How to Deal When Your Recipe Fails

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Before we begin, a little shameless self promotion. My first article on Skinny Benes is live on the amazing website She Knows. I’d love your feedback so check it out!

I love food blogging. I do. It’s one of my FAVORITE parts of every day. I love editing photos, finding new recipes to try, making up my own recipes, styling shoots, taste testing and, best of all, writing all about the experience. Cooking isn’t just done to get a meal on the table. Cooking is done out of love, excitement and passion. I’m not Emril Lagissie yet and don’t have a catch phrase like BAM!, but I do like to say I’m a passionate cook and baker.

Now, passion is a good thing on many, many levels. For one, it really makes sexy time worth it. I mean, seriously, have you ever had a non passionate lover? Think of the first time Carrie & Burger hooked up on SATC. Yep, it’s like that. Secondly, it shows dedication and committment. If you have PASSION for something, you are fully committed to making it the best it can be. Whether that be a recipe, a job or artwork.  Third, it’s nice to have something you care so deeply about. I, of course, am passionately in love with my husband, but it’s nice to have a hobby that I care for a lot too. Plus, my husband reaps the benefits from both passions (if you know what I mean, aye, aye). But, as wonderful as passion is, it can also severely come back to bite you SQUARE in the arse.

Off topic for a hot second, did any of you see P.S. I Love You? Well my favorite part of the movie is at the beginning when they are fighting and Gerry (Gerald Butler) says “Kiss my arse!” and Holly (Hillary Swank) responds with “Yeah, well kiss mine! IN ENGLISH!” Not sure why that relates to anything, but it gives me an excuse to share a picture of Mr. Butler below.


But back  to the topic at hand, having passion can be a downfall too. Because of how invested you are, your sense of expectation is very high, therefore, if it fails, you take it VERY personally. Like, for example, you start sobbing because your cheesecake came out a big bloppy mess and take a bottle of wine to the face. Or you stomp out of the kitchen and fix ramen for dinner because your chicken turned out dry and your Alfredo hardened. Purely made up examples, here. One thing us passionate nuts don’t realize is that sometimes, no matter how well we followed the rules, some recipes just don’t work.

Take this sad batch of cookies n cream fudge I made a few months ago.

As you can see, the fudge started melting into a huge puddle AS SOON as I took it out of the freezer. And what’s worse, is that I had it freezing for almost 8 hours! I followed the recipe TO A T and it still failed miserably. I was really, really bummed. It tasted really good but the composition just didn’t work. Safe to say, I wasn’t very happy.

Failed recipes stink, but what stinks more is when the recipes are something you conjured up yourself. I’m no recipe genius, at all, but I get great joy out of making something up, on a whim, and finding out it actually tastes great. Well, this attempt at bacon buttermilk waffles was NOT a win.

They look REALLY good, don’t they? Unfortunately, they did not taste as good. In fact, they tasted like dirty, salty bacon grease. And I have no clue why. The batter was made using this recipe and I just added a few pieces of crumbled up bacon. I’m not sure if the batter was just too salty or sour, or the bacon was way to greasy, the taste was pretty disgusting. I think I spit them out and then proceeded to chug 2 cups of coffee to get the taste out of my mouth. I was not only bummed, but pissed. I wasted a few good pieces of bacon! And as you know, I’m a lover of the pig.

When your recipes don’t turn out well, it’s hard NOT to take it personally, especially when you are a self proclaimed foodie. You kind of feel  like a failure. Trust me, I get it. But one of the things I’ve learned is that we all make mistakes, I mean, we’re humans not robots. Some days we are going to have AMAZING cooking days (hello roasted cauliflower of the heavens) and some days we are going to have major flops. And ya’ll? That’s perfectly okay. The mistakes are what make us better chefs, I think.

And on those awful, cooking days, remember one thing. You always have wine.

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  1. Posted by Maris Callahan on
    Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
    Believe me we have all had recipe fails!
  2. Posted by Steph C on
    Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
    Wine fixes everything. Obvs.
  3. Posted by Ann on
    Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
    What a fun post....I completely understand!  I actually posted about setting my chicken on fire!  It was funny and it actually tasted good....but it was an epic recipe failure!  Know you are not alone - I suspect every food blogger has felt the exact same way!
  4. Posted by Kira on
    Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
    Oy.. I've had so many recipe fails, I can't even count!!
  5. Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
    Ahh recipe fails...haha my dad always tells me to send them his way! He'll eat and try anything :)
  6. Posted by Brianne Smith on
    Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
    Absolutely love this! It's like you wrote down exactly what I was thinking! My boyfriend laughs at me sometimes when my food doesnt come out to my high standards.  Thank god I havent made too many things that were inedible (I hate wasting food!) Kind of funny that I read this now, because this week has been a total let down for me with cooking! Mainly because I was trying out my own versions of recipes.  But like you said- theres always wine (and pasta! lol)
  7. Posted by Cindie Abbate on
    Saturday, August 6th, 2011
    So this is the first time I clicked over to your blog and this is the first post I read and its amazing because I feel like you were in my head writing about that feeling of 'recipe failure'!  The Husband knows that no matter how good he thinks something I made is, if I'm not happy with the way it turned out then it's a failure in my eyes. 
    Looking forward to reading much more!
  8. Posted by Shannon on
    Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
    I thought of this post immediately after this happened... 
    I made a pizza last night, and as I was checking the crust, ALL the toppings slid off into the oven! So I had to wait for the boiling mess to cool off, then put the crust on a pan and tried again. All was well, but it was a nasty clean up...