Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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The intersection of cooking and fiction

Always a fun topic for those of us who are into both fantasy and cooking, right?

Here’s a post by Patricia McKillip over at tor.com: Gingerbread Bricks, Cherry-Eating Cats, and Other Culinary Disasters

My most vivid cooking memory, even after so many years, is setting my brother on fire with my Cherries Jubilee.

Yes, we’ve all been there, I’m sure.

My favorite “disaster” in McKillip’s post is the cherry-eating cat, and let me say, what odd tastes that creature had. I would have handled the problem in precisely the same way McKillip did, I’m sure.

My own most memorable cooking disaster . . . this was many many years ago and yet we still remember it . . . was putting a tablespoon of salt in pancake batter rather than a teaspoon. Oops! After that I was very clear about which was which. I suppose I must have been about eight or something. My family ate pancakes for breakfast for quite a while after adding enough of the rest of the ingredients to triple the recipe and bring the salt down to tolerable levels.

The first time I made yeast bread by myself, I didn’t realize you’re supposed to let it rise twice. Wow, was that loaf heavy. Dense as a neutron star, practically.

The first time I made white bean chili, I had NO IDEA how much chili you would wind up with if you started with a full pound of dry white beans. Let me tell you, that is enough chili to last all winter. Not a disaster, but still.

How about the rest of you? What’s your favorite memory of a kitchen mishap?

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10 Comments The intersection of cooking and fiction

  1. Pete Mack

    Well, I never had a problem with too many beans. Rice, on the other hand, has proved a problem in the past. Too much rice in soup, turning it to glue. Forgot rice on high, setting it on fire… twice!

  2. mona

    One Thanksgiving not so long ago, I turned mashed potatoes into potato soup (I was in a rush and accidentally added all the reserved liquid instead of just enough). It wouldn’t have been so bad, except the entire meal everyone kept mentioning how tasty it was in a misguided attempt to console me :/

    But I think the success of the individual chocolate souffles later that evening quite eclipsed that mishap.

  3. Elaine T

    I ran mashed potatoes through a food processor instead of whipping them. Instant glue.

    Also one of my first yeast bread baking attempts I didn’t realize the yeast was mostly dead. Very very dense loaf. After that I learned to proof it before doing anything else.

  4. Rachel

    You are all making me laugh! I’m not sure what leaving eggs out of cookies would do . . . flat crisp cookies? Crumbly cookies?

    I have forgotten to put baking powder in biscuits MORE THAN ONCE. Wow, that gives you a whole different biscuit experience.

    But I have never actually *set rice on fire.*

    Mona, there are times you have to accept on faith that the potato soup is in fact quite tasty. But I’m glad you had souffles lined up as well!

    Elaine, yes, I’ve heard that the food processor is not a friend to mashed potatoes. At least I bet the dogs would have helped me dispose of the evidence if I’d made that mistake.

  5. Pete Mack

    Well just last night I forgot to put water in the crumble for the apple crisp. Then I remembered halfway through, added the water late. Never fully crisped, and apples are soggy because I had to cook it longer. Before that, I didn’t think it was possible to get it wrong, except possibly by using sweet apples.

  6. Heidi Donofrio

    Oh Rachel, have you heard of Voracious by Cara Nicoletti? I haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet myself but I very much want to. It’s all about the intersection of books and cooking…this post just made me think of it. I’m always wanting to try the things I’m reading about.

    I had any number of cooking disasters growing up. There was the time in home ec. when I misread the recipe for pineapple upside down cake and put in 3 cups instead of 1/3 and couldn’t understand why my cherries were floating. We ended up daring a classmate to eat it anyway, and he did scoring at least $1 (7th graders don’t take a lot of incentive). Then there was the time my best friend and I decided to make fortune cookies…we put so much butter in you could literally squeeze the dough in your hand and butter would drip out between your fingers. We had fun writing fortunes to put inside, but failed to mention this to her father who commented on the ‘nut’ in the middle. Whoops. Turns out you’re not supposed to bake them in…

    ANYWAY, wanted to drop by and say hi! It’s a goal this year to get back to reading and chatting with the blogs/writers I love.

  7. Rachel

    Heidi, no, but now I must look it up immediately!

    Both your stories made me laugh! Especially the butter!

    And I bet you’re busy, but let me know if you start blogging again cause I’d definitely drop by.

  8. Maureen E

    Not mine but my mom’s–in her teenage years, she made a fancy batch of doughnuts for Girl Scouts, set the tray on the open oven door, the dog (a dachschund) snuck in and ate a good 3/4 of them before being caught!

  9. Rachel

    Hah hah hah! That would never happen at MY house!

    Actually, not quite the same, but last fall I came home and said to myself, What are those two youngsters playing tug of war with? And it was the empty bag that used to be full of almond m&ms, which they’d managed somehow to get off the kitchen island. After I got done laughing, I quickly calculated that no one could possibly have gotten enough chocolate to matter…and made a mental note to shove stuff back farther from the edge of the island.

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