Desserts that don't turn out right and friends who are like family

Here's a frustration about myself: I can make a million great dinners on regular nights (OK, so that might be a stretch. I agree that hamburger helper probably shouldn't be categorized as great), BUT when I want to make something special--like we're having company or I'm taking dinner to someone--things fall apart and/or do not turn out as intended. Case in point. We had some of our best friends over for lunch today. I was super excited because when Jeff came back from Louisiana, his mom sent with him her recipe for lemon bars (probably my very favorite dessert of hers. It's fantastic). Lemon bars? Perfect to serve to our friends! I have attempted to make this once before, but replaced one ingredient with something similar but not right, so it turned into a custard cake, not lemon bars. That was not the coolest.

Not so this time. I had all the right ingredients. Why then, did it turn into strange, burnt, crumble lemon cake? Why?! (Gloria, if you're reading this, was I supposed to cover it with foil?) Luckily, it still tasted pretty darn good. HOWEVER, presentation matters when you're having company and I served strange, burnt, crumble lemon cake. I must say that Nancy and Mark and their kids are like family to us, so they didn't care at all and liked it as it was. STILL.

Here's another memory for you. So we hosted a goodbye party for some friends of ours last year. I had planned this down to the last detail and was super excited about what I was serving. I decided to cook the chicken in the crockpot, though, to save myself time for cleaning and everything else. Did you know that if you cook chicken to death in the crockpot, it sort of ends up tasting like tuna? I didn't either. Lucky for me, I found out (in front of a houseful of guests! I'm being sarcastic! I was very unlucky). My special dinner ended up tasting like tuna casserole. I was so dismayed because only I knew how good it really could have tasted if the chicken had not turned into tuna.

So today, I was again very dismayed that my plan morphed into strangeness that no one has ever heard of. I have to say that since there was only one small row of crumble pieces left in the very large pan, presentation didn't affect the taste all that much. Thank goodness for that.

I cooked dinner for my sis and brother in law recently. I have made beef stew a jillion times and it's been fine. Why, then, when I make it for other people, does it seem undercooked? Is it the pressure of knowing it's for someone other than me and Jeff? I don't know. You just want to cry out, "I promise, I've made this before and it was good! Believe me! I'm serious! Let me make it for you again and you'll see!"

Has this ever happened to you? Help me out here, friends. Is it the pressure or what? Do you have a tragic hosting story you can share with me? I'm in need of empathy. 


  1. Oh that sucks! I think it must be the pressure of cooking for someone else and wanted it to be amazing! I'm sure you are a fine cook! :)

  2. Oh girl! This happens to me ALL the time! I can't tell you how many cakes I've made that I literally had to glue together with frosting (or fill in cavernous spaces with copious amounts of the stuff!). And I always buy the roast or meat that is extra fatty and extra tough and cooks down to 1/10 of its raw size, so there's not enough to go around. And, yes, this kind of thing only happens when guests are over. But, I know for sure Mark and Nancy loved everything....and I would've loved to try those lemon bars! Love ya friend.

  3. That lemon bar tasted soooo good! who care how anything looks in this Colorado altitude everything crumbles :)-
    we love you and your family!


  4. I have that same issue from time to time. I remember one Christmas Eve when I made Chicken Vesuvio and I could not get the potatoes quite done. Hello, I make this all the time and it never failed--until Christmas Eve! You are not alone and I am sure you are still an awesome cook!

    Following from the mingle!

    Mel S

  5. It's definitely the pressure of cooking for someone else... I know... because I go through it too! I hardly ever share my cooking with others, Jeff (my Jeff... be weird if it was your Jeff) always tells me its good but I dunno. Anyway, I once made red velvet cupcakes to take over for a family Christmas get together but I had just move and God knows where my cupcake pan was, sooooo they came out all boxy :( I made everything from scratch and they were delicious but the shape? Not so much, boo!

  6. Oh, that's awful. :( Why do recipes never seem to want to cooperate when you have company coming over? It's like the food is trying to make you look bad on purpose.

  7. I have had that happen too! It always turns out perfect for my family, but the second I have to make it for someone else, I mess it up!

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  8. What a lovely blog! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would stop on by my blog and return the favor!


  9. That's why I try new stuff on people. That way, we're in it together if it's horrible and greatly blessed if it's wonderful :-) I walk that tightrope, heehee! And I can always say, "well, let's order pizza instead!" if it's a TOTAL flop.

  10. I feel your pain! I always thought it was a family thing - my mom has the same problem (luckily I'm her family so I get her good food!). Every time I cook for others I have a string of disclaimers for my mistakes.

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  11. I know how you feel. We do weekly dinners with our friends switching off between bringing dinner or dessert and one time I was so excited about this new dessert I was trying out, banana caramel pie. It went horribly wrong and was just an icky liquidy mess. I couldn't bring it with to at least try it was too sad

  12. I don't mean to laugh, so pardon me while I do. I have this happen all the time with my step-mom. She is a terrible cook who thinks she is amazing...I am a good cook, trained by a why then can I cook for my sisters and Dad, but when she comes over the duck catches fire and the yams turn to mush? She keeps saying I need to learn to cook, but I can, just not for her.


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