Christmas entertaining disasters

Would anyone be prepared to share a Christmas entertaining disaster…eg 20 guests, turkey frozen inside burnt outside, hostess drunk on Harvey’s Bristol Cream by 9am…I’m writing a little article on effortless entertaining and I would like to include a funny story…names will be changed to protect the guilty!

Hi Josephine,

I think you get the prize for The Most Disastrous Christmas! I hope that despite all indications that you have a lovely Christmas this year.

Wendy x

I think the incinerated parsnips, as referred to in a previous posting, are a rite of passage. Mind you, after a few G&Ts I still manage to forget all about them until we're on the pud! By which time I'm past caring.

Perhaps the worst(of many) Christmas lunch disasters was our first year in our 'own' house in France. Determined to make it The Best Christmas Ever(should have known better after all these years) we had moved heaven and earth to at least have a working bathroom in our cold and unloved house, and a great Christmas lunch for all our family flying in from the Uk, in our equally cold and unloved kitchen.

First disappointment - free range chicken ordered from a market stall ,cost about €25 and could have rivalled Twiggy in the chest department! Note to self, don't buy chickens off the market.

The problem was made worse by the fact that as the chuck was large I had to buy a large roasting tin to accomodate the b....y thing - more unneccesary expense on top of new bathrooms et al.

Then.... on Christmas morning the ultimate nightmare... the tin was too large for the oven.

'Roast it on the baking sheet that came with the oven' suggested youngest but daftest of daughters. Yeh great -what bit of fat there was on the bird roasted out, flooded the baking sheet and dripped onto the floor of the oven. Not one of Baldrick's best cunning plans!

Somehow the lunch was cooked, served and eaten ... Dad retires to the armchair strangely quiet for him ... a few minutes later we realise he is not really with us!

Result ... we spend Christmas Day evening in A&E having been transported there by three very jolly pompiers with OH having ECGs and brain scans. What a relief to find he had actually got one.. a brain that is. It was the high spot of a doomed day.

We're going to the UK this year. And it looks suspiciously like a yet another well planned event going pear shaped if the weather forecasts are anything to go by!

The only Christmas disaster (that I can remember) was after I'd had too many sherries and went take the huge pan of roast potatoes out of the oven - dropped the lot on the floor. That was bad but what was worse was that I went back to the guests giggling and told them what I had just done!

Other disasters 1. Made a sponge cake for my husband (before we got married) and thought that blue was a pretty colour.......... too much liquid colour resulted in, what he lovingly remembers, a blue Spontex before putting it in water!

Our first posting abroad was to Khartoum (I was a green 22 year old) and for one dinner party I thought I would try to be extra smart and do vegetables in aspic. To cut a long story short, adding more gelatine (because it was an extra hot day) to make sure that the party piece set made for a beautiful display but cutting into it was difficult and as for eating it..........well!!

Here's a link to the article that appeared in N4 Normandy. I wish I could have included all your stories, but it would have been a different article...perhaps next year! I have a few more recipes from Anne if anyone would like to see them, let me know and thank-you all for confessing. I hope you have a disaster free Christmas and a peaceful and profitable 2011.

Excellent James!

You could have told them it was sushi Fiona…I presume there were no fatalities!

Your stories are fabulous James!

Thank-you all so much, that’s so funny…doesn’t that Christmas pudding look scrumptious! Reminds me of my dad, trying to put videos into the machine the wrong way round…

Girl after my own heart!

Ooops! Welcome to France and SFN Christine, I’m sure you’ll find it a useful, informative and fun place to be!

I have on a few occasions left the parsnips in the Aga and not remembered them until the following day, beautifully charred, and a similar result with some red cabbage.

Reading these posts, I’m wondering how much roast plastic we have all eaten in our lives.

LOL. Sorry Wendy, I misread your post and was trying to make you feel better!

I had an aunt who had no cooking talent whatsoever but for some reason ended up being in charge of the Christmas turkey. She just put the whole bird in the oven with no stuffing and giblets still in the plastic bag inside. So, we did end up ordering pizza :slight_smile:

Very ingenious!

Same sister then rescued a potential disaster at our first Xmas dinner in France. I got the size of the turkey wrong for the 8 people who were expected to attend and who actually turned into 11. She managed to create a chuckley by stuffing 4 chicken breasts in between the skin and the turkey breast thus providing enough meat for all

Thanks Catharine, I’m a great believer in" what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over" when it comes to catering malfunvtions! Very brave of you to cook for eight at any time let alone when about to give birth…

I once stuck the plastic covered goose in the oven the day before to ‘store’ it somewhere where the dogs couldn’t eat it. Forgot it was there and turned the oven on. Mother alerted me to the smell of burning plastic. We retrieved the goose, scraped off the burnt plastic and didn’t confess.

Another year I cooked for eight, cleared up and then threw them out as they were drunk, enjoying themselves and getting on my nerves…

In my defence I then gave birth to Tilly, two hours later!

Thanks Steve, that’s just the sort of thing I’m after!

Many moons ago I remember my sister pressure cooking a Xmas pud in the plastic container she’d made it in. Hadn’t checked it was suitable and it melted so it was Xmas pud + plastic rather than custard