The doomed gallery of lamentable looking/ tasting dishes


Over at the What’s for Dinner discussions, there are some truly wonderful cooks with meals that look gorgeous. Alas, there are also aspiring cooks like me with limited skills and repertoire. Often times my meals don’t turn out the way I envision them, sometimes even turn into abject failure. Here’s a discussion for all food that turns out, ahem, subpar. Post your fails here and mention what went wrong! And help your fellow hapless cooks!

Roasted squab. What I had in mind:

What came from my kitchen. I think my oven temperature was probably too high. Everything was somewhat dry. Does anyone know if squab is leaner/ fattier than chicken? And does anyone know what body parts that ‘ball’ at the bottom was? Its an internal organ, but I wasn’t sure if its edible. It seemed bitter in the middle.

Noodle with shrimp roe. What I had in mind (without the mushrooms):

I got some fresh noodles so I figured I should put them to good use. First, I couldn’t find any shrimp roes in local markets. So I decided to improvise (not a good idea, for me) and used XO sauce instead. You won’t see any XO sauce on this plate because its not on there. I boiled the noodles, sauteed some shallots and dried baby shrimps, then tried to stir them together in the pan. The result was a soggy mess with the noodles all broken. It actually looked better than it tasted. The taste was, regrettable.


You did pretty good for first try
Back home, when we used to go to weddings, birthday celebration at a 12-15 course dinner, squab was a favorite served with lemon wedges and spiced salt mixed with finely grind szechuan peppercorn.
Nobody can touch the squab until the most senior member around the table pick up his chop stick and take the first piece.
Coming to the US, squab is rare and expensive. I remember I had to save my money to buy my brother a squab from a place at NY avenue in DC. My brother was in college and craved squab. He would tell me ’ I AM STILL HUNGRY" and I would reply, unfortunately, that is all the money i have, So, every time I travel to Canada, he would order squab for me at the many restaurant in Toronto.
So, I was very happy to find them at a Korean Grocery Store, cooked, just like your picture a few months ago. It was also inexpensive.
Here is a website on how to cook squab. Good Luck!

(John Hartley) #3

I think this is one of those “it depends” questions. In the same way that free range chicken is generally thought to be less fatty than factory raised chicken, I assume raised squab will be fattier than wild pigeon, You may need a dietician to evaluate which, if either, was the fattiest of similarly raised birds. Personally, I only buy the locally shot wild pigeon on sale at the farmers market - I’m usually only interested in the breasts which I marinate in olive oil (or extra virgin rapeseed), garlic and thyme and then briefly fry before slicing it onto some salad leaves. The marinade dresses the salad.


Isn’t 90% of what I cooked end up not looking anything like the photos of the recipe?! That squab thing, I have tried something like that some weeks ago, nothing like that at all… (But actually, I have used spring chicken, couldn’t even find squabs here.)

We had some talk here:


If I follow a recipe from the internet or from a cookbook with pictures, what I produce very rarely looks anything like the original. If it tastes good, I’m happy.


But I think the dish @sck showed was from a restaurant, not a recipe book. I guess that’s the difference between a home cook and a pro.

I agree with you that if the taste is good, it’s very okay for me already.

(Robin Joy) #7

You dress your salad with the marinade, John? Which has recently had raw meat in it?

I might just pass on the salad!

(John Hartley) #8

Yes - once it’s been chucked in the pan to sort of deglaze it. I live to tell the tale - but who knows for how long.