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Kitchen NightmaresThe kitchen can some times be a dark place! Inanimate objects can come alive and unimaginable things can go wrong. Disaster can strike at any time making any chef or enthusiastic cook go weak at the knees . . . enough to make a strong man use the F word or need a stiff drink to steady the nerves.

Below are stories of some of those kitchen nightmares! Many thanks to all who have contributed.

Kitchen Nightmares of Joyce Eastwood:

As a young bride of twenty-three in the Sixties I had invited my mother and father in law for Christmas lunch.

Knowing that they liked chestnuts with their brussell sprouts, I had watched a cookery programme by Fanny Craddock who recommended that the chestnuts should be plunged into a pan of hot oil to ease off the shells. I was really pleased at this idea for I had seen my mother in law struggling to remove the shells before cooking the chestnuts.

On the day I heated up my chip pan and when it was really hot dropped in a handful of chestnuts . . . unfortunately I had missed the bit in the programme where Fanny advised that a slit should be cut in each shell!

As the cold chestnuts hit the boiling oil, each one exploded and shot round the kitchen carrying boiling oil with it. We ducked out of the way as they whizzed round the kitchen and some became embedded in the newly erected polystyrene ceiling.

That was a Christmas to remember.

Joyce Eastwood

Kitchen Nightmares of Liz Alderson:

I have thought quite hard, but being a dedicated cook, I don't have personal dramas that I can't cope with - yes, I've had the bullet potatoes, etc but I've always had something in reserve.

The worst kitchen experience I had was when I helped out in a Children's Home for a weekend - as a favour . . .

I had to cater for about twenty people - children and adult carers.

I planned a good, wholesome meal of casseroled beef and vegetables.

The meat and vegetable casserole was doing great in the big oven - my problem was getting gallons of water to boil to cook the potatoes!

Never underestimate how long water takes to come to the boil.

I was frantic - a huge pan of cold water . . . kids and carers waiting for their dinner . . . I sent out for chips!

The kids thought it was a great treat and the adults - who'd all been there - thought it was a great joke.

I learned to boil the kettle to fill the pan on the stove - moaned like hell about the gas pressure to the boss of the home who pretended to listen but really thought 'Yes, OK, next week our cook will be back - she knows how to cope with all this - you, you moaning minnie will be gone and I don't have to do anything about the gas pressure, because she knows how to cope.'

Liz Alderson

If you have a kitchen nightmare to contribute then email

Published 02 December 2007

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