Okay people. I have hereby dubbed 2012 THEE year of recipe disasters. I mean, it was bad.

2010 was… whatever.

2011 was sort of rough.

This year. Ouch.

More failed recipes came out of my kitchen in the last 12 months than ever before. I don’t know if I attribute that to my increasing comfort level in the kitchen (read: oh, I don’t have to measure anything ever. EVER.) or my ambitiousness and desire to try new things. But I’m going to go ahead and say both. Yeah, and some of them came from utter laziness, desperation and just plain hunger.

Seriously? Some weeks I was busting out four or five fails in a row. Do you want to hear about them? Probably not. But guess whaaaaaat? I’m telling you anyway.

So.

Last January, I tried to make a chocolate peanut butter sheet cake. Um, it was disgusting. Like barely any flavor. I also think I burnt the peanut butter while melting, then decided to use it anyway. Have you ever tried burnt peanut butter? Please don’t. Anyway, this obviously did not stop me from going at this cake with a fork a few times. I live a sad life.

 

Moving on.

I tried to make some sort of chicken in a green-chili-this-looks-absolutely-horrific sauce. I have no idea what I was doing. It was terrible. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

Wait. Maybe I would.

 

In the Spring I went on a serious blue corn chip kick. If you are asking yourself how this is different from my everyday life… you are correct. It’s not. Except at this point I was so obsessed that I was putting blue corn everything in my food. EVERYTHING.

Example #1… blue corn cakes. Not so good. Pretty hideous. Also an unpictured fail, blueberry butter. I was lazy and used frozen blueberries which ended up making the butter transform into dark purple separated water. Awesome.

 

Example #2… blue corn chip crusted chicken fingers. Not as good as you would think. Was hopeful it would be as fabulous as salt and vinegar crusted fish. It was not. See also: totally unappealing pictures of bluish-purple-brownish chicken.

 

Apparently, fails came in twos this year. Or else I was just super forgetful. Probably that second one.

I tried to make some lavender cinnamon rolls covered in chocolate ganache, and oh gosh… barf. So awful. It wasn’t so much the chocolate + lavender combo that turned me off (that’s sort of fab) as it was the horrendous whole wheat cinnamon rolls that I attempted. Certain things should not be made with whole wheat flour. Cinnamon rolls are one of them.

 

But, didn’t learn my lesson and tried making whole wheat apple cider cinnamon rolls later this year. The best part is that these pictures? They are the THIRD failed batch.

Um, what’s the definition of insanity? My picture will probably be directly underneath.

 

Let’s see. How not to cook shrimp:

Do not: try to make a lightened up version of sweet and sour shrimp and end up with rubbery pieces that taste only of soy sauce and vinegar. Like a lot of it. Like this shrimp took a six hour bath in vinegar. Hate.

 

This mango coconut chicken was good in theory but extremely bland in taste…

… and covered in electric yellow mango sauce. Gross. Acidic. It might sound good, but just… no.

 

OH wait!! Let me show you what my life looks like every week.

Yeah. That.

 

But sometimes, they do turn out… sort of. Or not.

In September, I made chocolate cupcakes and some of the worst pumpkin buttercream I’ve ever laid eyes on. Coming in at a close second are my decorating skills which were quite pathetic. I still don’t have any patience.

 

Remember when I made those glazed donut holes that I OMGlovedsomuch?

This is what I did to the first batch. Like little lumps of coal. How tasty.

 

And only two nights ago, I tried to recreate my grandmother’s orange cookies at, like, midnight and, well… that didn’t turn out.

At all. Cookies. Those are supposed to be COOKIES.

 

So…yeah.

This is probably about an eighth of the disasters that came out of my kitchen, but I guess we can say that these are some of my favorites. At least some of my favorites that I took the time to photograph instead of throwing an all-out tantrum and pitching a fit. Even if I’m full-blown meltdown Jessica at the time, looking back I sort of appreciate these failures because I assume I must learn SOMETHING at the time. Right? And you know, that sounds sort of mature. Or old. Maybe I’m growing up or something? I don’t know. I hope not.

Here’s to much more patience in 2013.

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144 Responses to “Recipe Disasters of 2012.”

  1. #
    101
    Lorrie — December 28, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

    I feel your pain. My downfall this year was all those tempting Pinterest pictures. Hint: Not everything tastes as good as it looks. My family of six that used to dive into any of my new meals has now become gun-shy.

    Reply

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    Rochester Wedding Photographer — December 29, 2012 @ 1:03 am

    I like your blog.Your each post contains good stuff,worth reading.

    Reply

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    Katie @ Oh Shine On — December 29, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    This post for me is like Christmas every year. No, I take pride in your failures… More so just the idea that you are hilarious.

    Reply

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    Natasha O — December 29, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    This is pretty much the most awesome post of 2012. You never cease to pleasurably surprise your readers, Jessica. ;)

    Reply

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    SHAUNA — December 29, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    OMG…. I am crying laughing right now!! This post was hilarious! I came upon your blog this morning via Tasty Kitchen Blog…. Can’t wait to read more of your culinary adventures :)

    Reply

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    Megan — December 29, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    Very funny! I’ve felt your pain before! Especially last week when I tried making risotto with vinegar because I ran out of wine( I knew it was stupid before I did it,but I did it anyway) my dogs loved it….me and hubby ate Cheerios : )

    Reply

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    Laura — December 29, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

    Loved this! I always wonder if every recipe you make turns out perfect, and now I know the truth! :)

    Reply

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    Iowa Foodie — December 30, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

    This was such a GREAT post! Had a good laugh and not at you, but with you, I also have all sorts of cooking disasters throughout the year and at the time they are NOT funny, so my family just bites their tongues and life goes on, but to look back and be able to laugh at them is the best part! I have to remember to photograph my flops!! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful non-flops and the funnies too!

    Reply

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    jeri — December 30, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing…weve all been there. I finally got a slow cooker this summer when I couldn’t bear to turn on my stove in the heat. Who knew they would create so much liquid? I now put a baking sheet underneath, just in case.

    Reply

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    Kelley — December 31, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    I always love all of your blog posts, but this one made me laugh out loud (in a public wifi cafe)! Thank you for sharing all the beautiful pictures of beautiful food that has inspired me all year. And, thanks for sharing the less beautiful food that encourages me to recover from my own cooking failures! Looking forward to some more awesome cooking in 2013!

    Reply

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    bridget {bake at 350} — December 31, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    I love this post so much…and you. Love you!

    Reply

  12. #
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    nick p — January 1, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

    it’s nice to know i’m not the only one who screws up, hahaha. and i can’t decorate a cupcake to a save a life

    Reply

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    Alyson — January 1, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

    Great post to show that even a good cook can make mistakes! People shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with food! If it doesn’t taste good, just throw it out and try something else! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    Kelly — January 2, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

    I think it goes without saying that if you take bigger risks you’ll get bigger wins and also bigger failures. I forget what the exact quote is but I remember reading somewhere that if you never fail you’re not taking enough risks. I think all the recipes on your site that did work out speak for themselves and show that all the experimentation is worth it! I’m sure if a major food magazine or chef shared their failures the list would be even longer. Heck, Top Chef episodes are proof.

    Reply

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    Lyndsey — January 3, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    That’s life! :)

    Reply

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    Karielyn — January 3, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

    I love this! Not that you had recipe fails, of course, but because I feel your pain! I have gone through the exact same thing. The words “recipe fail” has been said in my kitchen many times this past year. Thanks for sharing! : )

    Reply

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    Judy — January 3, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

    This post makes me love you.

    I’m an occasional follower of your blog (ie, you’re on my google reader and when I get bored, I check to see if there are any good recipes out). but this makes me want to be your friend!

    As a faithful pinterest pinner, you get to a point where you think every food blogger is perfect and HOW DO THEY HAVE THAT MUCH TIME TO PIPE ICING ON THE DAMN CUPCAKE SO PERFECT. It’s so refreshing to see a blogger that has as many epic fails in the kitchen as me.

    So thank you. You’ve restored my faith in humanity (or my sanity).

    Reply

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    Meredith — January 4, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    Oh thank you, Jesus. If I had to read another food blogger’s “My Best Recipes of 2012″ recap I was going to poke my eyes out. Your refreshing and hilarious disasters of 2012 is so much better! Bless you.

    Reply

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    Ell Gee — January 4, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

    Loved this post! It sucks to waste time, money, and energy on food that comes out bad, but in a sick way, it’s kind of reassuring to know that behind all your gorgeous recipes/photos there’s also some cooking fails!

    My fails this year actually included one of your recipes–the jalepeno burger. Maybe my first time deglazing should have been something other than jalapeno peppers and tequila, because everything burned right away, my house was instantly FILLED with super-throat-scorching smoke, and it tasted like smoke on a bun.

    And is it just me, or do the meals that come out bad stick in everyone’s mind more than the decent/good ones? My husband still won’t shut up about my awful attempt at spaghetti squash a few months ago.

    Reply

  20. #
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    Sugar Baby — January 6, 2013 @ 3:10 am

    I absolutely LOVE that you posted this! It’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one with baking/cooking failures. :-)

    Reply

  21. #
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    Heather Melick — January 6, 2013 @ 11:14 am

    I feel so much better about myself now. Seriously.

    Reply

  22. #
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    Denise — January 7, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

    This post made me laugh so hard! I can totally commiserate with you on failures. Maybe I should start photographing mine too? And the decorating thing? I am hopeless. I made drunk gingerbread men (with Kahlua) this Christmas and they seriously looked like they were decorated BY a drunk person. Which I wished I was as soon as I started trying to put their little faces on.

    Reply

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    Nancy — January 10, 2013 @ 12:09 am

    Thanks for the laughs and honesty!! It is refreshing to see what did not work and the humor you can bring to it!

    Reply

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    Salena of The Daily Rant — January 12, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

    This post was great! This is the first time I’ve been to your blog (found you via Purr Design) but I’ve looked through several posts and the title of his one caught my eye.

    On most food blogs, you only see the fabulous pictures with the foolproof recipe. No one ever shows their screw-ups. This was like the blooper reel of a movie. And who doesn’t love to see the bloopers??

    Great post idea. Great blog. Yummy food!

    Reply

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    Tricia — January 14, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    Hilarious! I love hearing about when recipes go wrong, even better when there are photos.

    Reply

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    Sierra — January 24, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

    You give me hope because I just had the WORST disaster ever. I had been drooling all over Momofuku Milk Bar’s Cornflake cookies and decided to have a go. I went and bought all the stuff, waited till my 8 month old was sleeping-spent his entire 2 hour nap making these cookies, and flippin’ read the recipe wrong and only added 1/2 the damn butter. I should have known better when it wasn’t whipping…but I am still pretty new to using a stand mixer, and to baking for that matter. I make the first 6 and they all tuned out rock hard-really sweet-and really disappointing. Then I realized I had forgot the butter so I added it to the batch I had already rolled and put in the fridge by blitzing it in the blender…and those turned out flat, greasy, and literally gave me a tummy ache because I HAD to eat one. Horrible. Now I still have a 1/2 a batch uncooked in the fridge and I need help figuring out what to do. Use it as crust? add it to another recipe?? It just took so long to make in the first place. Booo! Anyways, thanks for giving me hope. I appreciated reading this today,
    :)
    Sierra

    Reply

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    Laura — January 29, 2013 @ 3:46 pm
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    sigi — February 1, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    Thanks for the honesty! It cheers me to know that not everything comes out picture- nor taste bud- perfect. Makes it real! Like at my house!

    Reply

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    Ineke — September 11, 2013 @ 11:09 am

    Thanks, just had a great laugh. Really brightened up my day….. A great reminder to not take our self so serious all the time. Laugh about mistakes, or even share them with the world :)))

    Reply

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    Princess-TaLaiah — October 9, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

    Amazing!!!! You are awesome for sharing your disasters with us :) I just found your blog today while searching “honey dijon chicken” on Google. I LOVE that you discovered how to make the chicken brown & crispy by drying it. Amazing, again! That’s clearly not obvious to all of us.
    Congratulations on your book coming out soon!!!

    Reply

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    Lauren — November 20, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

    This is my life.. You just made me so happy with this post. I think I might love you.

    Keep cooking! Your amazing recipes, when I don’t butcher them, make it onto my menus almost weekly! Love seeing what you come up with.

    I’m a fan :)

    Reply

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    Sonya — February 11, 2014 @ 11:05 pm

    You are a very talented writer! I read about you here (http://www.bustle.com/articles/11506-10-food-blogs-to-teach-you-how-to-cook-in-2014/5) and am glad I found your blog!

    Reply

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    Coco in the Kitchen — March 7, 2014 @ 6:17 am

    The fact that you took the time to snap and document your disasters is just so impressive. I just cover my eyes, dump the whole lot into the trash and pretend it never happened!

    Reply

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    Rachel @ The Creole Woman — March 8, 2014 @ 11:31 pm

    This made me laugh so much! I just love the fact that you are HUMAN and are not afraid to show some of your failures. I too have had some fails and always wonder if I am the only one. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

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