Monday, March 22, 2010

CHG Hall of Shame, Part III: Return of the Breadi

Today on Serious Eats: Moroccan-Style Chickpea Soup. I give it three snaps up in Z formation.

Every few months, instead of highlighting a newly beloved edible, we at CHG will compile a list of dishes that totally bombed. Sometimes the recipes themselves are bad, but mostly, it’s my own fault, since I’m semi-literate and terrible at improvising. Seriously, there’s a French Onion Soup at the bottom of this post that didn’t just make me doubt my own skills, but the existence of god.

The reasons for the Hall of Shame pieces are threefold:
  1. This way, you know we don’t post everything we make. Dishes can’t just be cheap and healthy. They have to taste like actual food. That people would eat. Without accompanying upchuck.
  2. Bad food is funny.
  3. I forgot reason #3.
So, without further ado, here’s the very best of the very worst. Please respect me in the morning.

Parsnip Fries
Okay, you know how one of the basic tenets of food prep is chopping ingredients into similar-sized pieces, so they cook evenly? I ignored that rule here. Some parsnips burned, others didn’t heat through. I think the one in the middle is giving me the finger.

Turkey Meatballs
Giada DeLaurentiis’ turkey meatballs are widely known and well reviewed. “Hey,” I thought, “Why not ignore her directions completely, add more egg, and chop the onions into something resembling hubcaps? Then, I’ll burn the meat beyond recognition and cover the carnage in red sauce.” Bad plan, me. Bad plan.

Lime Basil Sorbet
It turns out, when a recipe calls for an ice cream maker, you can’t substitute an 8x8 Corningware baking dish. Doy. This block of lime and basil ice haunted our freezer for a month before I finally sacked up and tossed it. Apologies to Cooking Light, which deserves better from its readers.

Parmesan Steak Fries
This one wasn’t me! At least, I don’t think it was. No, it was probably me. Either way, this Everyday Food recipe tasted like nothing. They’re usually infallible, so I shoulder the blame. Martha, please forgive me. Don’t hit me with your ornamental loom.

Watermelon & Feta Salad
When an excellent, competent food blogger asks you to cut up a block of feta, and you use cheap pre-crumbled cheese complete with anti-caking agent, you deserve whatever weird Watermelon-cheese soup you end up with. Which is what I did.

Pureed Broccoli Pasta
Sigh. Again with the feta. I don’t think I added enough liquid, either, meaning the only thing grainier than my picture was the sauce itself.

French Onion Soup
Once upon a time, there was a culinary nitwit who wanted French Onion Soup, but didn’t have the time to make one from scratch. So, she opened a can of Progresso, crumbled up an old roll, and melted a hunk of about-to-go-bad mozzarella on top. This all occurred in the microwave, which actually yelled at her for attempting such a travesty. Then she died of bad food. The end.

The cookies. THE COOKIES.
A few months before Christmas, I received an e-mail from a major food publication asking me to enter a baking contest. Ecstatic and newly motivated, I devised a recipe for Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies, which was supposed to whet editors’ appetites, revolutionize cookie making, and bring about world peace. Eight slightly different batches later, they still sucked and I gained seven pounds. We’ll get ‘em next year, Buttermaker.

And that’s the whole shameful bunch. Readers, what dishes have you mucked up lately? Do tell.

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