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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Celebrity Chefs and Famous Cooks / Fun thread for August: YOUR STORIES !!!
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    Fun thread for August: YOUR STORIES !!!

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    Zurie
    Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:16 am
    Forum Host
    Years later:

    I was married, with 2 small sons. I worked part time at a newspaper, for the women's pages. A very haughty woman of my own age was the women's editor. She was one of those snotty know-alls, and not much liked around the office.

    She invited DH and me to dinner. It was midwinter and we didn't much feel like going, but coming from her it was a "command performance".

    On the night it was absolutely freezing cold. One of the toddlers had a bad cold, and I hated leaving him with a young babysitter. This couple (I'll call them Eric and Marianne) lived in a complete outpost, where only a few houses had been built. There weren't even streetlights up yet.

    We got lost, of course, and when at last we reached their house we were already fed-up and hungry too.

    We gave them DH's bottle of gift wine and my gift flowers, and with haughty Marianne and her strangely sullen husband we sat in their freezing lounge, making awkward conversation.

    No drink was offered. There was a small 2-bar heater which made no impact on the zero-degree room. We sat and sat until I felt like simply getting up and saying goodbye.

    I heard sounds in a kitchen: Marianne had a maid, hopefully cooking, although I could not smell any promising scents of food.

    At last, at long last, we were summoned to the cramped little dining room (all that fitted in were the table and chairs). This room was even colder than the lounge. The maid brought in the food. There was no starter, just 3 bowls and a tiny pudding bowl containing a few shredded lettuce leaves and some greenish tomato slices. No dressing.

    Now maybe I should add that Marianne had told us journalists what a good cook she was and how she knew all about food -- at a time when most of us were still young and definitely no experts with cooking.

    The main dish turned out to be a beef stew: chunks of beef with chunks of carrots, in a thin "gravy". There was a bowl of rice and a bowl of peas.

    By this time my stomach was growling audibly! Marianne dished out meagre portions of this simple fare on icy cold plates ...

    Her husband Eric at last opened DH's bottle of wine, and shared it out -- as you know a bottle of wine will yield 4 glasses -- that's it.

    The beef chunks were hard and tough, the type of meat which makes you long for a locked bathroom door and lots of dental floss ... And of course the food could not be warm on those cold plates.

    Perhaps the most agonising aspect was the conversation. We had nothing in common, and Eric was really not friendly. Then the situation worsened: Marianne said something to Eric, he retaliated, and suddenly there was one of those vicious spats between husband and wife ... DH and I sort of curled into ourselves like snails with horror!!! It was clear that things between the two were not quite ... kosher ... as they say.

    Dessert was jelly and ice cream. (Jello). I'd hoped for one of those rib-sticking, hot, baked traditional puddings, but no such luck!

    We took our leave soon afterwards. I still remember the vast relief at being out of there ...

    It would have made SUCH a difference if the rooms had been warm and if there hadn't been that awkward atmosphere. There is nothing wrong with simple food, but a little more wine to relax us, and food on warmed plates would have made all the difference -- but I think that outburst between the host and hostess was the cherry on the top. A dinner to be forgotten!!
    Molly53
    Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:31 am
    Forum Host
    What happened the next day at the office?
    Zurie
    Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:40 pm
    Forum Host
    icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif Fortunately this disastrous dinner was on a Friday night, so by Monday things have simmered down a little! I thanked her for a nice dinner -- very non-committally!

    I took care to be industrious, rather distant, did my job, but not get into any intimate situation with her at the office. She made me feel sooo uncomfortable.

    Very soon after that she left to take up another job ... relief!!! icon_cool.gif

    She did divorce not long afterwards. I met her once after that at a party, and while she'd always been slender, she was then a real willow branch, and flirting with all the men ... icon_evil.gif

    After that, I have no idea what became of her.
    Nif
    Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:49 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Zurie wrote:
    You are all sooo funny!! Nif, loved that story about the date from hell! Good on you!

    How absolutely awful the guy was! It did remind me of my dating years, and the men (more boys than men) I sometimes went out with -- to have dates from hell!

    A moment I have never forgotten was going to a fancy restaurant with a nice guy. I thought most guys knew at least the basics of manners, so ...

    He ordered us a bottle of wine. As usual, the waiter poured a little into his glass to taste, then stood back, waiting for his verdict.

    Would you believe, the guy did not know what it was all about. After some awkward seconds (I sooo wanted to hiss: "Taste the wine, blockhead!") he merely lost his temper at the waiter.

    "What's wrong with you?" he asked, no kidding. "Why stand there? Go ahead and pour the wine!" and he said to me in an undertone: "The man must be mad or something ... "

    Later I laughed about it, but I was at an age of great self-consciousness about "doing the right thing in public". Needless to say that relationship did not get any further. icon_wink.gif


    rotfl.gif rotfl.gif That poor waiter!!! He must have wanted to educate your date!

    When I was 14, I went on a date with a 16 year old boy to the Keg as well! He was very polite and later told me what happened to him during that dinner (we were boyfriend/girlfriend for 2 years).

    He had been brought up with great manners and was exceptionally nice to the waiter (no wine! icon_wink.gif ) When the waiter brought the hot rolls, Jeff cut into his. Unfortunately, he had it in the palm of his hand and the serrated knife was sharp. Apparently he cut right into the palm of his hand and spent the rest of the dinner trying to hide his bleeding hand. And here I thought he was just nervous! icon_lol.gif
    Nif
    Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:50 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    BTW, your editor's dinner sounds horrid! I felt sorry for you just reading it!
    Linky
    Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:26 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Burger Monster wrote:
    Worst meal ever.... I never ate it! My mom and I were in the kitchen watching my sister in-law make "chili". She cooked the fattiest hamburger i have ever seen. It was literally swimming in grease! She got it about half done, poured a can of tomato soup into the mess, incorporating it into the grease and proceeded to pour it all over a plate of rice before yelling for my brother to come to the table and eat his chili. No beans, no spices.... just a guaranteed belly ache. I'm pretty sure her cooking was the reason for the divorce!


    When I lived in South Dakota, a neighbor made "Goulash" and it was like your "chili" but with the addition of elbow macaroni. Blech!
    Mia in Germany
    Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:38 am
    Forum Host
    Linky wrote:
    Burger Monster wrote:
    Worst meal ever.... I never ate it! My mom and I were in the kitchen watching my sister in-law make "chili". She cooked the fattiest hamburger i have ever seen. It was literally swimming in grease! She got it about half done, poured a can of tomato soup into the mess, incorporating it into the grease and proceeded to pour it all over a plate of rice before yelling for my brother to come to the table and eat his chili. No beans, no spices.... just a guaranteed belly ache. I'm pretty sure her cooking was the reason for the divorce!


    When I lived in South Dakota, a neighbor made "Goulash" and it was like your "chili" but with the addition of elbow macaroni. Blech!


    icon_lol.gif
    Reminds me of when I watched the SIL of my dad's friend in South France make soup from crabs. She boiled the whole crabs in some thick red liquid (tomato? bell pepper??) and then pureed the whole thing. Including the crust icon_eek.gif I was six and decided to skip dinner that day icon_eek.gif icon_eek.gif
    Linky
    Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:25 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Mia - if I remember correctly, you have some digestion issues or food allergies or something. They were probably brought on by all the strange food experiences you had as a child! icon_rolleyes.gif

    My worst/strangest meal I can recall was in April in NZ.
    We were almost at the end of our wonderful NZ adventure and my DH commented that we had not gone to a Fish & Chips Carry-out restaurant.

    It was about 8 in the evening and there was a Chinese/Fish&Chips place next to our motel. The sweet motel owner said she would call to make sure they stayed open while we walked over.

    This restaurant had a display counter, a large menu posted, some dishes had photos, some didn't. Although there was plenty of room for several tables, the front of the shop was empty. We walked to the back, read the menu and decided on... fish and chips. The lady behind the counter did not understand me. (American accent and all.) So I spoke slower and with my fake NZ accent: fish and chips, please. Still no go. So, DH pointed to the hand-written placard with the day's special - 2 fish, 2 chips, 2 hot dogs, 2 dough-nuts, $11. That she understood. We figured, how could one mess up hot-dogs?

    She disappeared in the back and came back in about 5 minutes (while I checked out a very interesting poster showing every possible edible sea-creature found in NZ waters). It was hard to see, but she appeared to dump a bunch of stuff onto the counter. We were presented with a bundle about 1 foot square of something wrapped up in newsprint and tied with string. (I must be spoiled, but a teeny, tiny package of ketchup which is free in the States was 55 cents, but I digress...) The doughnuts were separately wrapped.

    We returned to our motel with our, by now, grease-soaked bundle. We unwrapped it and there was a mixture of items, all deep-fried, all the same lovely shade of golden crispness. Yes, 2 pieces of fish (not too bad), a whole mess of fries/chips (edible), and two long things that turned out to be battered and deep-fried hot dogs. One had a stick inside, the other didn't. The taste: indescribable - not in a good way.

    Part of our astonishment was how the food was presented; part over the odd way the hot dogs were prepared. Here's what was left - yeah we were real hungry!
    Nif
    Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:28 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Linky wrote:
    Mia - if I remember correctly, you have some digestion issues or food allergies or something. They were probably brought on by all the strange food experiences you had as a child! icon_rolleyes.gif

    My worst/strangest meal I can recall was in April in NZ.
    We were almost at the end of our wonderful NZ adventure and my DH commented that we had not gone to a Fish & Chips Carry-out restaurant.

    It was about 8 in the evening and there was a Chinese/Fish&Chips place next to our motel. The sweet motel owner said she would call to make sure they stayed open while we walked over.

    This restaurant had a display counter, a large menu posted, some dishes had photos, some didn't. Although there was plenty of room for several tables, the front of the shop was empty. We walked to the back, read the menu and decided on... fish and chips. The lady behind the counter did not understand me. (American accent and all.) So I spoke slower and with my fake NZ accent: fish and chips, please. Still no go. So, DH pointed to the hand-written placard with the day's special - 2 fish, 2 chips, 2 hot dogs, 2 dough-nuts, $11. That she understood. We figured, how could one mess up hot-dogs?

    She disappeared in the back and came back in about 5 minutes (while I checked out a very interesting poster showing every possible edible sea-creature found in NZ waters). It was hard to see, but she appeared to dump a bunch of stuff onto the counter. We were presented with a bundle about 1 foot square of something wrapped up in newsprint and tied with string. (I must be spoiled, but a teeny, tiny package of ketchup which is free in the States was 55 cents, but I digress...) The doughnuts were separately wrapped.

    We returned to our motel with our, by now, grease-soaked bundle. We unwrapped it and there was a mixture of items, all deep-fried, all the same lovely shade of golden crispness. Yes, 2 pieces of fish (not too bad), a whole mess of fries/chips (edible), and two long things that turned out to be battered and deep-fried hot dogs. One had a stick inside, the other didn't. The taste: indescribable - not in a good way.

    Part of our astonishment was how the food was presented; part over the odd way the hot dogs were prepared. Here's what was left - yeah we were real hungry!


    I wouldn't expect that bundle of greasiness! I hope no one chipped their tooth on the stick! icon_eek.gif
    Zurie
    Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:08 pm
    Forum Host
    Gee!!! The description alone is enough to give me heartburn!!rotfl.gifrotfl.gif
    Zurie
    Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:32 am
    Forum Host
    Did you (or do you) have those bring-your-own foods grill/BBQ parties?

    Lots of strange things happen around food when one is young, and money is scarce.

    Lots of our friends got married around the same time. Most of us didn't have kids yet. We all lived in what they call today "starter homes", small, with a tiny yard.

    For several years the only way our lot could get their friends together (not being able to afford lots of food and drink) was to invite them, but ask them to "bring your own meats and wine, and we'll have a braai." (That's outside grilling).

    The problem is that only some of my friends had cottoned on to the fact that really good quality chops, steaks and boerewors are necessary for a successful braai.

    And always the story was more or less the same: the young host grills -- but not well! Sometimes we watched in horror as we saw our lovely meat being incinerated!

    The meats were then up-ended, everything together, in large dishes.

    And we would watch how our marinated kebabs and chops and/or steaks were grabbed by people who had brought cheap and nasty meats, not to mention the very cheapest plonk ... And they're your friends, you could not protest!!

    We had to smile and thank them when you were kindly told "gee, your chops are so tender and tasty!" or "best kebabs I've tasted!"

    So some of us had to drink their undrinkable wine and eat their inedible, tough, sometimes well charred meats ...rotfl.gif

    Aaah, those were the days! At least we were footloose and fancy free!

    But I confess that the day dawned when I said I was not, absolutely never ever, going to another "bring-your-own" again. If people could not afford to supply the food, they shouldn't have a party.

    Fortunately we all became a little more adult, had babies which curtailed our social lives, and we all had a little more money so we could invite people to sit round a decent dinner table! icon_wink.gif icon_lol.gif
    Mia in Germany
    Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:14 am
    Forum Host
    rotfl.gif
    My first summer at the university a friend and I decided to organize a birthday party for both of us (our b'days are close in July and August). I was still living with my mom in a flat, but my friend had a room at a nice old lady, big house with a big garden which my friend was allowed to use for the party. So we decided to have a bbq. We bought sausages and some meat, bread and sauces and told the others to bring salads and dessert (that's the usual way in Germany - the host supplies the meat and the guests bring along salad and cake or other desserts). One of our male friends had a grill which he brought along the day before the party so we could set up everything. So we set up everything nicely, we were two VERY well organized ladies, oh, yes, we were. Thought of everything, and it looked beautiful. "Okay, then," said my friend contently, "get the grill started!"
    "What, me?" I replied, baffled. "This bbq was your idea - I've never done this before and I have no clue how to get the grill started. You do it!"
    "I've never done this either," she replied, horrified, "you seemed so confident when you agreed to make a bbq that I was sure you knew how to do it!" "Yeah," I said, "because I was sure *you* knew how to do it!"
    Needless to say that we frantically tried to reach the friend who owned the grill to tell him that he had to come early. We couldn't reach him, and when our hungry guests arrived, we first devoured the salads, bread and cake before we could end the meal with grilled meat and sausages icon_lol.gif
    Chocolatl
    Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:58 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Years ago, a single male friend of ours invited DH and me to dinner. He said he was going to make an eggplant parmigiana recipe that was in the local newspaper that week.

    This friend lived in an apartment-hotel and didn't have a kitchen. He lived in one room with a Murphy bed (the kind that folds up into the wall), and cooked on a hot plate. But we didn't know that. I did see the recipe in the paper, and thought it would be good.

    Well, when we got there, we discovered a huge pot of tomato juice simmering on the hot plate. There were three slices of breaded eggplant floating around in the juice--and that was all there was. No pasta, no bread, no nothing. The worst part was that DH is part Italian, and his father was a gourmet cook, so he knew how truly bad this was.

    From then on, we were always the ones who invited the friend over, never the reverse!
    dianegrapegrower
    Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:08 am
    Food.com Groupie
    How did I miss this thread? What fun! My story:

    DH and I had been married for about 15 years, but had never been "allowed" to host Christmas dinner - he's the youngest sibling, and older sisters had always claimed the holiday. But we finally got the honor. We had 20 or so people for dinner. I was a little nervous, since it was the first time I'd hosted his entire family, but the meal went fine - turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad, pies - the works. Food was delicious, and even though seating was cramped, we had lots of fun. After dinner, everyone pitched in to clean up before having coffee and dessert.

    Did I mention that our house is kind of old? So my nephew's wife is drying the big pots and pans and needs another clean dish towel. When she opens the door to the laundry to get one, water runs out. The kitchen drain has backed up all the way through the washing machine. Ewww! She squawks, I grab an armload of towels to sop up the water. DH looks and groans. Grabs the snake and a flash light, and gets ready to crawl under the house and snake out the drain. 13YO DS goes along to help.

    We get the kitchen mopped up, and do what we can to clean up the leftovers. DBIL forgets the plumbing problem, and goes to rinse more dishes, dumping water all over DH and DS who are in the (now muddy) crawlspace under the house, snaking out the pipes. They squawk.

    They finally get the drain cleared, and climb out muddy and disgusting. They head off to the showers and nephew's wife finishes the dishes. DS gets an extra big piece of apple pie for being such a good sport and helping his dad. We all have a good laugh.

    The next year, we host Christmas dinner again... and you guessed it, the drain backed up.

    This was a Christmas tradition we did not want to continue, so now DH snakes out the drains ahead of family gatherings.

    Diane
    Zurie
    Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:14 pm
    Forum Host
    Oh, rotfl.gifrotfl.gifrotfl.gif

    I meant to reply to Choccie's story after I read it, but I was interrupted (not unknown in this household).

    Oh boy, Choc, I am sure there are hundreds of us with similar stories of horrible so-called "meals", which unfortunately did not make it to this thread!!

    Diane, isn't it strange how plumbing, electricity, and every single appliance which can spoil a celebration, go out of whack right at the time you need them most?? icon_lol.gif
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