastic experiment.

Not the case at all. Blergh. It tasted hideous. Just look at the photographic evidence.

3. Green Tea and Berries Smoothies = a hot mess

Smoothies are something I’m usually good at. I hate being parted from my blender. So much so, that I brought it on an extended motorhome roadtrip we did through America and Canada.

The thing you also need for an excellent smoothies, aside from a blender, is fresh ingredients, ice cubes and tasty additions. All I had when we were travelling through the Mojave Dessert, was some hot water, green tea bags, and a frozen berry mix that was rapidly defrosting in the heat.

What could possibly go wrong?

Yeah, it was disgusting. Don’t do it at home, kids.

4. Vegan Burgers, without anything to bind them together = just a mess

10 Cooking Mistakes You're Too Smart To Make

Sigh. I really, truly knew better. I did. And yet I went ahead. Another “what could go wrong?” moment.

This time we were in Hollister and I was a little envious of North Nomad’s DIY home-made burgers on the grill. I wanted my own burgers.

Now, vegan burgers can be tricky to make because of the lack of egg binding them together. At first, I was going to use mesquite flour, but the store had run out. I couldn’t find tofu, let alone flax seeds. And bananas were NOT going in my burger with onion and garlic and veggies.

To make matters worse, I didn’t realise the sunflower seeds we’d bought were salted. So I was left with a crumbly, salty unappetizing mess. And because I’m me and hate waste, guess who ate all four patties rather than throw them out?

5. Vanilla, Apple & Cinnamon cupcakes – without the vanilla or cinnamon, but with olive oil = a dry, yet oily mess (how does this even happen?!)

10 Cooking Mistakes You're Too Smart To Make

Before I found out about the wonderous product that is coconut oil, I attempted cupcakes with olive oil. I know a lot of people do this, and these people are much smarter than I am in the kitchen. How is it that oil can simultaneously make something oily AND dry? I don’t know how, yet I attained this polarity in my cupcakes.

I was also in a tizz that day, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to do a million things at once. So naturally I forgot two of the key ingredients: vanilla and cinnamon.

The result was a dry yet oily, bland tasting mess. Kind of like a two in one shampoo, yet edible… kind of.

6. Sesame seed coated silken tofu, shallow fried in rice bran oil = an oily, seedy mess

This one was a recent mistake, so I feel a little queasy writing about it. Taste wise, it wasn’t *the* worst thing in the world, I suppose. But why oh why did I try tofu this way when I know how to make it taste good?

Lacking any cornstarch in Chiang Mai (see above Mistake 1 – perhaps I’m a bit scared of corn starch now), I thought it would be a BRILLIANT idea to coat my silken tofu in toasted sesame seeds and shallow fry them. Because naturally that would taste as good as deep fried crispy tofu, yes?

Oh my, this oily mess was disgusting.

7. Vegan Choc Strawberry Freddos = icy mess

10 Cooking Mistakes You're Too Smart To Make

In my defence, this one didn’t taste so bad.

It was just cold, the wrong consistency, and impossible to work with.

If you live/d in Australia, you probably know about chocolate freddos. They’re pretty damn delicious. I was particularly fond of strawberry freddos – something I haven’t had for years and will never have again. I set out to make a vegan version, and ended up with something closer to ice cream…

8. Vegan Sushi = a badly wrapped mess

My attempts to make a sushi roll reminded me of why, when we were teenagers, I was responsible for buying the Christmas presents, and my little sister was responsible for wrapping.

I also have even less of an excuse than your average white person. I was taught how to make these by a Japanese teacher who lived with us for a month when I was 16. And I’m still terrible at it.

9. White bean stew & spinach = an ungodly mess

10 Cooking Mistakes You're Too Smart To Make

Bloody hell this was awful. It was a mess of beans, home made pesto, and then I made it even worse by putting it atop a bed of baby spinach. Why? I just… I don’t know. I also don’t know why I thought the spinach bed would save it.

And it looks as ugly as it tasted.

10. Soba Noodle hot pot = a slimy mess

10 Cooking Mistakes You're Too Smart To Make

Soba noodles should be cooked for seven minutes at the most. Don’t ever sit them in a hot pot with fragrant, aromatic herbs and spices to simmer gently, infusing noodles with their flavour. Because if you don’t add them at the end, you’ll end up with a slimy, unpalatable mess.

So far these are my worst messes. I’m sure there will be many more to come! And I was wondering if perhaps I was the only blogger with mishaps like this, but at the time of writing this, a similar post popped up in my Twitter feed from Giselle Rochford who blogs at Diary of an Ex Sloth. So I’m not the only one! 🙂

Do you have any cooking disasters you’re willing to share with us here? 🙂


39 thoughts on “10 Cooking Mistakes You’re Too Smart To Make

  1. I like the idea of your Freddo! This was an enjoyable and gutsy post – few of us ever ‘fess up to our blunders. I suppose our main disasters are the usual – over seasoning, things that are too ‘caramelised’ (read: burnt). I once filled chocolate cups with a lovely raspberry cream – or so I thought, until my dinner guest bit into one and the chocolate disintegrated. Raspberry tsunami anyone?

    • Thanks Michelle! Given the state of these abominations, I can understand why they don’t usually see the light of day. They’re the Frankenstein’s monster of the cooking world. I love the idea of the raspberry tsunami. It sounds messy but delicious!

  2. This post resulted in lots of chuckling- thanks!

    I think my worst kitchen error was misreading ‘one teaspoon of baking powder’ as ‘one tablespoon’. I don’t know why I didn’t think ‘oh, that’s a lot, no other cake requires that much’, and instead ploughed on anyway. Needless to say that although my cakes did rise, they did so a little too well, and I ended up with cake all over the inside of my oven

    • Hehehe no worries at all, Amelia. Glad you enjoyed it! And would you believe, I have done that with pancakes. I could not understand why they were inflating like an air bed and then realised….

  3. Hahah, I love this – brave! Some of the combinations don’t sound too bad (cornstarch sounds pretty scary though….). Think my worst one so far was trying to make mushroom ravioli in a broth, basically it tasted like soggy ravioli which hadn’t been drained… made the second batch sans broth, but where is the fun with that…

    • Thanks Sophie! Broths are my nemsis, I can understand why this happened!!! I don’t know why it seems so hard for me to make a good broth, particularly with dumplings.

  4. Some of those dishes looked really good! I hate it when you have what seems like a great good idea and it goes wrong! I’m terrible at making Yorkshire puddings and I love them I keep subjecting my other half to my experiments because one day they will work!

    • Hahaha you are honestly too kind, Vicky! You’ve also got heat and humidity working against you guys where you’re based. Both of those conditions can make baking a lot harder!

  5. This post is great! I once thought that olive oil could be used for baking too….ewwww it was one hot mess. I can not for the life of me figure out to make Quinoa not look like barf. I see other peoples photos and I get jealous mine just look completely unappetizing.

    • Thanks so much Renee! Some people seem to be able to master the olive oil in cake baking. I am certainly not one of them! Every time I read a blog post about it, I’m thinking “what black magic is this?!” hehe. Quinoa, on the other hand, is something I can make look appetizing. 😀

  6. Wow! There are some really good looking things here! (and some not so good. lol) But I must say, if this is your cooking, Jess you sure are adventurous! I’d love to try some of these once they are perfected! 🙂

    • hahaha! Thanks Denise 😀 Some of these are well and truly scrapped. Sweet potato ravioli, kale, and tomato pasta sauce never, EVER needs to be attempted. Hehe. But, the corn starch battered tofu and the strawberry and chocolate freddos, are in my line of sight. I will have them, oh yes I will! 😉

    • They can be such tricky things to make, can’t they Bree? I was pretty good when I was vegetarian (and before i was a vegan) with veggie burgers cos eggs are so fantastic for binding. But I’ve found things a lot trickier with burgers since I became vegan. Getting the consistency right is a science!

    • Tianna, my husband read this post and said to me “When did that happen?” — he’s been there for every one of them! I think I must hide my disasters too well. 😉

  7. I recently tried to make Nutella cookies and the person who had the recipe posted, had the baking temp in celcius and fahrenheit. I accidentally looked at the celcius one and baked them at 180 degrees. disaster! Thanks for your compilation!

    • ohhh, Ashleigh I have done this too! When I was visiting my family in Australia in 2012 I forgot the ovens are in Celsius, and mine at home in Canada was in Fahrenheit, so I tried to bake kale chips and ended up with a charcoaly mess.

  8. Love this! My biggest fail as of late was on Thanksgiving, when I somehow screwed up the cooking process of my hard-boiled eggs for deviled eggs. They wouldn’t peel right and looked pretty bad. They did taste OK, but I was disappointed.

  9. Hahaha this post is hilarious! 😀 Oh gosh, I should really do a post about my cooking failures too – I have quite a few! One time I tried to make healthy vegan carrot muffins – but without any oil, they turned into what my friend called “little turds”. Needless to say I didn’t end up serving them to anyone!

    • Chelsea, you should! That is so funny!!! Have you ever been to Lettuce Love Cafe in Burlington? I went with a friend who ordered the avocado wedges, and when I put a photo up on instagram one of my high school friends said “err they kinda look like number 2s…” hahahaha!

  10. You have me over here cracking up. I’ve had some major disasters myself. My worst one being burning chicken and having it still raw on the inside. I still can’t figure out how I managed to do that.

    • Thanks Katherine! You know, I am always petrified of doing that to chicken. I can manage to roast one entirely and get it perfect, but I’m always anxious with fillets. My poor husband gets hacked up fillets a bit because I’m terrified of giving him raw chicken and I cut into them to see how they’re cooking.

    • Shareba, I know so many people who have shattered their Pyrex dishes! I’ve cracked one of my Pyrex measuring cups. Totally my own fault, heated liquid in it, then poured icy water in it to use straight after.

  11. This is AWESOME. I love it that you came clean with all of these mishaps…very truthful unlike me — I just show all the good stuff! Like Shareba, I also shattered some pyrex (in the oven) and another glass container (pouring hot stock into it). Dumb. Re. green tea and berries — try chamomile tea and strawberries — awesome smoothie combo!!!

    • Thanks Sarah!!! Well, as I said to Teresa, I don’t think I’ll be making a habit out of sharing my abominations. Hehehe 😉 That chamomile tea and strawberry combo sounds pretty fantastic. Thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely try it out. 🙂

  12. Thanks for the laughs! I think we all have our fair share of kitchen failures…..I just never thought to take pictures of them! I will do better next time.

  13. This made me laugh! They happen to the best of us, though I think I’m less adventurous than you, so my disasters tend to be more of the pot boiling over or something spilling all over the bottom of the oven sort of disaster (sweet potato juice burned to the bottom of the oven is awful!!!) Usually everything tastes fine, but things get a little messy.
    One time, though, I was shaking some pepper into soup and the cap of my bulk container of pepper fell off and about a cup of pepper fell into the soup….that was not good.
    I can relate to your desire not to waste any food, too!

    • Sweet potato juice burnt to the bottom of the oven sounds pretty interesting! Sadly in my case, I tend to melt plastics on to ovens when I’m sick and don’t remember where I’ve left things!

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