When Good Cooks Go Bad: Wiener Gravy and Other Disasters

The boss took our group (seven of us) to lunch today for a Christmas gift. After the meal, we got on the subject of bad cooks. A co-worker related a couple of stories about his mother, who would cook meat until it was bone-dry and then re-moisturize it by dubious means, i.e. quarter-cups of butter on steak and bacon grease-laden onions on pork chops. Another co-worker revealed that her sister makes “Wiener Gravy”; she boils hot dogs and then makes a gravy from the used water. ::gack::

After that last story, I was profoundly grateful to have already consumed my lunch.

My only story was of my dear mother – who normally is an excellent cook – making bean soup. She always used dried beans that had not been soaked long enough and therefore turned to sand when chewed. So nasty.

Any other bad cook stories, Dopers?

My mother made a bean soup mistake once. She didn’t have the Great Northern Beans that she normally uses, so she used a bag of pinto beans thinking it wouldn’t matter. She had never cooked with pinto beans before, so she didn’t know what would happen.

Have you ever tried to eat purple bean soup? It tasted great, if you could get past the looks of it. My father and I took to eating it between slices of buttered bread as a sandwich, so we wouldn’t have to look at. My mother and sister refused to touch the stuff.

/slight hijack/ My late grandfather used to jokingly ask where the gravy was whenever anyone made hotdogs. Lucky for us, my grandmother was smart enough not to try it. Thanks for reminding me of a great childhood memory./slight hijack/

I love buffalo wings, and have often purchased some sort of powder/plastic bag for the oven type combo, to which I add some of my other ingredients.

One day, I decide to make boneless wings, which are actually cut breast strips. I was out of the pre-fab bag and powder, but that’s ok. I use a number of spices and put my chicken in a tough freezer bag.

Imagine my surprise when that thick bag didn’t hold up in the heat of the oven. I was alerted by my smoke detector, as the bag had melted, and juice was burning inside the oven.

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Back before cake mixes came with the pudding already in them, my mother had a recipe for pudding cake that we always used. One day, one of my sisters decided she’d make a cake. She got the list of ingredients from Mom. In addition, she got all the ingredients listed on the box instructions. So she wound up using one box of cake mix, one box of pudding, 7 eggs, a cup of milk, a cup of water, a cup of oil, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Oh, it was a moist cake. It was a soggy cake. Actually, it wasn’t even a cake - it was garbage.

Not so much a cooking story, but a putting together things story…
My dad, for a long time, simply wanted to eat when he was ready to eat, and would put together the oddest combinations of food. The wierdest one I can remember is a salami sandwich. But we were out of bread, so he used slices of lemon cake instead.

I can see where he was thinking…lemon cake is good, salami is good, must be good together. I have no idea whether he put any condiments on it, or whether he actually enjoyed it.

Oh Lsura, ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!


Only if you wash it down with a Bloody Mary.

Re: “weiner gravy.” Well, some people put sliced frankfurters in the pea-soup pot to flavor the broth. And southern biscuits and red-eye gravy is a sausage gravy over biscuits. So I suppose using weiner water to make gravy isn’t TOO great a logical jump.

Ukiebaby, don’t make me take back all the flattering remarks.

Good cooks-my mother was far from a good cook so all I know is bad cook stories.

What she called pot raost,we called roast pot.The gravy actually had those black burnt bits from the pot bottom in it.

Her stew was meat and vegetables swimming in greasy water.

She tried a pound cake-she didn’t pound it enough.

Kraft’s Mac and cheese had these undissolved chese chunks that went powdery when you bit into one.

I’d try to act up before dinner when I was a young 'un so I’d be sent to bed without dinner.
Oddly enough,she made a mean potato salad,chocolate cake,and good pot of coffee.Go figure.

To this day,tho,I can’t imagine how my father survived all those years on that grub.He was in hs late 70s until he finally succumbed to an overdose of bicarb.
In my adult life in my relationships I was ** always the primary cook ** (I’m male)

I learned my lessons well.

My mother makes an excellent rhubarb pie (for those of you not int he know, rhubarb is a tart yet sweet plant that grows all over Wisconsin, and other parts of the Midwest I presume). Early in her wild rhubarb harvesting days, she acccidently picked a batch of burdock for use in the pie. Apparently, burdock is easily mistaken for rhubarb by novice harvesters. The mistake is definately due to appearances and not taste however, as burdock tastes rather like a bar of bath soap when baked into a pie.
It was a long time before my mom could convince me to try rhubarb pie again, as I assumed that God-awful bitter taste was how it was supposed to be. She still hasn’t lived that one down.

I could be horribly wrong, but I believe red-eye gravy is not a sausage gravy. It’s made with the juices left from frying a ham slice. Black coffee is the secret ingredient.

My mom is unable to bake potatoes. No matter the oven temperature, no matter the length of baking, they are hard as rocks, every time. Unfortunately, I inherited this disability…

This sounds like a classic story–but it’s true. My when I was a child, my mother made fried chicken for the first time. My brother took the first bite and Mother was excited to hear what he thought. He was so polite, and he hated to disappoint her, so he said, “Well, it’s a little bit sweet…” She had used powdered sugar instead of flour.

Yes, you’re right. The classic red-eye is made in a pan you’ve fried country ham in. The source book I just looked in, though, sez it can also be made in a pan used to fry sausages.

“Biscuits and gravy” features crumbled-up sausage in a “cream gravy,” which may or may not include cream, depending on what you use to deglaze the pan.

How did it turn purple from pintos? Pintos are brown. Purple hull peas, I could understand.

Well, my parents’ friends once made marinated mushrooms…

They put the mushrooms in a big cooking dish with four sticks of butter (no, I’m not kidding!) and broiled it until all the butter cooked down. Then they added cognac and more butter and repeated the process. Twice.

The worst part?

This isn’t a mistake, it’s an honest-to-god recipe. I was horrified.

I’ve had a guy ask me to try his wiener gravy before…

And you probably thought it was a sexual thing, right?

The first time I encountered my MIL’s Apple Pie, I thought it was a chess pie. She had cooked the apples until they were no longer apples. But I love cinnamon, and it looked like she had used alot , because the pie filling was kind of brown. It wasn’t until I had a mouthful of it , that I realized the reason it was brown… She had fried the apples in hamburger grease!

My mother is a wonderful cook with a kitten-like attention span. She wanted to make one of my recipes, which called for careful layering of meat and beans between cornbread batter to make this yummy tex-mex torte. Instead, she dumps all of the ingredients together, throws it in the oven, and produces this nasty orange, meaty cake-like thing.

A friend tell me that her mother has a similar treatment for what she fondly calls “corndog casserole.” Bleech!

Obligatory link.

Related book (a great gift idea for anybody scrounging around at the last minute; it’s hilarious).