The Worst Entertaining Fails From Our Readers
We’ve all been there. Guests are due to arrive in T minus 30 minutes, and, well, chaos. Or maybe they’re already seated and the main dish has gone horribly wrong. Entertaining, whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner party or orchestrating a full-on feast, can be riddled with near catastrophes at every turn. It happens to the best of us! For proof, we turned to our readers for the tales of some of their most epic hosting fails. Read on—there’s a lesson to be learned from each!
The Fail: “The first time I ever tried to bake a cake from scratch was for my ex's birthday. I was 22 and I had no idea about baking. I bought all the ingredients and started following the recipe, and I don't know what I did wrong, but the batter wound up having giant hard rocks in it. I threw it out and tried again, only to have the same thing happen. The entire thing ended in tears… and box mix cake.” — @kat_george
Lesson Learned: Do a test run (or three!) of every recipe that matters before the occasion. And read the directions thoroughly.
The Fail: “The time a chicken takes to roast. I was having a dinner party (senior year of college) and I wanted to make an autumnal dinner feast for a big group of friends, and because of my dated oven, it took six hours to cook instead of one-and-a-half to two. Luckily, there was enough butternut squash, cheese, and bread—oh, and alcohol—to keep people happy. We just had the chicken for dessert.” — @caculinary
Lesson Learned: Get to know your oven and its intricacies before planning a big meal, and have some easy backups (or good cheese, bread, and olive oil) around in case your main course fails.
The Fail: “I had my family over to host my first Christmas dinner. I preheated the oven for the ham, and soon smelled something terrible. Opened the oven to realize I had been storing my plastic dish rack in there.” — @mrssanderstx
Lesson Learned: First of all, don’t store plastic in the oven. Second of all, give the oven a once-over before turning it on.
The Fail: “A 100-pound lab leaps onto an art directed dining table set for 12, seizes Easter ham in powerful jaws, races through house with ham held high, taking full advantage of circular floor plan. Brothers, uncles, and grandmas diving to capture him and reclaim dinner. Ends with dog devouring ham in foyer while my mother sobs and I make a pitcher of martinis. #timeforacat” — @annabrockway
Lesson Learned: Put someone on pup watch during any large gatherings involving food.
The Fail: “I walked around a party introducing a friend's boyfriend to everyone, thinking I'd help him combat being the shy new guy. After a certain point, he stopped me and said, "EX-boyfriend. Her new boyfriend is here too, though." Oops!” — @mllesarah
Lesson Learned: Know your guests.
The Fail: “For the first Thanksgiving at my now-fiancé’s parents’ house, I volunteered to make the brussels sprouts. I prepped them out the night before in a Pyrex that I put in the fridge. When I popped the Pyrex in the preheated oven, we heard a crazy cracking sound… The temperature change exploded the Pyrex, and the meant-to-impress dish was littered with shards of glass.” — @allgoodnews
Lesson Learned: Let glass warm up a bit and reach room temperature before popping it into the oven.
The Fail: “My best friend from college and I were completely in charge of hosting a breakfast for our friend's bridal shower. Accidentally used regular salt in a recipe for scones that called for kosher salt. NOT tasty. We had to order emergency delivery bagels.” — @sarahannmoe
Lesson Learned: Never assume you can make a substitution.
The Fail: “I got slightly inebriated at my wedding and opened all the cards and took the money out ‘for safe keeping.’ I’m the worst!” — @bynbenn
Lesson Learned: Keep a watch on how many champagne flutes you throw back. On the other hand, it’s your wedding day! That’s pretty much a get-out-of-jail-free card.
The Fail: “I cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey with the plastic bag of giblets, the neck, etc., inside the turkey. We discovered it while pulling all the remaining meat off the bones AFTER Thanksgiving dinner!” — @driftwoodstudios
Lesson Learned: Repeat after us: There is a plastic bag inside every Thanksgiving turkey that must be removed before cooking.