Not too long ago, someone asked me whether I ever make mistakes in the kitchen.
Of course, I said with a chuckle, knowing my failures all too well.
I try not to advertise the slip-ups -- which is why the recipe for "light" chocolate pudding that I tested recently won't ever see print.
The pudding tasted like a fine chocolate gasoline. The flavor was so bad, I forbid my husband from trying it. I flushed the dessert down the garbage disposal and then felt momentary pity for the poor disposal.
What a waste of perfectly good chocolate.
My family tree is filled with stories of cooking mishaps.
My grandmother once mistakenly grabbed a bottle of whiskey from under the kitchen sink as she reached for the vinegar to dress the lettuce. My dad loves to tell how my grandfather ate extra helpings of salad that day.
An aunt once blew the lid off her pressure cooker and put a dent in her kitchen ceiling.
My mother exploded an eggplant, roasting it without first poking holes in it.
Kitchen failures are inevitable for anyone who cooks: Souffles fall. Pie crust cracks. Toast burns.
In the face of such failures, do we give up? Never.
We straighten our spine, square our shoulders, smooth our apron and soldier onward.
Much like the reader who wrote recently to tell me of a new beef recipe he had created.
His wife asked him to fix dinner and left him with a recipe.
"It was a sort of stew: Beef, vegetables, beef broth, milk, etc.," he wrote. "I made the recipe, and it was really good -- but sorta sweet."
After dinner, his wife found the beef broth still in the refrigerator and asked why he didn't use it.
There must have been two cartons, he theorized.
Not until their daughter got home was the mystery solved.
"She asked where her container of sweetened chai was," he said. "You guessed it. I used the chai in the stew.
"Both come in cardboard containers. They look alike. From now on, I will use chai in my stew, not broth."
His letter, so soon after my own pudding mishap, got me thinking that there are probably many stories of kitchen disasters out there.
So I'd like to hear them.
Write me or send me an email telling me about your kitchen failures -- exploding vegetables, falling cakes. I want to hear the best of your worst.
I promise to share them in an upcoming column -- and I suspect that, when I do, I won't feel nearly as bad about my toxic pudding.
-- Lisa Abraham writes about food for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @DispatchKitchen.