Don't do this


Never freeze a quart of eggnog for use in future baking. Arrrgg.

Feel free to add your own "don't" here.

This ought to make for some lively discussion, doncha think?

badge posted by: frick on March 06, 2011 at 6:46 pm in General discussions
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reply by: irishcoleen on March 06, 2011 at 7:05 pm

I don't currently have one (I try to block those out of my memory!) but I just have to ask: what happened to it?

reply by: frick on March 06, 2011 at 7:16 pm

It seems to be fine. It's just that I had to try to partially thaw it (the outside mostly), then shave off enough with a cleaver to amount to the one cup I need, plus quickly chop and refreeze the rest before it completely thaws. Moral: Never mention 'freeze something' to certain men I know.

I have run across three new poundcake recipes and that's two too many for even this family. How to choose between Brown Sugar, Ricotta and Eggnog? The eggnog version in in the making.

By the way, whole milk ricotta certainly is expensive.

reply by: omaria on March 06, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Don't ever think lemon curd (Or any other curd) is similar to other fruit preparation. I made 8 little jars of curd and thought I needed to make sure this would last for a long time. So I put them in a hot water canner and let them boil in there for about 10 minutes. BIG MISTAKE !! I had lemon soup in the pan and the jars were half empty.

reply by: pjh on March 06, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Hit the "go" switch on a tilt-head stand mixer when the beater paddle is dripping chocolate cake batter - and the head is tilted up. DOH. Chocolate EVERYWHERE - walls, appliances, my new red wool vest (what was I thinking, wearing a red wool vest in the test kitchen...); into the silverware drawer... onto the first aid kit, the oven door. Floor. My face. Just did this last week. I laughed... eventually.

And - this wasn't me, but one of our readers. And I bet it wasn't really funny at the time, but in retrospect - I always laugh when I think of the scene... Teaching the kids how to twirl pizza crust by flipping it up into the air over your head and catching it. One problem: forgot the ceiling fan was on. Pizza crust + whirling ceiling fan = well, that's why I chuckle, thinking of mom and the kids standing there, open-mouthed, while pizza dough missiles rocket around the kitchen...

reply by: chiara on March 06, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Don't ever put a bottle of wine in the freezer for a few minutes to chill it. If you forget about it, it will freeze and explode a zillion little glass shards all through all your other frozen foods. (I didn't do this because my mother did it ALL THE TIME! You'd have thought she would have learned...!)

reply by: irishcoleen on March 06, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I learned the hard way - make small containers so you only have to thaw one item. I chipped away at a quart of cream (mangling the paper container) and then did what you did. Waited until some had thawed and poured it off trying to make sure I could get it back in the freezer before more of it thawed. Did not go well.

reply by: irishcoleen on March 06, 2011 at 8:08 pm

My teenage son did this one:

The recipe said to put in blender and stir while blending. This is a smoothie with lots of berries including blueberries. The blender ended up with splinters of a wooden spoon and much of the smoothie all over the kitchen.

I got a sheepish look when I asked why there were purple spots all over the kitchen. He thought he cleaned it all up but he did the "teenager" clean. Poor kid - he didn't want to admit that he'd done something so obviously silly.

Since he is 6'9" I made him clean the ceiling LOL!

reply by: annee on March 06, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Never put liquid dish soap in the dishwasher. Did I mention bubbles lots and lots of Bubbles spewing out of the dishwashers closed door.

reply by: beachdee on March 07, 2011 at 1:22 am

Oh this is a great thread, frick! Oh-oh, I better think of one of those things so you won't be thinking I want you to all think I'm too perfect to have done such things (did you follow that?). I like the idea that, they've been blanked from my memory...cuz I KNOW I'm not perfect!

ooh, ooh, okay, here's one. How about -- DON'T put the nachos under the broiler and then get distracted so that the cheese catches on fire?

And then to make it worse, pull the baking sheet out and dump it upside down in the sink, so that the flames now are protected from the water faucet, and lick up around the edges? Har har.
Oh yes, and have the alarm system smoke detector go off so the DH has to call and tell them not to send the fire engines.

Oh yes, and to add insult to injury, as if it wouldn't be embarrassing enough in front of DH, we had one of our exchange daughters with us at the time. Not one of my better evenings, but we managed to laugh it off once we got the flames out, realized the house wasn't going to burn down, and could get the kitchen aired out. PEW!! Burnt nachos smoke is NASTY!!

reply by: Midnite Baker on March 07, 2011 at 2:08 am
Midnite Baker

Okay, late one winter evening, I decided to boil some water for tea. I used an enamel tea pot on my electric stove. Well, I forgot I had water boiling on the stove. It evaporated and since I had the unit on high, the tea pot really got HOT! I, finally, remembered I had water boiling but, when I got there the bottom of the pot was red hot. I turned off the heat, went to pull the pot off the element and strings of enamel followed the pot. I ran the hot tea pot outside and stuck it in the snow bank. It kind of sizzled. I, then, grabbed a metal scraper and scraped off the enamel as best I could, but never got it all off. And I lost my tea pot too. Having the enamel stain on my stove, was always a reminder never to forget boiling water again.

Then my son, he was 10 at the time, decided he wanted some hot dogs to eat. He put them in a 1 qt pan with some water and turned on the electric stove. (I don't know the temp.) One of his friends stopped by the house and they decided to go for a bike ride. About a half hour later, he remembered his hot dogs on the stove. OOPS!! He gets home, the kitchen is smokey, his hot dogs are burnt to a crisp, along with the pan. Luckily, it was summer, so he had an easy job of airing out the house. And the pan still gets used today as my steam pan for bread baking. My son is now 31. Someday, I'm going to gift him the old burnt pan. :) LOL!! These are my big DON'T DO's!!

reply by: lsb on March 07, 2011 at 1:33 pm

What a great thread! Thanks for all the laughs.

reply by: KAF_Keri on March 07, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Don't pretend to throw yogurt on your sister. The lid won't be strong enough to contain the extra force and you'll end up with yogurt all over the kitchen cabinets, and a sister laughing at you while you clean it all up.

And don't try making popovers in a new gas oven in your landlord's house without putting something under the muffin tin just in case. You will walk out of the room and hear a strange beeping noise 10 minutes later. You'll think to yourself, "I didn't think I used a timer..." but it will really be the popover batter leaking all over the oven and catching fire. The house will be filled with smoke, and you will spend the next three days while the landlord is out of town trying to clean everything and get rid of the smell.

reply by: kathiann on March 07, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Well I have had splinters in a pina colada, but I can't even blame it on a kid.

I never had anyone 'teach' me how to cook, so most has been learned the hard way. {BTW this is another reason why I love KAF} So when my new mother-in-law gave me a recipe, but no instructions, for ice cream. I gathered all the ingredients, which at that time in our lives was a pretty pricey endevor, and dumped them in the ice cream maker. It took one bite to know it wasn't like momma's. I couldn't figure out what the hard pieces in it were. Turns out it was stings and chunks of frozen raw egg bits all through it. The money I had spent was all wasted and I just started to cry. My dear hubby finally got through the entire tub, but didn't ask for homemade ice cream for years. Of course, this is now the family joke and I can laugh when the recipes tell you not to use raw eggs.

I also remember in early 70's when microwaves were just coming to the public. My dad had finished re-doing the kitchen and put one in, then grandma came to visit. Her and my mom made baked potatoes all wrapped up in foil and couldn't wait for 15 minutes to see the new contraption work. I can still see the sparks arcing. Did I mention no one ever taught me to cook? It was many years before we ever got a replacement.

Thanks for the smile this afternoon.

reply by: mumpy on March 07, 2011 at 6:23 pm

don't struggle with the cap on a brand new bottle of extract while standing close to the (running, of course) mixer.....the cap flew in one direction, the extract flew in another - towards the mixer bowl with an accuracy that would be the envy of any rocket scientist...and trust me on this....NOTHING is improved by approximately 3 tablespoons of almond extreact.

reply by: Naughtysquirrel on March 07, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I too, love this thread - I'll have to give some serious thought to which faux pas I will share....NS

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on March 08, 2011 at 12:33 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

Don't ever try to freeze shredded zucchini. Strings and water do not a good zucchini cake make.

Whatever you do, as soon as that rocker on the pressure cooker starts to rock, run, do not walk, to the stove and turn it down. Trust me, cleaning turkey barley soup off the 11' high plaster lathe ceilings and walls and the other wall and the top of the fridge and every other surface in a 10' radius is NO FUN.

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on March 08, 2011 at 12:38 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen


(For the under 50 crowd, that's an I Love Lucy reference. Google it. All will be revealed)

LOL! You look like you might be a redhead . . .

reply by: --jej on March 08, 2011 at 5:45 am

Okay. I have to own up to this one: With too little storage space while still in an apartment, about 25 or so years ago, I stored some of my more frequently used pots, pans and a few bowls nicely nestled together, on a very infrequently used back burner of the stove. And, of course, just once I turned on the wrong burner!

I don't even remember now which item was on the bottom, but I do remember trying without success to get the plastic off the electric burner. It also took quite a while with open windows to get the acrid fumes and fragrance out of the place. I still store an unwieldy kettle on one burner, but (1) it won't melt, and (2) I check my burners all the time. Have ever since that horrible fiasco!

reply by: berwynbaker on March 08, 2011 at 7:58 am

My most recent Don't Do: Never get on the BC and forget that eggs are boiling in the kitchen. Was happily reading away when there was an explosion and pieces of egg everywhere. We did not have egg salad for lunch that day. bb

reply by: cwcdesign on March 08, 2011 at 8:48 am

Don't use the stick-to-the-ceiling test for spaghetti, especially when your stepmother has had the ceiling painted in paint other than ceiling paint. If you forget that it stuck, when it dries, it pulls off the paint (I think it was 1970's lime green) so there was a squiggle pattern on the ceiling!

reply by: dachshundlady on March 08, 2011 at 8:52 am

Don't try a new recipe in a new bundt pan before you know how the new smoke alarm/security system works. My lovely mocha bundt cake overflowed my gorgeously intricate, cathedral-like bundt pan causing smoke to billow from the oven and set off the smoke alarm. I did not remember what the guy said a couple days before about how to disarm the damn thing and before I knew it the fire dept was here. Nice introduction to the neighborhood, huh? At least all of your adventures occurred in the privacy of your own kitchen!

reply by: frick on March 08, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Jeez, confession time.

I burned the skin right off my hand putting the pan of nachos under the broiler only last month. In my defense, I tell you it was my daughter's stove and I had never used her broiler. Dang! That flame guard is CLOSE.

I put a whole egg right into the pie crust the first time I ever made it. Called Mother. Why won't the egg mix in? She had no idea I was so dumb.

I have melted the plastic handle right off a knife by putting it on the cast iron burner to dry. I have a round melted ring in a plastic cutting board (DH did it). Pans, too, of course, but I have never had to call the fire department.

Yesterday, I mismeasured the liquid in my bread (in the Zo). It was so dense I threw it away rather than try to salvage it.

But because of my mother, I have never yet exploded the pressure cooker.

Now hear this. I dare anyone to have a mess worse that the following. Four days after an earthquake, I went to our freezer in the garage. The quake had knocked enough things off the shelf into the door that the door popped open. Melted ice cream, blood from thawed meat and juice from all the tons of home grown berries mixed together and oozed and the smell was indescribable. We used a shovel to clean it up. The only thing that we could save were bags of pecans.

I'm sure I can think of more but maybe I should go bake something.

reply by: KAF_Keri on March 08, 2011 at 1:48 pm

These stories all remind me of the annual April Fool's day blog posting PJ and her team write to summarize some of the year's best (worst?) baking disasters:




reply by: Mike Nolan on March 08, 2011 at 3:54 pm
Mike Nolan

I'm sure my wife would add "Never forget to label your canisters."

She made an angel food cake using powdered sugar instead of cake flour,
and nearly did it a second time before she figured out which container had the cake flour in it.

It was edible, sort of, but it sure wasn't cake! (World's largest meringue cookie?)

I'd add "Never lift the lid off the pot so that the steam vents towards you."

That's because I once dropped the glass lid on a big dish full of chicken stroganoff when my arm got hit by hot steam, and of course it shattered.

These days I have some nice long leather barbecue gloves that I use a lot when cooking, they've saved my wrists and arms from being burned quite a few times.

reply by: frick on March 08, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Mike, I did the same thing! I made powdered sugar icing with flour! Must have had really poor eyesight that day. I keep most everything, even conf. sugar in gallon Cambro and did not turn it around to the label. Darn!

reply by: frick on March 08, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I can't resist reposting this from the KA Archive, from one Sandi in 2008:

"Once I made a French bread that didn’t quite rise enough, and so when it came out of the oven it was pretty much a solid rock. I threw it in the trash, but behind my back, my husband retrieved it. For the next few weeks, I found that thing everywhere. In my purse, under my pillow, it was great fun for him, and incredibly embarrassing for me."

That's one sneaky hubby.

reply by: wendyb964 on March 08, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I've assumed once the head is tilted up there would be a kill-switch effect that did not allow it to be turned on. Basic safety feature! Thanks for the warning as tis something this self-described airhead would do as well as an accident waiting to happen. btw, this feature on the Cuisinart drives me nuts at times!

reply by: cwcdesign on March 08, 2011 at 5:18 pm


Thanks for posting these links. I have been sitting at the kitchen island while my Cabot Cheddar Bread bakes, in laugh out loud hysterics. I think my husband thinks I've finally gone 'round the bend.
BTW, the bread looks and smells delicious -- will have with mushroom soup tonight.

Thanks again for the laughs, Carol

reply by: wendyb964 on March 08, 2011 at 5:29 pm

This entire thread hits too close to home! Had to comment here: if a dab of almond extract is good, a lot is better, no? Seemed eminently reasonable to a 10 year old. I made a 2 layer box choc. cake with a light choc frosting and most of a bottle of almond extract. Tasted great in the bowl to me . Took it along as a treasure on a 2 week camping trip: the frosting did NOT harden for an entire two weeks. I still get razzed when talking about almonds 40 years later! The container got relegated to the donate bin. Might be useful as an air freshner in a pantry these days, lol.

reply by: wendyb964 on March 08, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Have to bookmark this thread as I'm laughing so hard I almost vomited and peed my pants.

reply by: dachshundlady on March 08, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Kudos to your hubbie, frick. Love it!

reply by: meghildreth on March 09, 2011 at 10:52 am

When I was first learning to cook at age 12 or 13, I made pea soup in the Waring Blender. I decided it wasn't green enough, so I added green food coloring! And there were the tuna sandwiches that I made with mustard since we were out of mayonnaise...

When my parents were newlyweds, my mother did not know how to cook (she was NOT a good cook, ever), she made chicken a la king in the pressure cooker and the gasket blew. There was chicken a la king all over the entire room! I do remember the time she left eggs on to boil when we left the house and they burned. A neighbor noticed something was wrong and went in to turn off the stove. The eggs were exploded and black.

reply by: milkwithknives on March 09, 2011 at 1:13 pm

More than once I've tried to scale a recipe without writing down the new measurements. So of course I forget what I'm doing halfway through and end up with way too much or too little of some critical element. My worst one, which almost ended in tears, was when I was trying to make biscuits (a challenge for me at the best of times) and ended up with biscuit soup on my silpat instead of dough. Right in front of my husband. After a near meltdown and lots of extra flour, the biscuits were solemnly eaten by the two of us with never a single comment on how, uh, ungood they were.

Oh, also, my husb is absolutely obsessed with rice and eats it for two meals a day, seven days a week. Literally. So we buy it in 20 lb bags and he keeps it on top of the fridge. One day last year I pulled the bag of flour down from the fridge where it had been propping up the nearly-full bag of rice, which husb had neglected to close with a twist tie because it takes too much time or something. So the bag thudded onto its side, and we both stood there with our mouths hanging open while rice showered down onto us, our fleeing dog, our fleeing bunny rabbit, our dinner in progress, etc. I was finding stray grains for weeks. In conclusion, always close your immense bag of rice with a twist tie.


reply by: cwcdesign on March 09, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I just remembered a friend who when we were around 12 decided to make meringues with tarter sauce. She thought it was the same thing as cream of tarter!

reply by: Mike Nolan on March 09, 2011 at 2:38 pm
Mike Nolan

We have a rule around here: Never store anything heavy (roughly, over 5 pounds) higher than 4 feet off the floor. (That applies to most bulky things too.)

I had to train our new cleaning lady not to do things like put one gallon jugs of vinegar on the top shelf in the laundry room. (It doesn't help that she's several inches taller than my wife, so she can put things where my wife can't even reach them.)

Of course that violated another cardinal storage rule: Never store liquids things above dry ones. My grandfather was a druggist, he drilled that into all of us kids when we were teenagers working in his store.

reply by: mumpy on March 09, 2011 at 4:33 pm

i was telling hubby some of the stories posted here, and he reminded me of his own baking 'oops'....(backstory: he's a science teacher and a bit of a 'mad scientist' who simply has to see what will happen if...????)
his advice is DON'T test the locking mechanism on your self-cleaning oven while you have cookies baking at will stay locked at that temp and won't unlock till it gets well below 300, which can take a while....however, if you should decide to try this, disconnect your smoke alarm first.
he says he's sure he's not the only one who has ever done this, but i wonder......

reply by: berwynbaker on March 09, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Meg, what is wrong with mustard in tuna salad. I grew up with mustard and mayo in tuna salad. I still eat it that way. Of course, that may explain why no one else will eat my tuna fish.:) bb

reply by: irishcoleen on March 09, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hey, I routinely use mustard instead of mayo in my tuna sandwiches!

Those eggs must have smelled!

reply by: irishcoleen on March 09, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Yay for mustard in tuna! :)

reply by: Mike Nolan on March 10, 2011 at 1:16 am
Mike Nolan

Nothing wrong with mustard in tuna salad, unless you put in 4 tablespoons of it like you would mayo.

I make my tuna salad with mayo (homemade is best, of course, and there's a fair amount of mustard powder in my mayo), but my wife won't eat it unless it's made with Miracle Whip, which I tolerate.

I sometimes put a little tarragon vinegar in tuna salad, too, along with chopped egg and celery.

I usually make my mayo with red wine vinegar, one of these days I'll have to try it with my tarragon vinegar, which started with a red wine vinegar, plus two kinds of tarragon from my herb garden.

I made tuna salad once with fresh Thousand Island dressing, but I think the paprika and sweet relish clashed with the tuna a bit too much.

reply by: frick on March 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

If I were awarding prizes, Mumpy's story of her hubby and locking the oven while baking cookies would win. I can just see my BIL saying "how else would he find out?" Well, not with cookies in the oven I say.

I am so sorry to say I was erupting with laughter.

Now, this is a really BIG don't. Don't let a flooring company install over an existing seamless rolled flooring. Not only will it become too high to properly install things like a dishwasher and slide-in stove, but if you get a water leak, water can pool between the layers and the next thing you know, you are tearing great gaping holes in your floor. Near the dishwasher. Near the ice maker. Near the hot water heater. Near the back door. Anywhere there can be a leak.

Mike, I'm with your wife on Miracle Whip with tuna.

reply by: jdries27 on March 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I did the same a few weeks ago, by mistake.

The dishwasher exploded with suds, amazing!

reply by: chocomouse on March 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Yay for Miracle Whip!

reply by: mumpy on March 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

no apologies glad you got a good laugh from his 'experiment'....i told him he won the 'don't try this' award and he just said 'oh my', but was greatly relieved to hear that you know someone who would do the same thing!
this discussion just proves my theory that the first ingredient needed for baking is a sense of humor!

reply by: irishcoleen on March 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Setting the scene:
-1 tile kitchen. Completely tile. Everywhere. Really. Ceiling, cabinets, floor, everywhere. 1960’s California hippie remodel – I don’t know what they were on but it must have been good.
-1 horse corral and lots of flies. Very smart flies who see a flyswatter coming before they can be squashed.
-1 BB gun that uses CO2 cartridges for propulsion. If you remove the BBs the CO2 blast can kill a fly without getting so close it knows you’re about to do it in. Best fly killer ever!
-1 fly sitting on the front of the microwave.

-1 hole in the microwave door.
-1 child cowering on the floor while a BB zooms around the kitchen careening off every surface.

-you must make sure all the BBs are unloaded. You cannot kill flies with a BB.
-if you can’t find the BB, look in the bread dough before putting it in the oven LOL!
-I wondered why that loaf was slightly deflated.

btw - the flyswatter was relegated to the station wagon where my mother used it to reach us when we were misbehaving. :)

reply by: frick on March 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I was shrieking with laughter, tears in my eyes.

So sorry, I'm sure you weren't laughing at the time.

reply by: irishcoleen on March 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

That is the general reaction every time we tell that story. It's been over 40 years and we kids *still* get convulsed re-telling it.

reply by: DSX on March 15, 2011 at 8:28 am

Never open the oven with your glasses on. I do this constantly, instantly resulting in temporary blindness.

reply by: berwynbaker on March 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

dsx, I do that all the time. My brain does not always remind me of past mistakes. bb

reply by: DSX on March 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Don't add the salt you forgot to add to your cake 10 mins after you started baking it.

40 years later and we are still teasing my sister about her "Salt Mine Cake."