The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

It’s crazy cookbook time, and I need your calamitous kitchen confessions

with 31 comments

I need help. Not the sort offered by a team of psychiatrists and medical professionals, but that which only you, my freakin’ awesome readers, can provide.

After the piece that shared my ridiculously disastrous cooking escapades was Freshly Pressed on 3 February, things went absolutely berserk. 7,331 people read it on the day. Hundreds commented, and the last time I checked, 706 bloggers had liked it. For some reason, people seem to love embarrassing tales of kitchen calamities, especially ones written by self-depreciating single guys.

Will people really buy a cookbook written by someone whose cookies turn out like this?

For those who haven’t read “5 things I’ve learnt about cooking: the calamitous kitchen confessions of a single guy”, this is what happened when I tried to flip the contents of a frying pan for the first time:

Damn you, Jamie Oliver. After observing everyone’s favourite naked chef continually flip the contents of his frying pan with a deft flick of the wrist (no, that’s not a euphemism), I eventually asked myself why I was the only sap left using spoons and spatulas. The concept of the flip didn’t seem that difficult, and with every celebrity cook and wannabe MasterChef contestant sending their stir-fries skyward in a graceful arc with apparent ease, I made the decision to come in from the culinary cold: I was my time to flip.

I chose to try it for the first time while sautéing mushrooms. I was focused. I was visualising it. I was trying to determine how I should celebrate what I assumed would be a successful attempt. Putting the wooden spoon to one side, I eyeballed the frying pan and quickly snapped it upwards in a forceful yet clinical motion.

I wish I could tell you that the mushrooms landed with a poetic elegance, but I can’t: there’s nothing poetic about a hail of hot butter and fungi raining down around you.

Look at him, the Converse-wearing smug bastard. Source:

At any rate, a lot of the comments people left suggested, among other things, that I should look at writing my own cookbook. I received dozens of emails, texts and phone calls supporting this suggestion, so I decided to seriously contemplate it over innumerable glasses of Scotch, a bottle of red wine and more than a few bags of Skittles Sours. My eventual decision? To attempt the impossible, and write a quasi cookbook that someone is prepared to publish. If people are prepared to pay good money to read about my kitchen debacles and take cooking advice from someone with the culinary ability of an oven mitt, who am I to stop them from wasting their hard-earned?

The book is going to be a compilation of kitchen stories and culinary lessons learned the hard way, but it will also include easy-to-follow recipes with idiot-proof instructions provided by yours truly. I’m writing it under the working title Stirring the Pot with TDoT, but the final name will be something much more eye-catching and scintillating. I hope.

No, I didn't make this, but I can provide step-by-step instructions on how to buy some just like it for yourself.

This is the point at which your help is required. While I have a multitude of personal tragic tales, I know there are countless other amusing kitchen stories out there, and I want to include as many as I can in the book. Any that appear that aren’t mine will be fully attributed to the kitchen failure considerate individual who shared it with me. While it’s only fair, I also believe it’s a fantastic opportunity to show the world that I’m not the only one burdened by culinary shame.

If you are happy to share your cooking disasters for inclusion in the book, send me an email with the following information:

  • What you were trying to do in the kitchen when your catastrophe occurred. What went wrong? What was the outcome? Did you walk away with both eyebrows and all of your digits, or did you end up with a painful memento of your culinary ineptitude?
  • How you’d like to be acknowledged in the book. I’m happy to use your real name, your blogging name or any other witty pseudonym you feel comfortable with. Except Snatch Baggins. I’ve already got dibs on that one, should I ever decide to change my name.
  • How many copies of the book you’d like if it gets published and sales tank, resulting in boxes and boxes of unsold copies lying around. I’m thinking that 38 is a reasonable minimum commitment.

How can you say no to this random guy? Source:

So, there you have it. My shameless plea imploration invitation for you to share your calamitous kitchen stories for inclusion in my yet-to-be-named cookbook companion. Everyone has tales of kitchen woe, so ask your friends. Ask your family. Ask your parole officer.

31 Responses

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  1. I once burned a pan boiling water…
    If you wanna know that one, you know how to get a hold of me. You pretty much know the rest of that other stuff you ask of too. Except I would want you to refer to me as Chrystalyn The Great Zultan 😀


    February 25, 2012 at 17:14

    • The what?


      March 4, 2012 at 20:51

      • Bwhahahaha did you ever see that movie BIG with Tom Hanks? Where the kid puts a coin into The Great Zultan machine and it grants a wish for him to become big as in an adult? Yeah! I keep telling you, you’re gonna be big so you can just refer to me as Chrystalyn The Great Zultan!


        March 5, 2012 at 05:12

  2. Put one f’cking casserole recipe in there and you’ll probably receive fat royalty cheques for the rest of your life. I once singed my bangs and eyebrows on a barbecue once… other than that my memory is rather vague. If I can recall any debaucary in the kitchen – I’ll let you know 😉 xo

    Cakes McCain

    February 25, 2012 at 19:04

    • Does that mean I actually need to figure out how the fuck to cook a casserole?


      March 4, 2012 at 20:52

      • sheesh! it’s a no-brainer!… boil some maccaroni, throw a bunch of crap in there with cheese and hamburger meat, and bake. VOILA!

        Cakes McCain

        March 4, 2012 at 22:10

      • “…throw a bunch of crap in there…”

        That doesn’t sound like an overly definitive instruction. What if people take it literally?


        March 4, 2012 at 22:49

  3. “Ask your parole officer” — best declarative statement and blog ending ever. Holy tomatoes, those are some insane stats!! As I said before, DOoooo it!!

    Unrelenting Amee

    February 25, 2012 at 19:19

    • If any of my readersdo have a parole officer, they’re going to have to buy a copy of the cookbook for them, too.


      March 4, 2012 at 20:54

  4. Clever idea! Alas, I cannot contribute as I rather pride myself in the kitchen. My lovely ball and chain might qualify, but that would require his actual making of a meal at some point, which is sadly not the case. At least not in this life. But I would eagerly read such a tome, all the while basking in my culinary superiority…


    February 26, 2012 at 01:21

    • “…I rather pride myself in the kitchen.”

      I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware we had a culinary god in our midst.

      I’m putting you down for 15 copies as punishment for gloating about your cooking ability.


      March 4, 2012 at 20:56

      • Seems reasonable. I am all for charity. 😉


        March 4, 2012 at 23:31

  5. Oh man, have I got some horror stories for you. E-mail coming soon. P.S. Great idea, and I believe I ‘liked’ the original blog post too. Congrats on your success so far, and here’s hoping much more is yet to come!


    February 26, 2012 at 03:19

    • Thank you for sharing your cooking misadventures, and welcome to The Dissemination of Thought.


      March 4, 2012 at 21:02

  6. Best of luck with the book! And hey, if you need an editor… (cough). 🙂

    Neil Fein

    February 26, 2012 at 03:31

    • Subtle. Very subtle. Have you spoken to a doctor about that cough? It sounds nasty.


      March 4, 2012 at 21:03

      • I can’t pay a doctor until I get more editing work. (Hack, cough.)

        Seriously, when you’re ready, let me know if you want me to ask around for recommendations for editors in your neck of the woods.

        Neil Fein

        March 5, 2012 at 03:14

  7. This is a fabulous idea. In fact, I think if my mother knew about a book like this, she’d buy 38 copies and send one to me everytime I told her I had plans of going into the kitchen.

  8. My advice for cooking: make sure you always always read how much of something is being added. I ruined wonderful poppy-seed muffins by adding 2 cups of poppy seeds instead of 2 tablespoons. They tasted terrible. 🙂 This is a great idea! (If you want other stories I have some.)


    February 26, 2012 at 04:24

  9. I have many stories, one involving chicken and an egg mixture that was not supposed to look like a breakfast from the Waffle House. 🙂


    February 26, 2012 at 10:02

  10. Whoa. Those stats are mind blowing. I’m sorry, I’ve got nothing to offer. Everything I do in the kitchen looks like Nigella Lawson made it. Unless you count the cake I made in high school that I dropped inside the oven while it was still batter. All. over. the. oven. door.


    February 26, 2012 at 10:14

    • How did you manage to drop it inside the oven?


      March 4, 2012 at 21:11

      • As I was putting it in, it slipped out of my hands, talk about a klutz, caught on the rack, and tipped forward spilling batter onto the oven door.


        March 5, 2012 at 11:33

  11. Oh I really wish I had a good story to share. Unfortunately, I’m a girl and these things don’t happen to us.

    Good luck with the book. I’m sure it will be entertaining.

    Curly Carly

    February 27, 2012 at 11:27

    • Until you and Carrie brought it to my attention, I didn’t realise that girls were unable to succumb to kitchen calamities.


      March 4, 2012 at 21:17

  12. i dont cook, so cant help. The last time I tried to cook, I over-cooked gluten free pasta and returned to find it had just turned in a muddy paste. I look forward to reading our book.

    Oh, I do have a batchelor tip for cooking baked bean. Put the tin of beans (opened) in a pot of boiling water, when they are heated sufficiently, eat them from the can with a plastic spoon. Throw to tin and the spoon in the bin, tip the water in the pot down the sink, put the pot back in the cupboard. No washing up! Variations can include adding things to the can of baked beans, whilst they are warming. e.g corn kernels, frozen carot pieces, or cheese.

    March 3, 2012 at 14:23

    • That actually sounds like a useful tip. I’m not sure if there’s room in the book for tips that actually work.


      March 4, 2012 at 21:19

  13. How about doing it in ebook? Don’t think you need a publisher for that.


    March 5, 2012 at 16:39

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