Monday, November 6, 2017

Around the Kitchen Table: Our Holiday Disasters and a #Giveaway!


With the season of feasting coming up fast, we crime-writing cooks are employing our monthly chin-wag to laugh (and cry!) about the mistakes we’ve made or the foul-ups we’ve fumbled through during the holiday season. We invite you to join our circle and share your own stories.

Leave a comment for us (with a way to contact you) and you will be entered in our random drawing to win a special prize…learn more at the end of the post. This contest is now over. See the winner announced at the end of this post. And now, let's talk Holiday Disasters!



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Cleo's disaster inspired the
last scene in Holiday Buzz.
Click to learn more.

CLEO COYLE: I was in my early twenties, on my own in New York City, and I'd been looking forward to seeing my family for Thanksgiving, but I just missed making my train. The moment was so awful, I can still see those taillights pulling away from me as I ran down the platform, dragging my luggage, ready to cry. It was Thanksgiving morning. There were no other trains that day to Western PA, and I was strapped. I couldn't afford to say "Oh, well," and buy a plane or even a bus ticket. I thought I was doomed to eating fast food alone. Thankfully, a girlfriend took pity on me and invited me to her sister's house. To this day, I feel terrible that I’d disappointed my mom and dad. But I did make the next morning’s train (after exchanging my ticket). There were plenty of Thanksgiving leftovers waiting for me in Mom’s kitchen. And, years later, that very disaster at New York's Penn Station helped inspire an important final scene in HOLIDAY BUZZ, our 12th Coffeehouse Mystery.

Years before he met me, my husband (and partner in culinary crime-writing) had his own holiday disaster. It was his first Thanksgiving in New York, and he wanted to make a feast for his friends. Marc proudly stuffed his turkey and popped it into the oven. All done! (Not quite.) Marc had failed to clean the gizzards out of the neck flap, and they were sealed in plastic. The bird looked great, but it tasted like hot, wet Styrofoam. That Thanksgiving, Marc and his friends enjoyed dinner at the local Nathan’s fast food joint, where the hot dogs were delicious. 


Click here for our doggone tasty
holiday appetizer recipe.
Which goes to show you. No matter what you're eating for dinner, if you're sharing it with people you care about, Thanksgiving can turn out to be a doggone beautiful meal. And on that note, Marc and I sincerely wish all of you a disaster-free holiday feasting season!

We're also pleased to share a fun, delicious (and insanely easy) party appetizer. Click here to get it and may you and your loved ones eat with holiday joy!


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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Mr. Right and I are classic trailers -- his siblings are 7 and 11 years older, mine 9-1/2. As a result, we have never been allowed to host a family holiday dinner! My two sisters-in-law are absolutely lovely, but they are also older, strong-minded women who know exactly how holiday dinners are supposed to go in their houses. One has probably never forgiven me for the year my cranberry almond bundt cake (yes, I took a cake!) was more popular than her Costco pumpkin pie at Christmas dinner. My other SIL has a hard time sitting still, so she packs up the leftovers for everyone. Which is great, except for the time she packed up the mashed potatoes before I got any. And since we're usually traveling, the leftovers don't do us a lot of good. Talk about disaster!

So Mr. Right and I have created our own tradition. We join the family and have a great time. Then, sometime during the week after Christmas, we make a turkey dinner with all the mashed potatoes we want. And no one sweeps up my half-full cup of coffee when I turn my back. On the other hand, there's no one to help us with the dishes ... The only real disaster, in my book, is not finding a way to celebrate that makes you happy.


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PEG COCHRAN:  My holiday disaster is still fresh in my mind! Every Christmas I make a buche de Noel.  How elaborate it is varies--sometimes I do the meringue mushrooms, sometimes there's no time for that. Last Christmas I was working with a new oven. My old oven ran hot--unbeknownst to me, this one runs cool.  I made my cake and when I tried to turn it out of the pan to roll it, it stuck and disintegrated.  (Hubby ate it anyway.) I tried a second time.  This time I got it out of the pan (a lot of sweating was involved) but when I went to roll it, it fell apart.

So...I went with plan B.  I got out my large crystal bowl, layered the broken up cake with whipped cream and other goodies, and proudly declared it...a trifle! 

So in the end, not a tragedy at all.  

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DARYL WOOD GERBER:  I will never forget the first Thanksgiving I was in my current home. Though I was quite used to the space on my own, moving around a lot of other people was a challenge. Well, my stepdaughter wanted to learn how to make mashed potatoes that night. Okay, fine. Not hard. But when the milk started to boil and three people converged to lower the heat or move the pot off the heat, the milk bubbled over the top, down the stove, and into the drawers below. As if that weren't enough, as I was trying to set the stuffing into the lower oven, the lip of the pan caught on the oven door, and the stuffing spilled all over the floor. Everyone was laughing except me. I like things to be perfect at holidays, but this was a major disaster. We had a lovely meal, but the clean-up was atrocious. It wasn't until the next day that I realized WHY it has been so difficult. It's narrow between the island and the stove/oven area. And there were three or four people trying to navigate the aisle. Like I said, if I'd been on my own, it would have been fine. The following Thanksgiving, I told everyone to sit at the island and have a glass of wine. Guess what? No disasters. I guess I'm like a ship in a sea lane. I want clear passage and no obstacles in my way. LOL


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LUCY BURDETTE: 
My disaster came a couple of years ago when we hosted a giant family Thanksgiving dinner. Along with the turkey and gravy I made pumpkin and chocolate cream pies. Chocolate cream pie on Thanksgiving, you say? But my husband's family loves anything chocolate. And I was happy to show off, even buying designer chocolate instead of the usual Baker's. I've made this pie a dozen times--using a recipe right out of the JOY OF COOKING. The graham cracker crust was lovely, but the chocolate pudding part looked grainy. And though I refrigerated it overnight, it never set. We served it in bowls and I was humbled. Though the mounds of whipped cream did help...(These pix are the actual offending pie--If you look closely at the full pie, you'll see the grainy texture. Why you might ask, did she stop to take a picture? Because a Mystery Lovers Kitchen blogger knows everything come in handy one day!)


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SHEILA CONNOLLY: Where to begin... I can well remember my mother and grandmother arguing over the Thanksgiving turkey every year: is it done? is it overdone? It was always one or the other, never just right. I've had better luck with turkeys than they did--I even managed to cook one in my dorm (with a tiny kitchen) and fed the other people who couldn't go home for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

But there was one Christmas that my sister and I were both at our mother's, along with my daughter Julie, and we volunteered to cook dinner among us. Unfortunately my mother was not a scrupulous housekeeper, and there was a bit of extra grease in the burner liners on the stove, so we created a small fire on top of the stove. We didn't panic. I said, "I will find a cover to deprive the fire of oxygen" and my daughter said, "I will get the baking soda," and we calmly extinguished it. Except then we had to do it again, because we didn't quite get rid of all the grease. (BTW, the dinner turned out fine.)



But I am very fond of what I have always called "the cake mess," Julie and I created together (I had to look long and hard for the picture). I still have no idea what went wrong with the poor thing, but somehow since Julie has has turned into a professional baker. Go figure.


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LINDA WIKEN:  I'm almost embarrassed to admit I don't have any stories about monumental disasters to share, probably because I've never been too into cooking so never tried anything too daring. Even though that part has changed -- yes, I do enjoy cooking now and in particular, tasting and trying new recipes -- I still have nothing major to report except for underdone turkey on one occasion or another. 

I also admit to not being into baking. However, at Christmas, I take on the mantle of 'Swedish Coffee Bread maker'. It's my Mom's recipe and while it tastes similar enough to hers each year, I've had some crushing results with texture. It's almost as if the oven elves give up partway through the 'rising' part, leaving me with an unlight, unfluffy result. Those years that I do succeed, I savor (pictured here). But, I will not give up trying! In fact, I'm eyeing a new mixer that might help with the kneading portion, which might, just might bring me a step closer to perfection. Fingers crossed. 



VICTORIA ABBOTT/MARY JANE MAFFINI:

I love this topic and all your tragic tales of disasters, but I hardly know where to begin!  Our disasters so often happen at Christmas, the focal point of the year for the Maffini girls. Take for instance the Christmas many years  ago when we had an ice storm. The fully stuffed 25 pound turkey was roasting away in the oven on Christmas Day when the electricity went off!  Much later it had not returned and my hubby and my brother were busily bailing out the basement. Brother is still complaining thirty years later.  Luckily Victoria's sister, Virginia, was newly married and had an apartment in a different part of town and she had power!  She was also willing to save the day.  Because NOTHING may ever interfere with Christmas turkey, I drove the turkey over to her, skidding over the icy roads to her so it could finish cooking. Later on (still without power at home) we all squeezed into her little flat to enjoy it at the end of an exhausting day.  It was not the first or the last time that Virginia saved the day and it was a grand Christmas dinner in the end.



The next year, Christmas was perfect, BUT as we approached our New Year's Day Open House the wall oven died and so did the microwave.  As the first guest sat down on the newly reupholstered sofa (inherited from MJ's mom), the back leg collapsed.  Ah, the best laid plans!  

I could go on, but I'll give you all a break.



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KRISTA DAVIS:

Like MJ, my most memorable disaster was losing electricity on Christmas. Fortunately, it was early enough in the day that nothing was in the oven yet. We just shoved the entire celebration to the following day.

Because I cook for my dogs, and I used to have four to feed, I have roasted a lot of turkeys. It's sort of a no-brainer for me. Last Thanksgiving, I calculated the times carefully and all was well until the guests arrived and I peeked at the turkey. It was raw! Oh no! As far as I can tell, I must have accidentally turned the oven off when I took the turkey out to flip it over. Sigh. It tasted wonderful, which prompted a conversation about whether turning the heat off in the middle of roasting might be the best way to roast a turkey!

But the worst of all was really more of a faux pas. It still makes me shudder today. I was invited to the home of my boyfriend's parents for passover seder. Between his mother and sisters, it was determined that I should bring two pies as my contribution. Being of the clan of the cake, it was slightly out of my comfort zone, but I very carefully made the pie crusts and prepared two pies for the dinner. We packed them up and joined his rather large and noisy family for a lovely dinner. I'd had plenty of Jewish friends, but hadn't given any thought to foods that might be forbidden . . .

As my boyfriend's father took a bite of my pie, complete with the whipped cream I had dutifully brought along, I saw him lean over to his wife and ask very quietly, "Is this real cream?" 

His wife said, equally quietly, "I think so." 

The father shrugged and kept eating. In fact, the pies and cream were snarfed up and no one ever said a word to me that wasn't complimentary, which just goes to show what lovely people they were. It was years before I realized that the cream was probably frowned upon as not appropriate because one doesn't serve dairy and meat in the same passover meal. Oy vey!



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GIVEAWAY!



Now it's your turn! Leave a comment on this post, telling us about your own holiday disaster or you can simply comment on ours, and you will be entered in our in our special giveaway of a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote bag...






You will also win these
wonderful new book
releases 
to fill it! 

 * Krista Davis' *
Not a Creature was Purring 

* Daryl Wood Gerber's *
A Deadly Eclair 

* Sheila Connolly's A Late Frost
and the new trade reprint of 



👇

LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER...

Tell us about your own
holiday disaster or
comment on ours...



Be sure to include an email
address where we can
contact you.

Good luck and may your 

upcoming holidays be disaster-free!


This contest is now over.
The winner is...

Nora-Adrienne!

Congratulations, Nora!

143 comments:

  1. I fortunately have the pleasure of just getting to eat what has been fixed, but the one time my mom decided we would have dinner at my house, she had to contend with making everything on two electric eyes and a toaster oven as my stove did not work. That took some planning to make dinner for 8 that way. centraleast2 at gmail dot com

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    1. Moms always find a way. Thanks for sharing, CentralEast2!

      ~ Cleo

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  2. A few years ago I had the smoke detector go off when a bunch of company was here for Thanksgiving. I opened all the windows, but it still took about ten minutes to shut off. That wasn't fun, but the food was okay. One of the pies had just bubbled over and was burning on the bottom of the oven. I'm hoping that will stay my biggest holiday snafu ever! mbradeen@yahoo.com

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    1. So your Thanksgiving party was smokin', literally. Fun story. Thanks for sharing, Marla! ~ Cleo

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    2. Ha, ha, yes, it was a smokin' Thanksgiving! The cats were not happy with me!

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  3. I preheated the bottom oven instead of the top oven by mistake (all the buttons are right near each other, in my defense, haha), and of course the dish I was trying to bake in the top oven took longer (it was a whole spaghetti squash); so I had to do twice the work when I FINALLY realized that the top oven wasn't even on. Dumb blonde to the extreme here - but at least it all worked out in the end. EMS591@aol.com

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    1. LizNoVeggieGirl - Marc and I can relate to the "Hey, this oven isn't on!" horror. (We have an older gas oven that is becoming temperamental--difficult to light and occasionally turns itself off in the middle of a cooking cycle. Can you say time for a new oven?!) Thanks for sharing today. ~ Cleo

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    2. Oh, Liz! Thank goodness you didn't do like many of us do and store other dishes, parchment paper, and the like in that bottom oven! But boy, is it a life-saver at holiday time.

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  4. How about two Thanksgiving disaster years in a row? I never make mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving (because I figure the stuffing is more than enough carbs for one meal) but my husband loves them, so one year I decided to make mashed potatoes. We had a food-stealing dog at the time, so to keep her away from the potatoes I put the pot on top of the fridge when they were done (bet you can see this one coming!). My husband, in an effort to be helpful, opened the fridge to get out the wine, and the potatoes came crashing down. So the dog got the potatoes anyway, I had a huge mess to clean up, and my pan still has the dent. To make matters worse, one of my favorite vegetable bowls broke when I was washing the dishes.

    Fed up, I told my husband that next year he was treating me to a lovely restaurant Thanksgiving dinner. We made reservations at a beautiful inn, planning to stay overnight after the meal. Of course, a few days before Thanksgiving I came down with a particularly nasty flu, and we had to cancel (luckily the inn was happy to refund our money, as they had no desire to expose their other Thanksgiving guests to my flu germs). We ended up having frozen Trader Joe's holiday dishes for Thanksgiving. They weren't too bad, according to my husband (I couldn't taste anything anyway), but somehow reheated frozen foods are just not the same as a home cooked holiday meal.

    To this day, I will not make mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, and so far so good - no more disasters have occurred!

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    1. Cee Plus - Oh, my goodness, you had double-header Thanksgiving disasters for sure! I feel for you, especially with the flu year and missing the trip to the inn. On the mashed potatoes...at least your dog was happily fed! Fun stories. Thanks so much for sharing. ~ Cleo

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  5. No real disasters here. When I was 18 I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner for family. Turned out ok, but my turkey was on the dry side. I had heard so much about salmonella from undercooked turkey that I did let it overcook a bit. My oldest brother still teases me about it. The only other problems we have had have been my brother and sister-in-law who were bringing the stuffing - and showed up 2 hours late. moodiesmum at yahoo dot com

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    1. Raquel - Kudos to you on cooking such a challenging meal at only 18--and, hey, a little overcooking of turkey is no problem if you've got plenty of gravy, right?! (I'm a huge fan of stuffing--must have it--so that 2-hour lag would have driven me nuts.) Glad you shared with us today, thank you! ~ Cleo

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  6. I love all these stories, and love even more that despite the disasters, everyone ended up having a great time with family and friends! I haven't really had any holiday disasters, though Peg reminded me of the year I made a buche de Noel. I'm not sure what I did wrong with the "frosting", but it ended up shiny and hardened, like a giant Ho-ho. Delicious, but not a traditional buche de Noel! picard1900 (at) gmail . com

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    1. Those buches de Noel can be very tricky!

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    2. Peg and Amanda - Kudos to you both. I never made one, but I would still eat yours, absolutely!!

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    3. I made one Buche de Noel, for my high school French class 40+ years ago. That was, apparently, enough! Love hearing how you made the dessert even more fun!

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  7. I love these stories! I have no personal disaster stories because my mom always cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. After she passed away, one of my cousins took over. Lucy Burdette, my family always has chocolate cream pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have had a few that turned out like yours! cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Chris, chocolate cream pie! Yum. I used to make them and sell in my neighborhood. Somehow at 8 years old, I seemed to master making chocolate pudding and pouring it into a graham cracker shell. :) ~ Daryl

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  8. I baked a cake which was very difficult to remove from the pan so it split into several pieces, but I saved the day by cutting it up into cubes and then serving it with compote in pretty dessert dishes. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Petite - Sounds like a brilliant kitchen save (and a very tasty dessert)!

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    2. Petite, what a terrific idea and to serve with compote, splendid! I'd probably go for a whole ton of icing. Icing covers a world of mistakes ! LOL ~ Daryl

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  9. One Thanksgiving when I was newly married, I left the bag of gizzards, etc. inside the turkey! So embarrassing! brichardson0056(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. That made me laugh because I'm pretty sure I did that once myself!

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    2. Becky and Peg - Yep, Marc did that!

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    3. Sounds like something I would do, Becky! A story "to dine out on".

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  10. My first turkey was dry and tasteless so I revived it with a little help with broth and lemons. Made a big difference. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. traveler - What a fabulous tip for a dry turkey. Thank you!

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  11. One Thanksgiving, I made the most disgusting stuffing ever! Luckily, they still had some boxed stuffing at the store. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories and for the chance to win!
    magicgirl2357@yahoo.com

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    1. Abby, I'm dying to know why it was disgusting! LOL ~ Daryl

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  12. My mother couldn't cook to save her life. We'd alternate holidays between my uncle's house (his wife was a great cook) and my aunt's house (she had a fantastic caterer).

    Jump forward 35 or so years and I'm making Thanksgiving for friends and family. I buy 3 breasts and at least 5 thighs. It's easier to cook them separately that way with root veggies underneath them. We have an adopted son who is a C.I.A. trained classic baker who handles desserts. Each of my kids brings specific items such as drinks, salads or sides. We even have an extended family member who brings 2 trays of meat lasagna.

    With age came wisdom. The meal is served buffet style since there's not enough room to seat everyone. This year will be a problem since we'll have to get most of it done by Wed. evening. We have a Bar Mitzvah on Thurs. morning. THEN in the afternoon the holiday family invasion.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Wow, what a busy house that will be but sounds like a blast and a CIA trained classic baker? Wow, wow! Wish I could come and have dessert. ~ Daryl

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    2. Ok. CIA...who knew the government had classically trained dessert gurus? Maybe Culinary something? I’d rather have a culinary school grad fixing dessert than a CIA agent!

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    3. CIA = Culinary Institute of America

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    4. Nora-Adrienne - Congrats, by random number draw, you have won our giveaway!

      Thanks to everyone for taking the time to enter our giveaway and leaving a comment. Keep watching this blog for your next chance to win and congrats again to Nora!

      xoxo

      ~ Cleo

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  13. It was one of those years - busy job, teenagers, husband - and I was frazzled but determined to have our big dinner on Thanksgiving. And then felt so proud of myself for deciding to auto-clean the oven right after dinner. How efficient, right? Until it caught on fire because I hadn't wiped all the extra grease out. Oh well, no harm and at least it happened AFTER we ate the turkey.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. I went to a New Year's Day party where the hostess accidentally turned on the auto-clean while the hors d'oeuvres were in the oven! And the door locks so you can't open it. I think a screwdriver was involved in solving the problem.

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  14. One year I invited everyone to our house for Thanksgiving but I swear I don't remember why I did such a dumb thing! Anyway, I was an audit secretary at an accounting firm & November was one of our busiest months so I decided to get the dinner from Randall's, one of the grocery stores in town. It sounded perfect. I don't like to cook but I wanted to have the family over anyway. The foil wrapped dishes from Randall's were popped into the oven in what would've been enough time had Randall's made it clear to me that everything was frozen! We eventually had a buffet dinner and my brother (God love him) told me it was the best dinner I never cooked. :)

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    1. Ooops--forgot my e-mail address: lnchudej@yahoo.com

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    2. The stuff of nightmares, right? Glad it turned out okay in the end.

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  15. Aw, food disasters! How entertaining...after the fact.
    1-My uncle usually took responsibility for watching the turkey (don't know why, since it was at our house). One year the bird came out looking fine, but when it was cut into it was obviously not cooked. Back to the oven while we enjoyed all the lovely side dishes. Turkey was dessert.
    2-Not at a holiday, but I have a challenge with puddings. For some reason I can cook and bake almost anything, but not homemade puddings. I made a chocolate pudding pie. It looked fine. Seemed to have set up nicely in the crust. But when I cut the first piece and transferred it to a plate, the plate ended up with a mostly empty pie crust on it with a trail of un-pudded filling from the pie to the plate. We almost hurt ourselves laughing.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    1. Libby, I love your opening line..."after the fact." How true! LOL And unpudded pudding? LOL ~ Daryl

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  16. Why do we laugh so hard at the misery of others?!! But I did laugh, mostly because I have had my own share of disasters - things that didn't turn out right or that flopped, cookie sheets dropped while taking them out, cakes that were (wrongly) set in the back window of the car (because it was more level) but fell when stopping quickly, a beautiful pie that met disaster at the hands of one of the kids with a sword, the list goes on and on! My mother-in-law had some of the worst disasters, but even those showcased her artistic hand! I will never forget her tapioca pudding that looked like milk with eyeballs floating in it. This is such a fun, fun post!!! Thanks to each one for sharing and for the laughs! lelandandbecky at reagan dot com

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    1. Becky, honestly? Milk with eyeballs floating in it? Perfect for Halloween :) ~ Daryl

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    2. Becky - Your list of mini disasters is hilarious. In my own experience, when kids and pets are involved, I can pretty much count on something going wrong! Thanks for the nice words and sharing with us today. xoxo - Cleo

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  17. After I got married, I was the self-appointed host of Thanksgiving dinner because I could cook all of my favorite foods. I decided to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in our new house with a Turkey from one of the best meat markets in town. The day before was preparation day, so I picked up the Turkey, and to my dismay is was frozen -- all 28 lbs of it. Blessedly, I had my "second mother" over to help me with the food prep, and she patiently put it in one side of the sink in to keep it in a warm water bath. It thawed out by morning in the refrigerator, so all was well. Also, thanks to second mom, the bag of giblets was removed -- I was clueless ~ bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Let's hear it for second moms or those in the kitchen who really do know what they're doing and can help! ~ Daryl

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  18. Three months after I married, I invited my new in-laws to our little rental house for Thanksgiving. It was about a 2 hour drive or so from where they lived. My MIL brought a dish of cornbread dressing to bake. We had bought a turkey at the store and I had defrosted it per the instructions. So when I unwrapped it to get it ready to roast I found out you can't always believe what you read. That sucker was still frozen inside. I couldn't even get the packets with the neck and the gizzards out. Dinner was hours late. My FIL kept saying you can't have rare poultry. He also declared the finished product delicious although by then everyone was so starved they'd have enjoyed hotdogs! In the years since we've shared holidays with family, good friends, and acquaintances at loose ends. It has evolved into a potluck for the most part. A semi-organized potluck.
    patdupuy@yahoo.com

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    1. They never seem to thaw as quickly as the package says, in my experience. Potlucks are the most fun, though, I think!

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  19. It was a few years ago and we were deep frying a turkey well I thought it should cook longer and my husband told me I didn't know what i was talking about everyone sat down and he carved to find out the turkey wasn't done so much to his embarrassment he put it back in and took it out so many times i wouldn;t eat any turkey others chanced it and I am sure it was good but it was just terrible to have others come over to a raw deep fried turkey. ptclayton2@aol.com

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    1. PT, I can imagine. A raw, deep-fried turkey. Hmm. And after you've cut it and then put it back, does that deep fry the insides? Hmm. I'm LOL'ing. ~ Daryl

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  20. I tried to bake a pie one thanksgiving. My husband is the pie baker in our house. Figured it could not be that difficult. Well, let’s just say it tasted awful. Good thing we had other pies my husband had baked so at least we got desert. I have left the pie baking to my husband permanently. I will stick with the main course.

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    1. I'll bet he was rather pleased to be back in charge. Nice to have a baker in the family.

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  21. I was cooking a turkey dinner in a tiny apartment for my mother and mother-in-law. I didn't realize that the turkey breast hadn't completely thawed, and it took FOREVER to cook. Probably two to three hours longer than I had planned. The rest of the dinner was delicious, though. aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

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  22. I make homemade applesauce every year. I always use the immersion blender to make it super smooth. The year in question I had added a bit too much cinnamon so the sauce was dark, still tasted great. When cleaning up my mother put the applesauce and the gravy together in one dish thinking that it was the same thing.

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    1. applesauce gravy < snort >
      I do love my immersion blender, but oh, the messes it can create!

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  23. It was quite a few ago. The guys on my floor turned our refrigerator into a freezer without telling me. i had a 20 lb turkey defrosting (I thought). I went to pull it out of the refrigerator the night B4 Thanksgiving to find it still frozen. It fell & I broke a toe. Needless to say I had an unscheduled trip to the dispensary, and had to coerce a friend to drive me 2 hours to the town I would be making Thanksgiving dinner for my fellow single service members. kckendler at gmail dot com

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  24. Wasn't expecting anyone for Thanksgiving dinner, everyone decided to stay home and cook for their own families So all I made was a pot of chili. Well, around dinner time the door opens and the whole families came waltzing in. They were about as surprised as I was..but I had a lot of chili so I could freeze some and we made peanut butter sandwiches to go with it and made banana splits for dessert. It was great fun and we all loved it...............terrysaunders29@hotmail.com

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  25. When I had company I heated up a salad and accidentally left a glass bowl on the stove. Boom , there was glass everywhere ��

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  26. The one & only time I cooked a turkey was okay. I opened the spice cabinet & smelled each one & if I liked the smell, I added some to the stuffing mix. Then I stuffed the bird & while cooking it kinda of expanded because I had really crammed it full. It almost but not quite blew apart. Even my Mother-in-Law liked how the stuffing tasted but when I told her how I added the spices, she just couldn't believe it. LOL doward19525(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  27. In the middle of cooking, there was an explosion at a gas company. Someone knocked on my door and said get OUT NOW! Your house is going to blow up! I turned to grab my kid and had to fight away from him because he was not going to let me go get her. I grabbed my daughter who was 2, and we ran to the top of the hill. As we were running, a manhole cover beside me blew at least 10 feet into the air by flames and was hoovering in place by the force of the fire. We stood coatless in the cold until the red cross arrived and drove us to a shelter. We were told that our homes and everything in them were going to explode and be gone, but we were safe and that was all that mattered. At about 9pm, a strong wind started to blow, and we were told we could go back as long as we opened all doors and windows in our houses and didnt stay in them until the gas had dissipated. The food was ruined because it had all sat out for hours.

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  28. oh and my email is cryle33@gmail.com

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  29. I have a problem. I can make decent food unless I’m making it fir someone new. Then it is sure to turn out wrong like the time I bought cilantro instead of parsley for my chicken and dumplings. I make pies every year. If there is a new guest then my pues are going to be less than perfect. It always happens.

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  30. I am also one who, like Leslie, is the youngest with older siblings, and now I live too far away to host a holiday gathering for them. I often host a friend or two during the holidays, so we can enjoy what we want, when we want, with little fuss. No major disasters have occurred, so far. Here's hoping the string continues! Thanks for the chance to win! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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    1. Those small gatherings can be simply delicious, can't they, Lori? Happy Holidays!

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  31. My holiday disaster was the first Thanksgiving my husband and I had our own place. We'd moved to a new city, and had invited his parents and grandmother up, which meant we were cooking. My mom told me the easiest way to make the turkey was to use one of those oven bags. Heaven only knows what possessed us to think those bags were super reinforced or something, but I held the bag our while my husband dropped the turkey down in it, with hindsight predictable results. The bottom of the bag ripped out, and the turkey plunked down on the floor. After much swearing and cursing, we decided the only thing we could do was rinse the turkey in the sink and carry on. NOT how I wanted the first Thanksgiving I hosted to go! But happily the turkey turned out wonderful, and the in-laws were none the wister.

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    1. Oh and my email is catherineltutt@gmail.com

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  32. No real holiday cooking disasters as I usually get to be a guest and take a dessert. However, there was a year when I was baking cookies to give as Christmas gifts and the kitchen timer chose that day to quit working. Since I was multitasking on other Christmas things, I didn't notice that the timer didn't go off until it was way too late. All those cookies went into the trash and I had to start from scratch. Would love to win the books & tote bag! Mary at mlduffer@att.net

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  33. I haven't had any holiday cooking disasters--the main cooking disasters I usually have are when I'm doing a new recipe and I need to cook the chicken or potatoes longer--I seem to have a hard time getting both of those items completely cooked. As for holiday disasters in general, they would all involve travel and cancelled or late flights due to weather. We work around people traveling, though. And like Daryl, when I'm cooking, I need my space in the kitchen--ideally it's just me and maybe one other person. I love it when everyone brings something and it really eases the pressure on the hostess, as long as there is good planning--a huge necessity for big holiday meals. Legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com.

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  34. The worst disaster I had was the year I put my Pyrex glass pan in the oven , forgetting to take it out of its decorative wicker basket ! Smoke started rolling out of the oven , I opened and realized the basket was on fire, had to use the fire extinguisher to put it out ! Needless to say we didn’t have sweet potato casserole that year ! kathambre@yahoo.com

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  35. my mother always had trouble cooking meat past medium rare. There was one time when we had lots of friends over and one couple was extremely late. we expected the meat to be a total loss by the time they came, even though I had turned down the oven at one point. Went to slice the meat, it was still barely medium rare. I don't know my mom's trick. she couldn't share. annefitza at yahoo dot com

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  36. Haven't had a Holiday cooking disasters yet. Maybe I shouldn't have said that because I will probably have one. lol

    pwtish171@gmail.com

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  37. Haven't had any true disasters in the kitchen, love your stories and I love the part in A Christmas Story when the dog steals the nicely roasted turkey and they end up eating at the Cantonese restaurant for Christmas dinner.
    emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com

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  38. My disaster was two years ago. It was to be my first Thanksgiving in my new house. I had baked the pies the night before and was getting ready to bake one of the snacks, when my oven started sizzling like someone lit a fuse. I yelled at Jax to run outside, but before we made it, there was a big POOF from the oven. The entire inside was covered in a white dust. My heating coil had burned itself out. I called and ran around trying to get a replacement but no luck. I called my mom sobbing and we moved Thanksgiving to her condo, which was rather crowded since it's so small, plus she was pissy at the unexpected intrusion. I was so upset we weren't going to be at the new house. Mark got a new part for the oven but it didn't arrive until Saturday after Thanksgiving, so that didn't help me. Not my best holiday. Kkcochran at hotmail dot com

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  39. I've never hosted a Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering. Nor have I been to a disasterous one either. Pretty boring if you ask me. nerdsrgood @ msn . com

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  40. I love the stories of other holiday disasters. I've never hosted my own family gathering, but have helped my mom over the years. One that comes to mind was actually at Easter...but still was funny. We sat down to eat dinner and it was delicious...ham, potato casserole veggies, jello salads, all the fixings except one. No one commented, but it seemed something was missing. When I went downstairs after dinner to get the desserts, I figured out what was missing...the deviled eggs!! They were sitting there pretty as could be...so I brought them up and we had an in between dinner and dessert treat of deviled eggs! We all had a good laugh and now that mom has passed, it is a good memory.

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  41. When my oldest (and first of his generation) turned 1, I had the entire family over for his birthday. Given the size of my husband's family, it was about 40 people. I made a turkey, a ton of side dishes and my mother-in-law made the cake. I was mortified when my husband's grandmother arrived, announced she knew I wouldn't have enough food and brought roast beef, a vegetable, a potato dish and cream puffs. We had leftovers of everything because, to her surprise, I did know how much food to make! I didn't mean to embarrass her, but somehow it was my fault. cheers at Marjimanor dot com.

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  42. The first year we had Thanksgiving in the house we just bought, the stove wasn't working properly all of a sudden. We had to kick it every so often to keep it on LOL Then, we were missing ingredients for the green bean casserole because my mother in law was in charge of that dish and forgot the cream of mushroom soup! So we just had boiled beans with crunchy onions on top! YUCK! njcar22@aol.com

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  43. When I was first married, I decided to host my husband's family Thanksgiving. I didn't know them well, but well enough to know they were very picky eaters. I cooked everything from the full turkey dinner to cold meat sandwiches from the deli. Believe it or not---his father still wouldn't touch the food----just a piece of pie. Plus each of them complained about something. Thank goodness I knew I couldn't handle having just inlaws in the house and had also invited my best friend, her husband, and her son. They were just as amazed as I was at the poor manners of his family. I never invited them again.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  44. I see some interesting and new authors! I don't really do any cooking for the holidays so I don't have a story to share. Knapp.MP@gmail.com

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  45. When I cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey we had guests over. The one guest was sad and missed her family. As we cut into the turkey we realized much to my embarrasment that I cooked the giblet package and didn't remove it. Our guest had a good laugh and it brought a smile to her face.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Nerry

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  46. I think I've pretty lucky with not having any major holiday disasters. There are always the small ones like my niece helping me make green bean casserole for the first time when she was like 4 and touching the dish and burning her hand. Nothing huge like no electricity :-)

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  47. My parents were downsizing from my childhood home and it ended up being Thanksgiving weekend. Being buys and tired we bought an already prepared meal from the local grocer. Mama put the turkey in the oven to warm and didn't take out the gizzard and the stuff stuffed in the neck. It started smoking and before we could get it out it had caught on fire. We got it put out and spend the rest of the evening cleaning. We ate the sides and had no turkey. We were too tired to care.

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  48. I dropped a platter of fried chicken on the floor! My new father in law said that's OK we'll still eat it! He loved it. I was so embarrassed!

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  49. The first time I cooked a roast, was when my parents were away for Christmas and I had invited a friend to spend a few days over the Christmas period. Not being used to juggling and timing on all the different items, some were under cooked, some were over cooked, and the roast parsnips were cremated! Since then I have learned to juggle the times and use a timer. Still don't get the Yorkshire pudding to rise like my dad use to. Oh well. lol

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  50. Well my holidays have not been that great. My parents pass away a number years ago. My husband and I have not lived together for sometime but last Christmas we were back together. This Christmas is our second together. But I still would like very much to entry to win those 4 books they are awesome. And that is all I want for Christmas is books I love these authors. I tell everyone that's what I want for holidays. That would be cool. Thank you.

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  51. Aw, I don’t have any holiday disaster stories! The closest I’ve got is one that *would* have been heart-breaking for my dad. I am not especially fond of turkey, so a week’s worth of turkey leftovers was way *too* much turkey for me (in a family of four, I’m the only one who felt that way). Anyway, one year, I’d managed to talk my dad (who *loved* turkey) into agreeing to cook a leg of lamb for Christmas dinner instead of a turkey. So, two weeks before Christmas Day, we sit down to discuss the menu and what he needed to buy for the big feast. There he is, with pad of paper & pen in hand, and he says, “First, a leg of lamb,” and then, without turning his head, he shifts his eyes to look at me, pen poised to write. If my dad ever had a puppy-dog look on his face, it was then & there. So, after a brief moment of contemplating that my much-loved daddy only got his much-loved turkey twice a year, I told him (with a heavy sigh), “All right, you can buy a turkey - but I am not eating turkey for the next week!” He happily agreed to my caveat (more turkey for him, that way) and rather excitedly & quite happily proceeded to write “turkey” on his shopping list. *eye roll* *wink* Oh, email address: book__wyrm@sbcglobal.net

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  52. My worst holiday disaster was definitely unavoidable. My parents and sister, and my husband's mother, brothers, sister-in-law, niece and nephew were all coming from out of town for Christmas at our house. Then the snow came. And came. And came. We had snow piled up to the eaves of our garage. There was a 20+ pound turkey in the oven. And all roads in and out of town were closed. We went from 14 to 4 for dinner. Want to hear about left overs?

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  53. Really enjoyed reading the "mishaps" For me. One year I misjudged the cooking time of the 25 lb turkey. Raw in the center. The next year, at the request of my hubby's mom. Tried to make a big custard. Electricity went out. So. In the morning. The electricity still out. I took the bowl of cooked rice out of the fridge and we poured the custard over the rice and. Enjoyed the rice cereal. She still swears she loved every bit of it. She had her custard. But. Reminds me I forget the nutmeg. Kind lady.
    Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

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  54. I loved all of your disasters, but I can't thinks of any problems I've had with Thanksgiving. Thanks for your great generosity. lindamay4852@yahoo.com

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  55. Enjoyed reading the disaster stories. Sharon - irish9795@Hotmail.com

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  56. Paula Jacobson
    I haven't had any holiday disasters with cooking, but once my husband and I had the tree all decorated. It looked so nice. Then the lights quite working. We had to take them off so we could return them. The tree didn't look the same after that. jsjacobson(at)prtel(dot)com

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  57. When our parents moved out of state, my sister and I were given the job of making the family Thanksgiving Dinner for about 20 people. We were having it at my house, but I did not have enough room for everything - so my sister took some of the food we bought to her house. She showed up at my house bright and early Thanksgiving morn with a frozen solid 25lb turkey! Needless to say it was a very late dinner! I do not think we will never live this down! Debbie (dot)Erickson14 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  58. 1st Thanksgiving married, 1963, parents coming. Frozen and stuffed Pepperidge Farm turkey. Opened directions and they were blank. To make a looong story short when parents arrived turkey was still frozen. This was the turkey mom made so she took over. Thank goodness for snacks - and beer - and wine! We played bridge for hours and ate at midnight.

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  59. My experience was not a holiday meal but the first time I had my father in law, brother in law (both single), my husband's sister, her husband and 3 kids, two of his uncles and 1 cousin dinner. Sister and family were 3 hrs late, the meatloaf ended up being dry, as a result. His two uncles and cousin took all the dinner rolls (I only made a dozen) sister and family refused to eat the pumpkin pie I made for dessert, instead choosing to eat my sister in law's cake. She had a big fit when I didn't have it on the dessert table but I had planned it for late afternoon's lunch. Jerry's brother in law fussed at me, because I wasn't watching their 3 kids who were all outside playing. It just wasn't a good experience. I never had all of them for dinner again. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

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    1. I forgot to mention that his grandmother was also present at this meal, coming with the two uncles and 1 cousin. they arrived at 7:30 am! Reason they gave was that since they had never traveled to our city before, they didn't know how long it would take, so they left early. Most people would have driven around town or had coffee at McDonalds. Instead they just decided it would be fine to arrive 3 hrs early! Oh and the excuse my sister in law and family gave for their late arrival was so bizarre, I never believed it.

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  60. My son brought his girlfriend over for the first time for a holiday dinner. I told him we were making a shrimp and fish dinner, all seafood. When they arrived, she told us she was allergic to seafood! Funny thing, my son knew, but never mentioned it. So embarrassing! minishoes(at)msn(dot)com

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  61. My worst was the dinner I made for our first anniversary. My Mother-in-Law suggested his favorite: roast port, sauerkraut and dumplings (she provided the recipe). The roast pork and sauerkraut were tasty, the dumplings were worse than gummy wall paper paste, totally inedible. I felt awful. Hubby gave me points for trying. Learned years later that she failed to include salt in the dumpling recipe. I haven't made an anniversary dinner since, but we've been married almost 40 years, so one meal didn't destroy our relationship. servedogmomATyahooDOTcom

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  62. Once one of the cats got into the living room and jumped over the Thanksgiving turkey. We were going to play a board game and eat. Luckily she didn't lick the turkey! I think I caught her in time. I threw her outside. Another time the oven quit so we weren't able to have dinner rolls, but at least we got turkey. We never have people over for Thanksgiving and my mother says she's too old to cook a full-size turkey. I could eat turkey for days. So now we just have a small turkey roast (like a Jennie-O) for Thanksgiving. It takes about 2 1/2 hrs. to cook. Gotta have my turkey!

    Cooking disasters, not holiday-related: Made buttermilk brownies once. They came out fine, I just hated the taste. The two tastes do not go together (buttermilk & chocolate) and I love brownies. A waste of ingredients. The other time was when I tried to make white chocolate crème brulee. It didn't set, but I ate it anyway! I think it was a Ghirardelli recipe.

    The books look great, especially Not a Creature Was Purring where the cat and dog are snuggling. I don't have any of them.

    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  63. I haven't really had much experience in holiday disasters. One year we had an ice storm that knocked out power and changed our Christmas plans. Also, the first year I was in my own apartment with my 2 cats (only about a year or two old at the time) pretty much destroyed the Christmas tree by the time Christmas Day arrived. I waited several years before attempting to put a tree up again. mcastor07(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  64. I have never prepared Thanksgiving dinner, it has always been my grandma or my mom. Now that mom is unable to do Thanksgiving dinner, we order ours from Knott's Berry Farm. Easy and delicious. vlhcats (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  65. I made an apple and cranberry pie for the first time last Thanksgiving. My mom Sat the pie right beside a metal bucket with ice. Well the condensation from the bucket leaked into my pie. We didn't know and couldn't figure out why my pie was so watery. Lol

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  66. The worst disaster wasn't the Thanksgiving when my kitten climbed into the turkey, but the Christmas my mom got out the beef tenderloins out of the refrigerator only to discover they had gone bad! She was upset (to say the least) while Dad and I tried to make the best of it. That was the year we had mashed potatoes and salad for Christmas dinner.

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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  67. I don't have a holiday disaster but my husband told me about a disaster for his family when he was a kid. Apparently it was Easter Sunday and the ham was all cooked and his mom left it sitting on the stove for just a minute. She turned around and the family dog had stood up and grabbed the ham in his mouth and took off. By the time they caught him, the ham was gone.

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  68. Love your tales of holiday woe, lol. I cannot really think of a disaster we had in our cooking. One year my father was in the hospital and my mother was staying there a lot so it was kind of up in the air what we would do for Thanksgiving. My mom made up a lot of the things the day before and I was in charge of everything else. Well my mother's friend a few houses up felt bad for us and sent her sons down with a few plates of their food. What do you say to people who are trying to help, but you have an ingrown fear of, lol. Me and my dog got out of the room, ;). kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

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  69. Those are all great! Well, you know what I mean. The one I can relate to most is Daryl's, I had a very narrow kitchen, it was perfect for me, but when the family came for the holidays and tried to help...it was a mess. Now I'm in much larger kitchen and all of a sudden they don't want to help, go figure. We'll see what happens this year. =) konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com

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  70. Last year I managed to over cook the eggs for deviled eggs. My dad loves my eggs because I use extra mustard and mayonnaise not miracle whip. We both like them a but more tart. I ended up making a lot of eggs lol. hcalhoun78@yahoo.com

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  71. We have had ham for Christmas for as long as I can remember. Usually it's just family, but one year we asked a friend to join us because she was alone. So we put the ham in the oven and somehow we cooked it too long, really, really too long. It turned out so dry there was nothing we could do to save it. We ended up eating the side dishes and dessert.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  72. I was 13 or 14 and my dad who usually cooked for Thanksgiving was ill. We 3 kids decided to do it ourselves though we had little actual cooking experience. My particular disaster of the many from that session was an attempt to make gravy. I tried to meticulously follow the instructions but it turned out very lumpy. My sister was horrified and left the kitchen to see if she could find a hint in a cookbook. Desperate to save the situation, I decided that since the rotary eggbeaters worked so well in getting cake batter smooth, surely it would work here too. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the batter I would beat was usually contained in a large, deep mixing bowl and not the shallow saucepan that held the gravy. Brown splashes and drips were decorating the wall and all nearby surfaces in short order. Then I heard my sister call, "It says if your gravy ends up lumpy, pour it through a sieve to remove the lumps before serving."
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  73. I am sure that over the years there must have been some disasters with food & cooking. But I really can't remember one. I think I must just block out and forget the bad things.

    Enjoyed reading y'all's disasters -- it is good to be able to laugh (after the fact).

    donna (dot) durnell (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

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  74. I know it might sound like much but one year I forgot the whip cream for the Pumpkin pie and for me that is something to cry over because you have to have whip cream on pie

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    1. Oops forgot mama2bulls@gmail(dot)com

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  75. One year while my mom was cooking Thanksgiving dinner she lost a dish towel. It went missing right after she stuffed the turkey. We patiently waited to see if it was inside the turkey but when we took the stuffing out it wasn't there. To this day we still have no idea what happened to that towel.

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  76. Onetime when I was making chicken with paprika the phone rang. Like an idiot, I tried talking and cooking at the same time. I didn't notice until it was way to late that I had put cayenne in instead of paprika. I can't understand why no one ate it....including me. seffichinchilla@outlook.com

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  77. Oh boy, I have the worst, I decided to cook the turkey in the rotisserie, stuffed an all. well lets just say there was no stuffing, since he shit him self. As it turned, you'd hear this plopping sound and by then I realized it, there was no stuffing stuffed in the Turkey, had to share photo.
    Jeannie Murphy iyi060157@aol.com

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  78. One year I decided to try a new way to cook the turkey and it was in a bag. It worked great the turkey looked perfect. I went to pull it out and the whole thing fell on the ground. I jumped and was not hurt. Would you believe that bag kept everything inside and all we had to do was pick it up and take it out of the bag. It was the craziest thing ever. I was teased for years about the bag saving Thanksgiving. deniseaustin59atyahoo.com

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  79. I've been Vegan for 5 years but I was Vegetarian for 34 years prior. At the time of my disaster, my husband and 6 of our eight children were omnivores. We've always had rescue pets and never really had any issues, but that year our one dog decided that he wanted to eat the turkey and most of what was surrounding it. The only things that were left for our Thanksgiving dinner or the vegetarian stuffing and mashed potatoes that was still on the stove. Funny how 6 of my eight children are now vegan or vegetarian!
    Cheers~
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  80. They all look great. (The books not your disasters LOL)
    I don't have any kitchen/cooking ones that I can think of right now.
    The only one I can think of is the year Our Fake Tree kept Falling Over. I mean like every night for 5 nights in a row. We just ended up leaning it almost laying down already so it wouldn't fall over again and getting a new one the following year.
    iamabho ATgmailDOTcom

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  81. Mine doesn't involve cooking, but it does involve the trip to my brother's house for Thanksgiving. It was a 3 1/2 hour drive to my brother's house. My (now ex) husband, myself and one of the dogs were making the trip. We stopped at our usual Pilot gas station for a potty break. Dog is now locked in the car. I go to use the restroom and as soon as I sit, I hear my keys fall into the toilet (they were in my back pocket). I stand up to grab them (toilet bowl still "clean") and WHOOSH, the fastest automatic flushing toilet ever. Bye Bye keys, on their way to the Pacific Ocean in record time. The employees made a valiant effort to try and find them but no such luck. Spare key was still at home, 99 miles away. Luckily, I had my phone which has an app to unlock my car (took me about 20 minutes to remember that little factoid so I could get the dog out for her potty break). On Star absolutely no help. My brother had to send his kids to come get us, then after Thanksgiving dinner he drove us home, we got the spare key and drove back to rescue my car. On the plus side, I still have the dog and the car and a story my brother's in-laws love to share again and again.....
    bowlingvet@gmail.com

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  82. Hours before we had to Christmas dinner my husband burst the gas main while replacing our mailbox and we had to evacuate the houses immediately around it until the gas company could repair it.
    Hsim3691@gmail.con

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  83. So far I haven't had any real diasters, but I have 22 people coming to my house for Thanksgiving and NOW I am worried :)
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com

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  84. No real disasters because either I am working and family brings us dinner at work or my sister cooked the meal. Thank you for the chance.
    Lamonicaks at gmail dot com

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  85. The night before Thanksgiving a few years back, I went to put the turkey in the sink to dethaw the rest of the way. I turned the water and and then went to the study while waiting for the sink to fill up. Well I ended up forgetting I had the water running, until 3 hrs later my boyfriend goes in the kitchen and its all flooded around the sink area :\ whoops! cmoonprincess2003@yahoo.com

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  86. Thanks for sharing all your stories! The true lesson is sounds like is that regardless of what "disasters" may happen enjoying and appreciating the people around you is all that matters. I can't wait to read your latest books keep writing, and I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season :)
    bcollin981(at)gmail(dot)com

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  87. Fortunately in all the years I've been married, I have never had to host Thanksgiving dinner. The fact that we've always had the smallest house on both sides of our family may have had a lot to do with that hehe. Did we do that on purpose when buying/building? Hmm, maybe subconsciously. Anyway so I've never had a kitchen disaster and I don't remember any from my mom or grandma so I'll just comment that I got a kick out of Daryl's stuffing disaster, it was kinda easy to picture! ;) Thank you ladies for this awesome giveaway! barbie17(at)gmail(dot)com

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  88. Thanksgiving morning. We have 2 overnight guests, plus 6 more coming for dinner. I'm up early and moving right along on the cooking, when the garbage disposal stops working, and the sink is full of gunk. First world problem, I know, but very frustrating never the less.

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  89. Growing up, Holidays meant traveling. Home and family were in the Albany, NY area and we were in Minnesota or North Carolina and even Connecticut. Traveling the Interstates often meant 50 car pile ups. Usually it was just a matter of long waits while cars untangled. I remember sitting and waiting and reading while Dad helped with the cars. I always had a box of books in the car and my Doberman to keep me warm. Sometimes I wished we didn't have to travel but I was always glad to be "Home". We moved home when I left elementary school so Holidays involved NY snow. In St. Paul it was cold and snowy through the season. In New York, it could be 50 one day and you could wake up to over two feet of snow. Road crews would plow the hills but it was a Holiday and travel meant chains and making your own path to get Gram. As I got older, I Married a man with a preschooler from a previous marriage. It was sometimes difficult dealing with so many families and their traditions, but aside from my oven mysteriously turning itself off and a pie ending upside down on the floor(the cats thought that was great) about the worst was the cat fight that happened over the turkey leg one cat grabbed and did not want to share. In my mind it was more about family than food but there still better be Turkey and pie(s)... dianetelford@hotmail.com

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  90. I loved your disasters stories! I don't have any good stories. The best story is about my grandmother would burn the bread rolls (which didn't taste good). So my sister and I would have to watch them bake through the oven window and pull them out before it was too late. myrifraf (at) gmail (dot) com

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  91. The first time i baked a turkey forgot to take out bag of giblets! Embarrassing!

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  92. Thanks for sharing! My disaster was a soufflé that refused to set. I think we ended up getting pizza. Dm_richards (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  93. Lately its not just holidays for disasters. I am always forgetting an ingredient or putting too much in when I cook. Luckily some have still tasted good. sclickner at juno dot com

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  94. Entry courtesy Thanksgiving 2016! As my BFF was landing at LaGuardia to spend Thanksgiving with us, my four-year-old came down with Norovirus, which had been going around her school. I handed my husband my phone, told him, "I'll see you on the other side," and sat up all night with my poor kiddo, who threw up half a dozen times. (Nearly everything for Thanksgiving, except the turkey, had been made ahead of time and was neatly arranged in the fridge, so I thought we still had a snowball's chance of having a good Thanksgiving.)

    Next day, I came down with Norovirus but rallied to attend "Hamilton" with my friend that night. After the show, we stopped at a CVS so I could stock up on Pepto; BFF bought a giant bag of gummi bears and a Diet Coke. I eyed her warily. "I don't think that's such a great idea..." I mumbled.

    That night, Norovirus claimed Victim #3, my friend. The next day was Thanksgiving. I have zero memory of it, other than staring at a table groaning with turkey etc. for the five of us and thinking, "NOPE NOPE NOPE." Those who'd been sick already opted for chicken broth. My husband happily sampled everything, and then hit the couch until later that night, when boom! Victim #4!

    Spouse and my BFF spend the next two days clutching their stomachs and sleeping (in bed and on our couch, respectively) while I mustered the strength to deal with a four-year-old with the energy of fifteen feral cats.

    We're ordering Chinese delivery for Thanksgiving, this year.

    Email is erin dot slattery at gmail dot com.

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  95. One year my husband was helping the day before Thanksgiving to get things that could be gotten ready early ready. I was making homemade bread stuffing. Since we had limited space in the refrigerator I always put the stuffing back into the bread bag and put it in the baking dish the next day. When I got the bag out to put the stuffing in the dish I smelled this strong coffee smell. My husband had put the coffee grounds into the bag and not knowing that he did I put the stuffing in the same bag. We didn't have stuffing for Thanksgiving that year.
    im2early4u(at)gmail(dot)com

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  96. One Thanksgiving I put the pumpkin pie on the counter to cool. A little while later I went into the kitchen to find the cat sitting on the pie.
    Another year my mother in law brought the pies. Due to limited space in the fridge we put them in the deck. Unfortunately someone let the dog out. Enough said.
    Peabody51@aol.com

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  97. I remember one Christmas a few years ago where the issue wasn't with the food, it was with an illness. My mom ended up sick a few days before Christmas. She was taking care of it and trying to get better before the big day when we would go over to my aunt and uncle's to celebrate. Well, Christmas Eve came and she had been feeling somewhat better. She went to bed, and proceeded to sleep, and sleep, and sleep. I waited until about noon to call and tell them we wouldn't be coming. I spent the rest of the day trying to come up with something a little celebratory for me to eat, trying to see if there was anything she COULD eat, and debating whether or not I needed to call an ambulance. I didn't, but I don't think we actually got around to celebrating (even with just the two of us) until about 3 days later.

    The next year it was my turn to be sick at Christmas. :)

    Hopefully neither scenario will play out again this year.

    Thanks for sharing the amusing stories. robbfan141729(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  98. My holiday disaster doesn't have anything to do with food and everything to do with my ex mother-in-law. We were planning on going to some place or event (thankfully enough time has passed that I don't totally remember) and when I came down the stairs fully dressed and ready to go, she looked at me and said "We're leaving in 5 minutes. You need to get back upstairs to change into something more appropriate." Needless to say, the day and holiday spirit was completely ruined. If I remember correctly, I didn't spend another holiday with them. Thank you for sharing your stories. smmolloy1105@yahoo.com

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  99. I don't remember any real holiday disasters but it has been very interesting reading about everyone else's!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  100. Thanks to EVERYONE for participating in our Holiday Disasters discussion! We all thoroughly enjoyed your comments and truly appreciate the time you took to share with us "Around the Kitchen Table."

    The contest is now closed, and we've randomly drawn a winner. Congratulations to...

    Nora-Adrienne!

    Enjoy your prizes Nora, and we hope all of you have a lovely disaster-free holiday season!

    xoxox

    ~ Cleo

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