I am always asked this question “But do you ever have kitchen fails?” And my answer is always the same “Like everyone else on earth, I make kitchen blunders” It does not matter if you are the best chef in the world with years of training, mistakes are bound to happen. Let me tell you, I make major messes, it’s just that I do not show them to you or you do not see them all. But that has never kept me from trying and improving. I am a food blogger, but that does not meat I am a demi god who has never made a cooking error. For me, I take each failure as a learning point. After each mistake, you get to learn what not to do next time of what to change up next time. I encourage each one of you to develop the same outlook. Mistakes will happen, but do not stop trying and growing.
Today, I am laying myself bare. I will show you some of my countless errors. And I must say, I would not have gotten as good if I did not make mistakes along the way. Let this serve as encouragement to you, mistakes will happen in the kitchen. You will make master blunders. But never let than prevent you from getting better and better. In no particular order, here we go:
1. Red Velvet Pancakes
As the title says, the pancakes are meant to be red since they are RED VELVET PANCAKES. Everything was going well, I had taken my pictures and I was progressing well. That was until the pancake batter hit the pan. My amazing red batter turned brown/orange the moment it landed on the pan. My pan is non stick, and my pancakes NEVER stick, but these ones stuck to the pan, almost as though they were reacting together with the aluminum and forming a new element. Instead of them having a smooth surface, it became bumpy and rough akin to pawpaw seeds. I just could not take it! FAIL!!!! I saved the picture of the batter, just to remind myself of this day. I wish I saved the actual backfired pancakes.
I canceled that post and bounced back almost immediately and made these drop scones with chocolate strawberry yoghurt ganache that same day. Always bounce back!
To be honest, I still do not know what went wrong with my red velvet pancakes. I still have nightmares about that rough orange/brown surface of what was meant to be my red velvet pancakes.
- Pork Fail
A lot of trial and error goes into recipe development especially when you are a self taught cook. Ask any food blogger! That means disaster is part of the game. You guys never saw was the complete disaster of a pork recipe I had before I landed on the perfect ingredient combination. Look at the pictures below and compare them. Both are pork recipes but look at how different they look. After a pathetic disaster, I worked on my errors and gave you an outstanding recipe.
The later picture is hideous, even if it tasted ok, I could not bring myself to post it. It looks atrocious and tasted average. I could not bring myself to publish a mediocre post. This pushed me to try again, change things I thought never worked in the first recipe and the result was mind blowing. You guys really LOVE this recipe. Not a day goes by without it being viewed and downloaded. I am talking about my sweet and sour pork with pineapple salsa. You can also check out my other phenomenal pork recipe, plum marinated pork and give both a try :))
So to you too, do not let yourself go through life with the spirit of defeat. When you stumble a little, get up and give it another shot. That is the only way you will get better.
- Chapati Kuni
Yes, you read that right. I made chapati that were as hard as firewood. I usually make my chapatti dough with warm water, but this time I don’t know why I felt cold water would work just as fine. The kneading went well, so did the cooking. But after I finished cooking them and wanted to roll them up for the final photographs, they turned from chapatti to firewood right before my eyes. LOL. You could hit someone with this chapatti on the head and have a homicide in your hands. They were HARD!
I learnt from my mistake and made chapo ever since; nice soft ones. I have a chapo recipe for you guys in April and I am so stoked with how they turned out. You will def love the one that is coming in a couple of weeks! In the meantime, savor my butternut and dhania chapatti.
- Cassava soup
LOL! How disgusting does that sound? Allow me to laugh at myself because I actually tried to make cassava soup! Cassava SOUP! ROTFLNBITH (rolling on the floor laughing naked because its too hot). This was the day curiosity actually killed the cat. It was beyond disgusting. I made a huge quantity so that my sisters could have some too and their facial expression alone should have told me it was bad. LOL. I first tried to convince myself how bomb and healthy it was, but after several spoonfuls, my throat could not let anymore down. And I admitted to myself this is another entry in my list of fails. I unfortunately deleted all the images to this.
Look, I am all for experimentation. But you cannot transform anything to whatever you want just coz you have conceived it in your mind. Try it out, if it works well and good. If it doesn’t, try correct your mistake or just move on. But let that not kill your curiosity to try out new things. WE fail and we learn.
- Sweet corn fritters.
Making fritters is one of the easiest things to make on this earth. I felt really ashamed failing at something so easy and basic. I wanted to make sweet corn fritters, and easy fast snack or meal if you will. The pictures looked nice, but as I went on, they slowly started to coagulate and transform to plasticine. They were too dense and could not just cook through no matter what I did. The mistake I made was using too much flour.
I bounced back a couple of days later and decided to make spaghetti fritters using come leftovers I had in the fridge. The result: Perfection.
- Spicy fried drumsticks.
Is it just me or when you are most EXCITED about cooking something, that’s when the chances of it backfiring quadruple? I can’t be alone LOL. I had so much enthusiasm while making these drumsticks for Sunday afternoon lunch. The pictures looked awesome, but the actual outcome was lack luster. Something was off. I think it was the brine I used, yet I am more used to using dry rubs for chicken. The drumsticks were bland and some never cooked through. Salmonella anyone? FAIL!
I was disappointed. Not only did the fam not enjoy their Sunday lunch I volunteered to make but I had wasted money on something that was not enjoyed. And also, all my luhya ancestors had a simultaneous gasp when me, an offspring of theirs, messed up ingokho of all things. I have since stuck to what I know works for my kuku: the family marinade recipe(check it out here) and dry rubs.
If someone ever laughs at you for failing, just smile and ignore because you know you are learning in the process and you are growing and refining your cooking. We all mess up, but never let it paralyze you from ever trying again and improving. Do not be ashamed about your little stumbles. Wear them as badges of honor because one day when you are so good, you will look back and appreciate how far you have come.
What are your worst kitchen fails? Did you find out what went wrong? How did you bounce back? I would love to here from you in the comment section below.
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Last year I was watching Hell’s Kitchen & they were making gnocci.In true Kate fashion, I googled the recipe because it liojed easy enough to make, and maybe , just maybe, delicious.For dinner that Saturday night,I made gnocci & minty peas salad.I say made gnocci very lightly because according to google, they are meant to be soft & pillowy.Mine turned out bland and plasticine-like and generally just flat.Apparently I hadn’t seasoned properly & I had put in too much dough-hence the blandness.
The fam was eating dinner giving me the side eye…hehehe…but they ate it anyway because nobody wanted to go and make anything else.
Suffice to say I’ve never had confidence to try making gnocci again.Lol.Maybe I will though. Soon.
LOL! Haven’t we all experienced those moments when family eats in silence since they don’t want to get anything different. its great you found out where you went wrong. Maybe after your gnocci scar has healed, you can try again and ace it.
Thank you for sharing ????
I agree. Disaster is truly part of the game. I have also learnt lately, as a food blogger, that not all food has to look pretty. What matters the most is the nourishment and the taste. This was fun to read. 🙂
I totally agree! Not everything can look pretty. We learn a lot as we go along as foodbloggers especially.
p.s I loooooove your blog. I am one of your silent readers and I did cheer you on when you got featured by CNN. Keep shining!
Thanks girl. You too keep doing what you do. 🙂
My kitchen fails are funny. When i started using spices I didn’t realize how salty the royco cubes are. so i used like three accompanied by some salt when i was making meatballs and they were so bad. there is nothing as worse as over salted meatballs woi.
I am one of those guys who downloaded the pork recipe. and the pineapple is an absolute favorite.
– The 3rd last sentence and 5th last sentence in the 1st paragraph have an error instead of mean you wrote meat, or you wrote of.
Redeeming oversalted food is a tall order! Oversalted meatballs are just sad! But on the bright side at least you discovered what the cause of the saltiness was. And also glad you liked the pork recipe ????????
Thanks for correcting me. I tend to make many autocorrect induced grammatical errors. Lemme make the corrections.
I learnt how to cook ugali through a series of kitchen fails. One day its ugali soup, the next day its ugali concrete. I then discovered I had to learn how to balance my water:unga and now I am as good as anyone else. I look back with joy. truly it is failure that helps us grow.
I learnt how to cook ugali and chapo the same way. You try and fail 1million times over but you learn and adjust as you go.
Failure is a stepping stone to success. Everyone fails at some point.Interesting read..
Kaluhi, many of us never want to admit our kitchen fails. Most of the times we quickly throw them out and never try the recipe again but the joy that one gets when you get it right again is beyond.
Hahahaha!! I loved the Cassava Soup and the Pork ones!! Aki you should do story telling as another hustle 😀
Wait, you are not a cooking demi-god?? *gasps*. What a post Kaluhi. Very grounding and encouraging. Wow.
My biggest fails have been rice that ends up looking like uncooked compressed noodles and tasting like molten candle wax, to cabro-paving-potential ugali. Still working on the two. Oh! And that day I attempted to make the classic pasta with tomato sauce…spent THREE hours in the kitchen only to be told “it just tastes like that pilipili we make minus the pilipili” (I think you know it…cooked chillies in tomato sauce). Was almost scarred for life but I bounced back months later. As I continue learning (esp from you, no lie), I continue growing. I might never be Martha Stewart, but I wanna be able to play and paint with food (without it actually looking and tasting like ‘mchezo’ 😉 )
Again, long comment but I’ve just missed all this! All in all:
“They (the food fails in this case) tried to bury us; but they didn’t know we were seeds”.
Keep rocking our kitchens and tummies!!
LOOOOOOLLLL! Kitchen fails are real. I wish I never deleted the casava soup picture LOL!It was pure horror. As for your compressed-noodle rice and cabro ugali, we all start from there. But with time, we get so good its unbelievable! we fail some, we win some. Happy to know you are gaining from what I put out. We will both mess along the way, but learn so much more :))
I was baking a chocolate cake once , so instead of using two tea spoons of baking powder I used two TABLE spoons. My oven has never been the same after that ????????
LOL! That is one huge difference in measurements. That should be one of the chocolate cake baking days you will never forget for sure Lol!
i actually tried that pork recipe when my bro in law was visiting.He loves pork what way to welcome him than with his fav meal…he was so excited abt the meal..The pork was bad and i mean bad just like the pic you post as a fail.Am not sure wat went wrong but atleast the pineapple salsa was perfect.As u said pple ate in silence…my hubby swore not to cook pork in our house again lol.I love pork and i tried it again it was delicious he dint even notice it was pork.Baibe hii nyama ni tamu leo
When we try out new recipes, we will always be susceptible to fails. But isnt it heartbreaking when people do not like what you put hours in cooking? You did the right thing by coming back and trying it out again. And the next time you got the seal of approval by hubbz :))
Just read this. Quite a captivating one. My brother was visiting with his fiancée, decided to cook potato croquettes… Ooh the horror.. Seeing them break apart in the oil was killing me. And to think I stayed in the kitchen for aloooong time hadi they were asking what in God’s name was keeping me there. Decided to serve them up to look like mashed potatoes. The taste was heavenly, and they kept giving their compliments.. I kept looking at my guy and smiling because we both knew how they were to turn out…best kitchen fail ever.
LOL!!!!!!! That was such a brilliant way to save your fail :DDDD.
I tried out Kaluhis Fish Burgers with Lemon aioli yesterday and my Kenyan husband liked them so much.
But the only thing I did wrong was to take the already cooked Red cabbage that you can buy in a glas in Germany. The second mistake was that I lightly boiled it in a pot as you always do in Germany before placing the cabbage on a plate. This was the worst mistake ever, as the heat made my aioli run down the sides of my burgers. But still the fish burgers looked ok and my husband liked the taste very much. But next time I will definitely use dry red cabbage. By the way I added arugula that you eat on Italian pizzas, on top of the cabbage before covering the burger with the top bun. It was a nice extra taste.
Thank you Kaluhi for your wonderful recipes. With these recipes I can suprise my Kenyan husband and give him the feeling of being at home in Kenya. For me it also feels good as I also miss my second country Kenya.