Dinner Party Flop – No Apologies Needed!!

I have always loved this Julia Child quote:

No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.” —Julia Child

I had to take that quote to heart last night.  We had a lovely dinner party with a group of our empty nester friends.   It was potluck and I provided the main dish and dessert.  The main dish was a delicious pork tenderloin with a cranberry and apple sauce.  Yes, I will share the recipe.

The table looked lovely.  Candles make everything lovelier and there was lots of sparkling cider.

Generally when I have a dinner party I like to experiment and try new recipes.  I like to live dangerous.  Last night however I decided to play it safe.  I was going to use recipes I had used before. In fact the dessert recipe is one I have been making since Jim and I were dating.  It is one my mother made in the 70’s.  In other words, it is a tried and true recipe.  I have made it dozens of times.

I’m sure you have too – it is that hot fudge sundae cake where everything goes in the pan and then as it cooks the cake forms on top and a lovely layer of hot fudge is underneath.  I bought some peppermint ice cream to serve with it.

The original recipe calls for it to be made in a 9 x 9 pan.  Since there would be 8 of us I knew that wouldn’t be enough so I decided to double it and make it in a 9 x 13.  Simple enough.  NOT!

Let’s just say some recipes should not be doubled and this is one of them!!

The dessert was hot fudge soup.  No cake formed, just a thick layer of tar like chocolate.

My sweet party guests said it would still be good so we scooped it up and served it over the peppermint ice cream anyway.  And you know what?  It wasn’t too bad.

I joked with my guests that this was NOT going to be on the blog but after second thoughts I decided that it was going to make the blog.  I wanted you to “know the real story.” Even food bloggers have failures but all we need to do is take Julia’s advice – no apologies!

Do you have a favorite dinner party or kitchen flop!?  Please share!!!

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. Gina says

    Just last month I had the same thing happen. I was serving dinner to a group of 22 ladies at my Creative Memories workshop. I too like to live dangerously but thought that I needed to cut myself a break and chose to make a 100 year old, tried and true, hand-me-down recipe of Spaghetti and Meatballs. I had noticed that the pot of sauce smelled a little different, but I figured it was the few spicy sausages that I’d added this time. When it came time to serve, I finally got around to tasting it, and I almost choked. It tasted like chipotle sauce! I was horrified!!! I called a friend over who’s a chef and had her try it and she concurred that there was no fix for it. Who wants to eat spaghetti and meatballs that taste like they’ve been marinated in Liquid Smoke? We quickly threw together another mediocre pasta dish. I just wanted to crawl under the table. Needless to say, everyone said to go ahead and serve it, yet I found plenty of leftovers on the plate. I left the pot out for a couple of hours to cool down before throwing it out. However, the smell was overpowering. Finally I grabbed it to take out back to let it cool in the yard because I couldn’t stand it anymore. Not thinking, when I sat the pan down on the mat to unlock the back door, the whole room came to a grinding halt as you could hear the sizzle of the melting plastic that made up the mat at my back door from the heat off of the bottom of the pan. In 16 years, I’ve never had a flop on that scale. I think that my ladies will be ribbing me for years to come.

  2. Jeanine says

    Thank you for making me feel better. You are such an awesome lady and I’m glad to see you have momoents just like me.

  3. Mary Kathryn says

    That actually sounds like the perfect dessert I am looking for to take to a work Christmas party. Anyway you could e-mail me the recipe?

    I am not as composed as you and stress over things turning out perfectly. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  4. Lisa Hemstreet says

    Thanks Leigh Anne for reminding us that we are all human! I love that you posted this! Will you be posting the original recipe?

  5. Mary Lynn says

    A few years ago, for Easter, I made a layered jello salad. I remember it was orange. When I went to serve the first piece to my Mother-In-Law, the top layer slid off and went full speed ahead across her plate. Well, we laughed till we cried. My Mother didn’t think it was funny. at all. My husband and I still laugh about it. When my MIL was asked if I was a good cook, her reply was, “She hasn’t killed anyone yet.” There are many others–this was the first one that came to mind. Maybe that’s why everyone enjoys coming to our house!

  6. LuAnne says

    Love this post. Your table scape is beautiful. I love how you and your guests were able use the dessert in a different way. I have been known to leave part of the dinner in the oven as we sit down with guests. After my comment of “I can’t believe I did that”, guests always reply with “no problem, there is plenty to eat and enjoy. It is good to laugh with friends when something like that happens.

  7. jen says

    I was trying out a new recipe for a baked shrimp scampi, and since I was having friends over I decided to splurge and buy the really expensive fresh jumbo shrimp (going over my budget). I’m still not exactly where it went wrong, the garlic was extra bitter and the bread crumbs got mushy and gooey. But it was disgusting and inedible. I cried over how much I’d spent and served up chicken nuggets instead.

    Thanks for keeping it real! Love you!

  8. Milly says

    I know you might think this is a strange request given your post but that sounds like an awesome cake and I would love a recipe for it. :) Thanks for letting us in on a flop. It is nice to know those things happen to the best of us!

  9. says

    Many years ago, my aunt and uncle were visiting from England and spending a night with my family. I wanted to impress them as this was my first “grown-up” dinner for them. Thought I’d make something they could only get in North America – avocado mousse. It was more like avocado soup with a dollop of sour cream on top. It tasted all right, just looked like a big green blop on the plates. And to top it off – avocados are actually grown all over, so my British relatives weren’t getting anything new after all. Oh well. We’ve had many great meals together with them since then.

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing!! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there!! Most of my dinner meals are flops, but I’ve taken solace in the fact that I can bake :)

  11. Valerie H. says

    Actually, I recently made your Penne with Spinach and Chicken Sausage. But I like to use regular Italian sausage in it (really good). Well this last time I was making it for when the missionaries and my son’s friend were over for dinner. I couldn’t find the good sausage and so I used a brand from either Denver or Boulder. It was supposed to be “Italian Sausage” but tasted like what a barn smells like. I was not happy with how the dish tasted. That recipe usually makes an easy, no fuss and tasty dish. This last time, I wouldn’t call it that!

    What cracks me up about the comments left by some other is they want your
    “Hot Fudge Soup” recipe. Haa!

    Love your sparkly tablescape.

  12. says

    very funny! once i made a chocolate chess pecan pie and decided to taste it minutes before the guests arrived. it tasted exactly like scrambled eggs dipped in chocolate. yucky! i swear i did exactly what the recipe said but i guess i made a mistake somewhere. :)

  13. Mary Anne says

    Thanks for the laugh Leigh Anne. Made me think of a fancy jello mold that went down the kitchen drain (not on purpose) instead of a platter.

  14. Kim says

    The cake sounds really good. Could you please post the recipe? I love your attitude and looking for humor in the situation. Thank you.

  15. Saleta says

    Oh goodness! LOL

    It wasn’t so much a food flop as a kitchen accident for me, but Halloween a few years ago my husband and I threw a party for a bunch of friends. Since we’re in Texas and all, the main course was buffet style chicken soft tacos with all the fixings, including mexican rice. I was trying to participate in the pumpkin carving, visiting with guests, and the last of the cooking (Big mistake!). After carving pumpkins for a few moments, something in my gut said “check the rice!”. I casually got up and checked the stove, only to find that my rubber spatula had somehow slipped off the stove and onto the electric burner and had melted everywhere. I was mortified!! I picked it up and threw it into under the sink, hoping no one would notice.

    The only person who noticed was a friend who, earlier in the evening, had commented on what a pretty (holiday themed) spatula it was. I didn’t want to explain why I suddenly couldn’t find it… hahaha :)

  16. says

    We’ve all been there. Thanks for sharing this…I realize I’m not alone. It’s nice to have friends that help you laugh it off. Your table looks very festive and inviting!

  17. Jane T says

    I had to laugh when I read your flop story and when you said to share one of our flops, I immediately thought of a time we were entertaining a couple who worked with my husband who I didn’t know. The meal was fine, but I made a baked Alaska for dessert. We were sitting around a small table. I put the baked Alaska on the table and before I could cut out pieces, it began to melt – big time melt. We ended up each having a large spoon and trying to eat the melt before it ran out of the plate onto the table. It was a flop, but we all laughed until it hurt. I have never given that dessert a 2nd chance.

  18. says

    This is what I love about your blog…..you are real. :) Sometimes I don’t get the frills or the drive for ‘pretty’ but it’s ok because you are a real person and it’s the things that make us unique that are most important.

    As for my ‘disaster dinner parties’ does life count?

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