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People Are Sharing The Innocent But Disastrous Mistakes They've Seen Home Cooks Make That Truly Derailed An Entire Meal — Or Worse

“They didn't have sugar, so they used this instead. Nobody enjoyed the cheesecake that night.”

Listen, cooking is a tough skill to master, and not all of us can be expert chefs. I've personally undercooked, oversalted, and burned many a dish in my day. With that being said, I'm always looking for a good cooking-fail story, so when redditor u/helge-a asked the r/Cooking community for the most absurd thing they've seen someone do in the kitchen, I was all ears. Here are some downright criminal things people have actually witnessed.

1. "My friend would 'make spaghetti' (cooked for two minutes in warm water) and then empty a half-warmed Hot Pocket on top for sauce."

Spaghetti boiling in a large pot

2. "When I was in high school, my mom and I were absolutely famished leaving a late-evening rehearsal for our community band. We called my dad and older sister to make dinner, since it was about a 30-minute drive home, there were no drive-thrus on the way, and our house was too far out in the boonies to get anything delivered."

"They decided to make a boxed creamy pasta but realized after the noodles were already cooked that the milk had gone bad, so they replaced it with French vanilla coffee creamer. For some reason, they thought it was OK because the creamer was sugar-free. It was not OK. We each had about one bite and threw the rest of our plates in the garbage. I think we ended up having canned soup for dinner that night."


3. "I’ll fess up, this one was me. I had been working long days and was very tired. I got up and poured a bowl of cereal. Then I poured some milk into my glass and some orange juice over the cereal. I didn’t have any money, so I sucked it up and ate it."

Someone scooping cereal out of a bowl with a spoon

4. "My old roommate decided to treat me and our other roommate to a steak dinner. He 'marinated' three giant rib-eyes in Jameson whiskey. Literally, nothing else was in the 'marinade.' He then dumped the steaks and all the liquid into a flaming-hot cast-iron skillet. There was so much whiskey in the skillet that it essentially boiled the steaks. Well-done, boiled, whiskey-flavored steak. It was atrocious."


5. "God bless my mom and her mac 'n' cheese: layers of elbow macaroni, slices of American cheese, a few tablespoons of flour, and a splash of milk. Repeat. She would stick it in the oven for 45 minutes and I would bite into...gobs of flour. I swore for years I hated mac 'n' cheese until I realized it wasn't supposed to have gobs of flour."

A forkful of baked mac 'n' cheese

6. "My friend's former roommate, bless his heart, was not culinarily inclined. Put the jar of pasta sauce in with the boiling water and noodles."


7. "Guy grabs a 2-pound container of ground turkey, takes the wrapping off, and puts it on the hot grill. There were no additional steps taken."

Raw ground turkey on a cutting board with a sprig of rosemary on top

8. "This was in the kitchen of our motor home. Hubs and the kids took a big summer adventure to Alaska. Most nights, they ate out, but sometimes when they found an RV park, they took turns making dinner. All the kids can cook, but my husband never cooks and doesn’t want to know how. But the kids decided everyone would participate."

"On Dad’s night, he opened a can of ranch-style beans, dumped them into a pan, added a can of undrained tuna, and dumped that into the same pan. He heated it up on the stove and served it on a paper plate. Runny, oily, beany tuna on a thin paper plate. Dad got pulled off the rotation after that. Even the dog wouldn’t touch it!"


9. "My sister made guacamole but used broccoli. It was beyond terrible."

A pile of steamed broccoli

10. "During my first year of college, my roommate put a frozen pizza in the oven with the plastic on. She thought it was like a popcorn bag and the pizza would steam."


11. "I texted my boyfriend to throw some chicken breasts, cream of chicken soup, some broth, and seasoning into the slow cooker as an easy meal for me, since I was sick and at school all day. I got home that night, and one of the seasonings he threw in was cinnamon. It’s all you could taste. Bland chicken with some strong cinnamon from the cabinet. The taste still scars me."

Meat and aromatics in a slow cooker

12. "My nephew tried to use plastic shopping bags as oven mitts."


13. "I once had a roommate take a sponge from the kitchen, clean the bathroom with it, then put it back in the kitchen sink. When I asked him why he put the sponge back in the kitchen, he said that's where he'd found it. I wanted to burn down the entire house, and it's a good thing I noticed at all. Oh, and there was a hair in the sponge."

A sponge sitting atop dirty dishes in a kitchen sink

14. "I saw a video of a woman washing her chicken in a sink with bleach and a few drops of Dawn dish soap. She said her mother and grandmother both cleaned their chicken this way."


15. "A family member tried to make cheesecake for a family dinner. They didn't have sugar, so they used cornstarch instead. Nobody enjoyed the cheesecake that night."

Close-up of cornstarch on a spoon

16. "A girl in my uni dorm almost burned the place down because she tried to 'boil a potato' (her words). What she actually did was put a large, unwashed, and unpeeled whole potato in a dry pot; put the lid on it; put it on high on the stove top; then left to go watch movies in her room while it cooked. She was lucky that a friend and I were in the adjacent common room. We caught the smoke and whipped it off the heat. She was completely dumbfounded that she’d done something wrong. The potato was half raw and half charcoal."


17. "I had a roommate who would deep-fry eggs. I walked into the kitchen, and there was a quart-sized pot of oil with a cracked egg undulating in it. I later asked her about it because it was weird, and also because maybe I didn't know? No. She thought you fried an egg the way you fried a piece of chicken."

Someone taking an egg out of a carton

18. "Watched a friend of mine in eighth grade attempt to make mac 'n' cheese for us. I gave her a few minutes to realize her mistake, and once I saw that she wasn’t going to, I asked her how she planned on boiling the water with no water in the pot. She'd just put the pot on the stove and turned it on high."


19. "It can't be the worst thing I've seen, but after browning ground meat, my mother would have us rinse it off in a colander under running water to get rid of grease. RIP our plumbing, and dinner."

Ground beef draining on a colander

20. "I was helping a friend prep for dinner and was given the task of dicing an onion. I was using my usual method of slicing down half an onion and then making perpendicular cuts for a medium dice. He took the knife out of my hand and said, 'No, my mom's friend says to just do it like this.' He proceeded to chop violently and erratically at the onion until chaotic lumps lay strewn about in various sizes and shapes. I dunno what’s wrong with his mom's friend, but I have never and will never chop onions like that. I haven’t offered to help him cook since."


21. "My mother-in-law cooked an entire raw chicken in the microwave — it took over an hour. She doesn’t like using the oven because of the electricity it uses up. She didn’t let me heat up my cold coffee in the microwave afterward because the poor microwave needed a break."

A whole chicken in a microwave

22. "My grandpa’s wife served us tacos with UNSEASONED ground beef that she rinsed in cold water before serving. Flavorless hell. She didn’t want the extra calories of grease or spices."


Are there any crimes against cooking you've witnessed in someone's kitchen? Let us know in the comments, or fill out this form if you'd like to remain anonymous!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.