Friday Flashbacks: Food Follies

By Mir
June 3, 2005

It seems only fitting that while on this @&*$^! Virtue diet (Day 6! No refined sugar! Low carbs! No white flour! Feeling good! But still mourning chocolate!) I take a moment to reflect on some of the most notable food disasters in my memory.

As before: Leave a comment with yours, or go wild with your whole own post and leave me a trackback.

See, there’s a method to my madness. Thinking about all of the disgusting foods I’ve ever encountered will drown out the siren song of the very last sleeve of Thin Mints that I found waaaaay in the back of the deep freeze.

* Once upon a time when I was in college, I went to McDonald’s with a friend. (No, that’s not the story. Patience.) I bit into my burger and my lower teeth encountered something VERY hard. I put the sandwich down and opened the bun. Inside was a ragged hunk of plastic that looked like it had once been a part of one of those big industrial drums of condiments. Sadly, this was before everyone and their dog had the good sense to sue everyone for everything, so I missed out on my chance to retire young. I took the debrisburger back up to the counter and they gave me a new (plastic-free) burger and a coupon for another one. I never ate there again.

* The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well guess what! That’s the way to a woman’s heart, too. At least for any woman who enjoys food. I once had a boyfriend who NEVER cooked (at all) and so one year for my birthday I told him that what I wanted most was for him to make me a nice dinner. He borrowed one of my cookbooks and made a day of it. Only, the swiss steak recipe he used said to cook for 1.5-2 hours at 300 degrees, and what with the GREAT COMPLEXITY of the recipe and all, he ran out of time. No problem! He cooked it for 45 minutes at 475. If he hadn’t served me shoe leather that night, I would still remember it all very clearly… because my cookbook is stained and crinkled on the swiss steak recipe pages. Just a lovely memory, all around.

* Snickerdoodles hate me. Once in high school I made a batch with so much cinnamon they burned my tongue (I dunno, it said 2 tablespoons and I put in 2 cups? Something THAT BAD), and a few years ago I tried making some with Splenda for a diabetic neighbor. I will happily worship at the altar of Splenda for many uses, but baking is NOT one of them. “Measures cup for cup like sugar for baking” is technically true, sure. But no one has ever been able to do a taste comparison since baking with Splenda is only a little bit different than adding a cup of spackle to your batter.

* Monkey used to be allergic to eggs. This led to many egg-free experiments. Most notably, 1) using a commercial egg-replacer NOT intended for commercial mixes with (duh) a commercial blueberry pancake mix, yielding gelatinous blueberry goocakes (crispy on the outside, hair gel consistency on the inside!); and 2) using extra oil, only, with a brownie mix, resulting in a flat paving stone of a brownie under an inch of (very hot) oil. Yum yum.

* One day in grad school I came home, as I often did, and grabbed a box of Cheerios out of my pantry, as I often did, and flopped on the couch while eating them by the handful, as I often did. I was channel surfing and on perhaps my third handful when something tickled my hand. I looked down and saw an ant. And then another. And as my hand spasmodically flung the ants away, I saw that the box of cereal itself was SWARMING with ants INSIDE THE BAG. And eating ants? Was NOT something I often did. I screamed and hurled the entire shebang across the room. Later I would soak the entire area in ant spray, and also discover the ant highway that went directly from my back door to the cereal shelf.

Ahhhhh. That last one gets me, every time. I’m not hungry at all, any more!


  1. Mom

    Genetics is a wonderful and mysterious thing. Thin mints — from the grandmother to the mother to the daughter. Mmmmm, so good. Haven’t had one in years. Mostly cuz I don’t think I ever ate just one. Or ten, for that matter.

    My daughter, myself. (Shut up.)


  2. jilbur

    does sucanat count as refined sugar? because it works great for making hot cocoa.

  3. Mamacita

    That’s odd. . . I use Splenda all the time for baking. I even make jam with it. Not the special baking Splenda either, just the regular Splenda in the yellow sack. It won’t raise the yeast but it does everything else. Try again some time.

  4. barbara

    i like this mir….it sends me floating down my own memory river of freaky flashbacks…..

    my family still reminds me of the time when i was about 12 and decided to suprise everyone with tuna casserole for dinner. tuna that came in oil. that i never drained. needless to say, no one needed exlax that night.

    which, by the way comes in chocolate! just in case you’re really desperate, what with this loony toons diet you’re on. who ever heard of not eating sugar?

  5. jules

    You kow…in this @&*$^! Virtue diet …ants would be totally legal!! ;)

  6. Lisa Y

    Cool topic, cool way of curbing a craving. Speaking of low-carb diet/cooking, during my Atkins days, I baked — or tried to — a flourless chocolate cake. Recipe called for half cup of unsweetened choco chips and half cup of regular chocolate chips. Well, the cake looked OK – like a flourless cake should – but tasted like crap! See I missed the part about using half cup of sweetened chocolate so even if I used two boxes of Splenda, I couldn’t have salvaged it. ;-)

  7. Karry

    Much like Barbara’s tuna casserole my story has to do with oil. Only the person cooking it is a 28 year old single father that I work with. He’s like a brother to me and our kids are good friends. This man doesn’t cook much (I’ve given him lessons on toast!) and he is raising his daughter alone. Well, after picking up middlechild from a visit at his house, ,it seems he tried to make macaroni and cheese. Not hard, right? Boil noodles, add the powder, add milk, add butter…. wait – no butter? Hmmmm what can he use to substitute for butter? AHA! Butter flavor PAM. 1/4 cup butter… okay, 1/4 cup-o-pam it is!

    He said it tasted good, but poor guy – his daughter was hit with it first – and he thought she was just tryingto get out of going to school the next day… and then it hit him.

    After they got through the evening after that event, he called in sick the next day and I teased him about his “hot date” the night before untill he confessed. Now I just tease him about the many uses of PAM.

  8. Cristin

    HA HA HA the pam mac-n-cheese.
    I was famous for my crumb coffee-cake, until I lost the recipe, and made 3 or 4 batches that were alternately hard as rocks, gelatinous, or just pancake flat. Then I gave up.
    The ant story reminds me of an incident involving my lil sis. We were staying at my gran’s for the summer, she kept telling my mom her rice krispies were burned. A finicky eater at the best of times, my mom thought she was just being difficult, so she ignored it. Until…
    she noticed that there DID seem to be a lot of burned looking rice pieces mixed in.
    Yup, they were mouse turds. My gran called an exterminator, my mom puked and cried for forgiveness, and my 4 yr old lil sis went and ate something else, for once seeming not too upset. heh

  9. Cindy

    When I was 20 and in my first apartment, I would invite my parents over for dinner once a week. I only knew how to cook one thing (chicken and rice casserole) so that’s what I cooked for them once a week. Years later, my mom told me that when they would leave my father would say “what the hell did we just eat?” and get her to drive thru McDonald’s on the way home.

  10. Thumper

    Oh man, I was 1 minute away from getting breakfast…then I got to the Cheerios thing and suddenly I don’t want food anymore…

  11. Jennifer

    Along the lines of ants and mice…In grad school we lived in a pretty awful apartment. I am a freak for anything chocolate and raspberry, so I’d splurge on special raspberry hot cocoa, just for me. One night, I fixed myself a cup, sat down, took a drink — and crunched. On a roach. In my cocoa. UGH! The worst thing is that it actually happened TWICE to me! Sort of put me off raspberry cocoa. :(

  12. Ginny

    Oh this is fun! My biggest food disaster happened when I was dating my husband. We lived 2 hours apart, he was driving up to spend the weekend and I was going to make a big ol’ pot of chicken and dumplings. All was going well until I got to the dumpling part of the recipe and found out I didn’t have baking powder on hand. However, I did have (cue ominous music) a box of baking soda. Powder, soda, what’s the diff, right? My mouth still puckers when I think of the taste of those big blobs of salty dough. Ugh.

  13. Amy

    So, I’m in the sixth grade (about 2.5 million years ago) in South Carolina and every day at lunch I buy myself what is supposed to be a milk shake. Only the school isn’t air-conditioned and SC is hot, right? So the milk shakes are kept in the deep-freeze and come out frozen solid like ice cream. So I had to use a spoon and a lot of elbow grease to eat them. So one day I dig my spoon in and out pops a huge chunk of (Jos, if you’re reading this, avert thine eyes!) frozen Palmetto Bug. Which is how we in the south say “enormous unbeliveably disgusting flying roach.” I believe that was the last time I purchased anything to eat at THAT school – but alas! Like Mir, I did not sue.

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