Cooking a really great meal doesn't have to be complicated. Sure, binge-watching Chopped has us all convinced we need vaccuum sealers, ice cream machines and an anti-griddle, but some of the best recipes in the world are actually just a few really good ingredients put together simply. Like guacamole! Yeah, you can get fancy on it but a classic recipe really only calls for avocado, tomato, onion, salt and lime juice. It's so simple that it's almost impossible to screw it up.


One of the biggest downfalls of simple foods is how easy it can be to screw it up. Imagine picking up sugar instead of salt for that guac recipe. Now you've got an onion and avocado dessert paste that nobody wants. My mom has salted her coffee and sugared her eggs more times than I can count. And as a Puerto Rican, I can assure you messing up the rice might as well be the end of any meal. It won't matter how good anything else is.

One reddit user asked:

What is an easy way to f*ck up a simple meal?

Screwing up the rice was one of the first answers - so I feel pretty culinarily vindicated right now. Here's that answer, along with quite a few other kitchen horror stories. Long story short: check your labels, check your heat, read the directions and try to stay at least KIND OF sober. Cooking usually involves knives and fires, after all.

Read The Directions! 

I don't know HOW she manages to do this, but my coworker has failed

at least 10 times to make that craft microwave macaroni and cheese stuff.

There is like three steps. Add water, Microwave, Add cheese.

She keeps adding the cheese before microwaving it and burning the crap out of the cheese. I don't know how she hasn't learned yet.

- Lelentos

The Worst

Undercook the rice. The only real way to salvage undercooked rice is to turn it into something else like fried rice.

- BradC

Drink Responsibly


Drinking too much and forgetting the burgers on the grill for 4 hours.

- swagasus

Not Even Close To Oregano

In home ed we were once tasked with making tomato sauce. I told this dude I was teamed up with to put oregano in it and then turned my back to do the dishes. Came back to taste test and it was the worst thing I've ever tasted.

He apparently didn't know what oregano was and had put in almond extract.

- Randi_Scandi

Say It Louder

Overcooking meat. I'm going to say it louder for my parents OVERCOOKING MEAT! It took me until I was an adult to realize that you shouldn't need a glass of water to eat a bite of chicken to help get it down. Like, chicken can be moist and flavorful, holy crap!

- Iownamovingcastle

Wax Paper And Heat Don't Mix

Use wax paper instead of parchment paper. They look similar, but wax paper is for cold and parchment paper is for heat. Remember, wax melts when it heats up. I've had a very hectic and crazy week this week. I went home last night and cooked some oven roasted potatoes... on wax paper.... I went to go have a shower and I came out to the kitchen filled with smoke. It wasn't pleasant.

- MenstruatingMuffin

Cheesy Noodle Cereal

My best man once in college made a simple Mac & Cheese meal from the blue box and added WAAAAAAYYYYYY too much milk to it. He was basically eating cheesy noodle cereal right in front of me while I'm asking "Woah, isn't that a lot of milk?" He'd insist that was just the way he makes it.

I asked him about it years later and he admitted he knew he totally messed it up, but just wanted to save face.

- SquirrelSanctuary

Liquid Smoke

I was cooking chicken, simple pan fried chicken. I decided that a little smokey flavor would make it pop so I reached for something in our cupboard my wife likes called 'liquid smoke'. Now its shaped alot like a soy sauce bottle so in my haste I assumed you unscrew the cap and there would be a nipple inside you would use to squirt a few drops in.

There was no nipple, I dumped half a bottle of liquid smoke into the chicken. It was chicken jerky.


Mind Your Milks


When making a clam chowder, do not use sweetened, condensed milk. It is disgustingly sweet. Bad mistake.

- Commander_Shepard_

I tried making mac and cheese. I really tried.

I am Danish, so I just halfassed and google translated an American recipe, that said evaporated milk, but it translated as condensed.

I invited all my friends for blunts and mac. We were horrified.

- franzveto

I was dating a vegan girl and tried my hand at making a vegan version of chicken pot pie and added soy milk. I accidentally used the vanilla soy milk. It was a weird, sweet, gross mess.

- Lulu_42

Mom's Steak

Growing up on a farm where we raised cattle we ate a lot of steak. I was never a huge fan. I didn't see what the appeal was until just a few years ago when I made steak for myself.

My mom just over cooked the sh!t out of the steak. I like my meat rare to medium rare and her steaks were always under seasoned and over cooked.

I used to not be able to eat steak without A1 sauce or something similar. Now when I make a steak I don't use any sauces, just the seasoning on the steak itself.

A few months ago me and my wife went back to our home town and stayed with my parents. They had just butchered a steer so they had plenty of meat and wanted to treat us to a nice meal. I offered to cook the steaks under the guise that I was being nice and helping my mom not work as hard.

I asked everyone how they wanted their steaks done and grilled them all up to everyone's liking, timing when to put them on so they would all come off the grill at the same time but be done to different internal temperatures.

It was a damn good steak. My little brother who still lives at home said something like, "Wow I didn't know steak could taste so good." and it really hurt my mom's feelings, but god damn stop over cooking meat.

- swanyMcswan

Dropping it on the floor.


I used to work in a meat department and from time to time things would get dropped on the floor. I was one of the only people who was willing to take that stuff home.

At one point an entire pan of 12 oz ribeye steaks fell on the ground. I quickly picked them all up and the ones that were directly on the floor I rinsed off, then I packaged them all up and my boss sold them to me for $.25 per pound. I paid less than $10 for over $200 worth of steak.

I put them in my freezer and was just sure to sear the floor steaks a bit more than usual and I ate so much steak for a few months I got tired of it. It was cool though because I could experiment with different methods of making steak without wasting a good cut of meat.


Whooooops accidently dropped the filet mignons on the floor again. Don't worry fellas, I can care of it.


Not So Easy

Easy mac, Forget to add water.

Ive done it three times and its probably one of the WORST cooking f--- ups you can do


Are you the reason we had to deal with monthly midnight fire alarms back in the dorm?



So i doubt anyone will see this, but making chili "hot" instead of spicy. See some people equate mouth burning heat with good flavor and thats a god damn lie. Yeah there are good hot chilis out there, but they have complexity to them by using different chilis or unique spices. But there are a LARGE group of people out there that think that chili powder, salt, red pepper, and TOO MUCH tabasco sauce. It's gross, please stop doing that.

Heat does not equal flavor. Spicy is one thing, but you really can make great chili with out it being so spicy it just burns your


Gone To Pot

My ex wife managed to end up with actual flaming food while trying to cook for herself. Twice.

First was the reheating of chicken nuggets. No, four nuggets from the fridge do not take the same amount of microwave time as the whole package from the freezer.

Also, when the Kraft Dinner box says "drain the noodles, return them to the pot", do not put said pot back on the burner and get distracted by the end of the commercial break. I really liked that pot.


True Grit

Oh god do I have a story here. I used to work at a group home, and part of the job was cooking a big family meal every night for all of the residents. One day we had a super nice temporary staff worker on, and since she was a former line cook, she volunteered to handle the meal. Now nobody was going to object the a professionally done dinner, so we all focused on other work and let her do her thing.

An hour later we sit down to eat, and frankly it looked amazing. Perfectly seared pork chops, roast green beans, and corn cooked with brown sugar. We all piled our plates eagerly and sat down to eat. I was the first one to eat a fork full of the corn, and while the taste was good, something was really off about the texture. It was super gritty, almost to the point where I could feel it grinding and crunching between my teeth. I took a second bite, trying to be polite, but the dry crunchy texture just kept getting worse. As I'm dealing with that, one of the residents who was a bit less subtle took their first taste, and they let their surprise and displeasure be known pretty much immediately.

Now that it was clear that something was seriously up, the race was on to figure out what happened. Turns out that one of the residents left their container of kinetic sand sitting on the kitchen counter. For those of you who don't know, kinetic sand looks like and has a texture that you could totally mistake for brown sugar if you weren't paying attention. Having no reason to think anything other than food would be sitting on the kitchen counter, the poor temp worker took a big scoop and tossed it right in her corn.

Needless to say we all gave her crap for that one, but she took it well and we all spent most of the meal struggling to eat through the laughter. It was a good dinner otherwise though.


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