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Food for Thought: When it all goes wrong

Nancy's husband Mac with an "Armenian pizza" that didn't quite work out.

With all the newly motivated home cooking going on these days, it's safe to say there’s more home cooking fails than ever before. If some of your kitchen trials have turned out to be errors, take heart. Even experienced cooks have plenty of stories on recipes gone wrrrrrrrong.

This week Nancy Leson and I play a perversely prideful game of "Can You Top This?" with our own tales of stovetop nosedives.

Nance had the burger, but not the buns. Motivated by my own fabulous success with homemade hot dog buns, she tried a potato dinner roll recipe she thought would work out perfectly for cheeseburgers. It didn’t. Oh sure they looked great but...

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX
Nancy: “They were blah. No flavor, no texture. They were supposed to be light. They weren’t.”

Worse yet was husband Mac’s excursion into Lamajoon, aka Armenian pizza. Nance says “I’ve never seen him so excited about a recipe” but you can see the results above. Nancy reports that after their six-hour process, “Mac said it was like cat food on toast.”

My entry was an attempt at Westphalian Pumpernickel.  This is a loaf made as it has been since the 1500s with only rye meal, water and salt. It bakes for 24 hours at 220 degrees, then rests wrapped for another two days. My attempt turned out a bit…dense. The bread knife couldn’t even scratch it. The thing actually snapped a hacksaw blade.

I’m sure I must have missed a turn somewhere in the instructions, so I’m trying again and will report results next week.

So what’s gone really wrong in your kitchen?  Don’t be shy.

“Murphy never sleeps.” – Mrs. Murphy

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.