Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Momsperiments Gone Wrong: Epic Food Fails (Part 1)

For mothers, every new day brings a renewed determination to Do Right by Her Children in any way possible - particularly when it comes to food. But sometimes our culinary efforts fall flat, either because of the nature of the food itself or because of the nature of our children's individual palates.

Here, the first in a series of good food intentions gone wrong. A moment of respectful silence, if you please.

Epic Food Fail #1: Pumpkin Cakes
My daughter's birthday falls right before Halloween, so she has the advantage of a built-in party theme. The kids come in costumes, we blast "Monster Mash" and play pin-the-bone-on-the-skeleton - it's a beautiful thing. For her 4th birthday, I combined a recipe for pumpkin-chocolate-chip cake with a set of fun tins and came up with these whimsical edibles:

How I patted myself on the back when they came out of the oven. What a perfect idea! What a treat! What praise the kids would lavish on me! What a reputation I'd develop as the Perfect Birthday Planner!

What a flop.

It seems that when children go to a birthday party, no matter what the season, they prefer their cakes round, chocolate, flowery and heaped with sugary Crisco icing. Pumpkin, to their minds, belongs in pies or on the front porch - not in cake. The guests nibbled gamely at their dessert for a while, then left most of it on the black and orange paper plates.

So what was the hit of the party?


Or, to be more precise, Oreos coated in melted orange white-chocolate candy disks and pressed into spiderweb and skeleton molds. They took all of 15 minutes to make, and the plate emptied faster than you can say "Trick or Treat." My son ate seven of them and then ran to the bathroom in the middle of the night to urp them up. Between retches, I could swear I heard him say, "I regret nothing!"

So much for my Martha Stewart phase.

More Food Fails to come. Meantime, please share your best examples!


  1. I give you "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest," from Mollie Katzen's cookbook of the same name (successor to Moosewood). Chuck's kids were old by the time I came on the scene: 14 year old daughter, 8 year old son. I decided that they needed more vegetables in their lives. It was Christmas. (Never try out a new recipe at a holiday meal. What was I thinking?) The broccoli spears stood up in a casserole dish of, I can't remember, rice & cheese, perhaps. A broccoli forest, get it? Cute idea, but I didn't watch it carefully enough in the oven and the "trees" got a little burnt. The 14 year old girl observed that it was "autumn in the forest" ... :). I think this was the same meal where I tried to poison her with cloves in the ham.

  2. I don't know which is funnier, the blog of the comment. I can swear the pumpkin-styled cakes would be a big hit with my adult office crowd so send 'em down. And Katja, the broccoli forest was cute. Sad, but cute.