Want a good reason to eat out?

Thanks to everyone who entered our recent ‘Funny baking or dinner party stories’. I found some of them so reassuring. Yes, I thought it only ever happened to me! Here is a selection of the stories you sent in. With a couple of mine hidden amongst them.

From Giselle Berger – Hilarious!
My funny story is about the very first dinner party I had when I was 19 (a lot of years ago now) – I thought a cheese souffle to start, duck with orange sauce with vegetables for main and mint choc ice cream for dessert would be fine. There were four of us. Well, the cheese souffle did not rise, so we had a cheese omelette to start . The orange sauce for the duck was a custard. And when I started carving the duck, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Poking up through the carcass was the plastic bag complete with giblets etc!! The brussel sprouts were rather too hard but the potatoes were alright. The mint ice cream melted before it was in the bowls – this is in the days before freezers and all we had was an ice box in the fridge!

Another time (10 years later and also a long time ago now) I was making a Chinese dinner from scratch – home made pancakes for the Peking duck, stir fry chow mein and ambitiously I was making toffee apples. Into the saucepan went nearly a whole bag of white sugar but it didn’t seem to caramelise. So I took a fork put it in the boiling mixture and attempted to see if it was caramelising by putting it to my mouth. Well .. Apart from being very hot – it caramelised on my teeth… very attractive! And very difficult to remove I seem to remember!

From Debbie King
I once cooked pizza and when I noticed a funny smell realized that I had failed to remove the polystyrene packaging underneath the pizza base. The whole lot had turned black and melted with the pizza base. How did I realise, you ask? When I opened the oven, the black smoke which billowed out kind of gave it away…!

One of mine
One of my friends was a professional cook and often served up a gorgeous, moist coconut cake made from mashed potatoes!. I loved this cake, and she often made it for me. Fueled by the novelty value of this she told me she could make a mince meat tart (as in mince pie) using cabbage and stewed apple. She made me some and we served it up for dessert. All the family knew what the greenish filling to the tart was, but couldn’t make too many remarks as we had unexpected visitors call in just as we were serving up dessert. Yes, they said they would love some. We had to hide our smirks, and then – yes! They said they would like more!!!! It was more than we could bear, the cat had to come out of the bag. I don’t think they ever called at a meal time again.

From Kay Dawn Wilson
When I was in college several friends of mine LOVED having Mexican Food, but could never find any of the ingredients or even restaurants that had anything worth trying. So, about once a semester we would have our parents send us needed supplies and we’d spend a day cooking and enjoying each other’s company. I was in charge of making a large pot of beans and had everything going just fine. I’d always used a slow cooker, so I wasn’t used to the fast temperature a stove would release or the amount of beans I was cooking. Well, about an hour later someone came rushing to my dorm room asking if I was cooking something because it was obviously burning. I ran to the kitchen only to find the hallway filled with smoke & reeking of beans. Alarms started sounding & the whole north end of campus was evacuated. No damage was done, but the girls on that particular floor did not like the idea that their whole hall smelled of burned beans for weeks on end. Needless to say, we had our lovely Mexican dinner that night without the fresh beans.

From A Roe
The most unfortunate dinner party I ever hosted was decades ago for my then in-laws. Shin of beef in a delicious sauce, probably Elizabeth David inspired. After faces being pulled, the in-laws asked why the meat was so grisly, ought they to have a word with the butcher?

I told them no. I hadn’t realised, being the early days of married cookery and meat dishes having been a rarely affordable special treat till then, that I should have cut the wiggly strings of grisle out. So I nearly earned a reprimand for the butcher, who supplied us with the perk of discounted meat, from the shop which the the in-laws had recently bought . (I’ve since given up meat and in-laws, bless them)!

I’m not owning up to this one
My friend did the catering for a local hostel. Packed lunches taken, and all residents out for the day, she set to to make a bread and butter pudding for the evening meal dessert using the remains of the bread from the bread bin. It was lovely, full of fruit & nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkled.

When the residents tucked into their pud later that evening, one of them got a terrible surprise – a spam sandwich in the middle of their pudding! Yuk!

From Lorraine Vaughan
I was making a chocolate cake for a family dinner party. It came out like a Frisbee, then I realised that I had left out the flour from the mixture.
I broke it up into pieces and liquidized it, together with the double cream that should have been in the middle of the cake – and served it up as chocolate mousse !
Delicious – and nobody was any the wiser !!

From Celeste Jacques
When I was at school, I was instructed how to make bread by our Home Economic teacher.
However, I was guilty of being your typical chatterbox, so of course my friends and I missed the explanation about exactly how much yeast to put into the bread…..
Well, it came time to put the bread in the oven and I proudly placed mine in.

The first thing that my mate and I noticed was a strange almost breathing sound coming from our oven. It sounded like a panting beast. We discovered this was actually our bread contracting and then expanding. We decided to ignore it and hope for the best. The next thing we knew there was an almighty bang as our never to be loaf exploded all over the oven. We (and the class and teacher) had never been so frightened. This was followed by hysterical laughter and a lunch time spent cleaning up the mess!!!!

From Linda
My worst experience was many years ago when friends were around for dinner(before my kitchen became the healthy eating zone it is now!). I was cooking chips in a deep fat fryer next to an open window…..a huge crane fly flew in & (overcome by the steam) dropped into the fryer & ejected all it’s legs amongst the chips…….yuk! (no we didn’t eat them!).

From Maureen Feldman
I very carefully made a cheesecake in a loose bottom pan to be used as a dessert cake later that day. I then cleaned the worktops and floor of kitchen carefully and when the oven was at the right temperature I picked up the cake tin to put this in the heated oven when unexpectedly the loose bottom fell through on to the floor with the whole contents of my carefully made cake spattering everywhere !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Mary Humphrey
My Aunt and Uncle were coming to lunch for a ‘flying visit’ so Mum had prepared a posh lunch with a Knickerbocker Glory type dessert which she had place in the freezer to set quickly.
Well, you can guess what happened – yes the dessert was frozen solid.None of us realized this until we tried to eat it and could only tap at the surface!
It certainly ‘broke the ice’ and had everyone laughing.
Mary Humphrey

When is a soap not a soap? When it’s a soapod

Soapods are a revolutionary new product. They are 100% natural and work as a detergent in washing clothes. Soapods are nuts harvested from the Soapnut tree native to India and Nepal. This really isn’t an April fools joke! Honestly, the Nepalese have been using soapods for centuries as a washing detergent.

There are several advantages to using the soapods: they reduce colour fading; they act as a fabric softener and there is no need to add any further softener to your wash. They are 100% natural and environmentally sound – no chemicals whatsoever. Plus this little industry brings much needed work to the Nepalese. The soapnuts come in 3 sizes, 190g bags (£4.95), 500g bags (£10.50) or 1kg bags (£19.95). You need 6-8 nuts per wash, and each handful will last 3 washes. You have to put the nuts in a cotton bag supplied, bash them with a rolling pin and pop in the wash. Save the bag and use for 3 washes, then compost the nuts and reuse the bag – hey presto – an environmental revolution.

I have been asked how they cope with nappies or rugby socks? The best advice from those who know, is that you will need to add a little Ecover fabric bleach to the really heavily soiled washes, but otherwise those who have tried them are totally converted. Fantastic for those with septic tanks of course.

Wash day misdemeanors

We recently ran a ‘funny washday stories’ prize draw at GoodnessDirect whilst promoting the amazing soapods.

The stories kept me chuckling as they poured in over my desk. Making me laugh at your expense indeed! There are more men wearing pink pants out there than any of us may realise, but now the secret is out. Here are a selection of the stories sent in.

One of the many pink pants stories from Jasvinder (usually pink, never blue!).
I am terrible at washing. The other day I decided to give my husband a surprise and did all the washing (giving him a break from his routine). What do we end up with? A whole load of pink stained clothes. I made the mistake of thinking my cotton magenta skirt would not give out colour! So now he wears his pink stained boxers and shirt to work (thank God for the overall he has at work to coverup)! And it was one of his best shirts. He is even careful when taking anything out of his trouser pockets as he doesn’t want to shock anyone with pink pockets!

From Catherine Stell
About 10 years ago I was stood in the garden hanging my washing out when my brother turned up to give me a lift to B&Q. I quickly locked my house and jumped into his car. He helped me chose what I needed at the store and it was not until I got to the till and and reached for my purse that I realised I still had my peg bag over my shoulder and not my handbag! He still calls me Peggy to this day!

From Pam Wisner:
My husband was traveling a lot to and from America a few years ago. It was during a passport office crisis when passports were taking months to process. He arrived home for two days, dumped his washing, and went back to work. The last thing he said, was ‘ make sure you take my passport out of my shirt pocket before you wash it ‘. The next time I recalled his words were when I pulled the washing out of the washing machine, and his passport slid out of the top pocket of his shirt! It looked like it was made of very cheap toilet roll! Fortunately the passport office were able to process his new passport in time for him to go back out to the US.

From Kate in Bristol
My husband’s rugby team (some years ago), Old Emanuals, played in pure white (don’t understand that concept for rugby, but hey, that was their traditional colour!) Until part way through the season in 1990, when somebody washed the kit with a red article & the team had to play for the rest of the year in pink!

From June of Spilsby:
My husband put his white decorating overalls in with the white wash. Should have been fine but he didn’t take the red rag out of his pocket that he had been using to wipe up spills. I didn’t mind my underwear being a pretty pink but he wasn’t impressed with pink overalls!

From Emma Brown:
I have a little story about ‘washing’ that you may like, it’s a story my mum told me about an accident that happened when she was a little girl….

Her mum had spent the day washing and was quite tired by the afternoon, she only had one load of washing left to do and was ready for a break. She took some clothes outside to hang on the washing line; in those days my grandma (my mum’s mother) would put newspaper on the line first and then drape a jumper over the top so a “line” wouldn’t appear on their clothes.
She had draped newspaper over the line and placed my mum’s favourite jumper over the top. She wanted to cut the excess newspaper off and so went inside for some scissors. She came out and stood looking at the newspaper, it dangled down beneath the front of the jumper facing her, and so she proceeded to cut it on both sides. She began with the front of the jumper which lay in front of her. Cutting the front was easy as she could she the newspaper and jumper in front of her.

When it came to cutting the opposite side, she thought she would just carry on cutting from the same side of the washing line. All she could see was the newspaper on the inside and not the jumper lying over the top (does that make sense?).
Anyway, as she began to cut blindly, she felt it tough going! She thought the paper seemed very tough to cut through, you know where I’m going with this don’t you? Well, you’re right, she didn’t realise the jumper was as long as the paper on the opposite side and had cut right through the jumper!! She stopped, a little too late, and realised what she’d done. She apologised to my mum for ruining her favourite red jumper and said she “vowed never again to do the washing when she was tired”! Thankfully, she never did. Although, she did make a mistake with the ironing once, but that’s another story!

From Karen Macdonald
My poor mother was ill with cancer, and living with my young sister at the time. My mother’s older sister, Auntie M., gave my mother the ‘long loan’ of a most beautiful mohair dressing gown to keep her warm and wrap her in Auntie M’s love for the duration of the illness, since she herself couldn’t nurse her beloved sister. Well, my sister, who happens to be a professional tailoress and dress designer, was somewhat harassed, and also trying to bring up a young family, so when the mohair dressing gown needed a wash, she popped it into the washing machine woollen wash programme!! The dressing gown originally fitted my 5’7″ mother …….You can imagine my sister’s horror when the garment came out all beautifully felted and ready to fit a three year old child!! Perhaps Soapods would have saved the day!!

From Mrs Melbourne
Soapods, I am a great fan of these! If anyone asks us what washing powder do you use? My children love to say NUTS!!

A tip from R McCorrie
If you wash an item with a paper tissue in the pocket and get lots of little bits everywhere instead of spending all day picking bits off just put the whole wash (as long as the fabrics are suitable of course) into the tumble dryer which takes most of it into the fluff filter any that remains is dry and can usually be brushed off in half the time. (Can you tell I have had to do this more than once !!!).

Maria from Cumbria
I went on holiday once, my mother in law decided that she would do all the washing left in the basket for me for when we returned. About three weeks later I noticed my two year old niece wearing a felt cardigan that bore a startling resemblance to a lovely Laura Ashley one that I had put out to go to the dry cleaners before going away. Then the penny dropped, and even though it was over 20 years ago I still miss that lovely cardigan but I got some pleasure in seeing my niece wearing it, the really odd part was that my mother in law never mentioned it and neither did I even though she must have realised that I knew !

From Jenny Everett
I was washing my sons school shirts and decided the collars needed a bit more detergent, so I sprayed them, but when I looked at the can found I had sprayed them with Fly Spray!

Nell from Poole
When my daughter was about three my sister knitted her a Paddington Bear jumper from some balls of “wool”she’d found in a sale. My daughter adored the jumper and it was very easy to keep clean. I would just throw it into the washing machine and it would come out looking like new. After a couple of years I realised that although Emma had outgrown everything else the jumper still fitted her, though you could now see daylight between stitches. For another couple of years we all watched, fascinated, as the jumper grew with Emma, expanding slightly every time I washed it. We wondered if she would still be wearing it at eighteen. Alas, after about four years the jumper reached its limit – now looking more like crochet than knitting – and was passed on to one of Emma’s jumbo teddies. We still laugh about the incredible stretching jumper.

From John from Port Clarence
Whilst we were on holiday last year and the 17yr step daughter stayed at home, on arriving home we asked her if everything had beenwhilst whist we were away. Oh course, no problems at all.

However, on ringing my step son the next day, who lives around the corner , he proceeded to blab about her little incident after putting a load of washing into the machine. She picked up the laundry liquid , measured it out and put the machine on. 20 mins later on returning back to the kitchen she was met by a 5′ high wall of bubbles and suds coming out of the washing machine.

She rang him and he came round to se what the problem was. He managed to get rid of the bubble mountain and checked that the machine was okay , then discovered the problem. She had used washing up liquid instead of laundry liquid.

From Paula Newton
Your article brought to mind a little mishap I had while at cookery school. We were required to wear full chef’s whites in the kitchen each day. I had several jackets and aprons and one weekend, as usual, I sorted my whites and put them in to wash. I didn’t realise that I had previously thrown in one of those yellow dusters (a brand new one at that!). When I took the laundry out I only noticed that the duster was in there but nothing else. On Monday morning, we lined up in the kitchen to listen to the introduction and it was then, amongst my fellow students that I stood out wearing my chef’s ‘yellows’! Lots of sniggers and needless to say, I didn’t wear them at school again!

From Vicky Saunders
My poor doggy had an accident on his bed so I washed it. On the Saturday night hubby was going out for a do and I quickly shoved his good clothes in the wash after the dogs bed forgetting to clean the washing machine! He looked like a yeti!! All the dogs hairs were stuck to his nice black shirt!!!

From Laura Head:
We were due to go to one of my best friend’s weddings the following weekend, so I took my other half out to get a suit. He has expensive tastes and the one that took his fancy was a £300 Ted Baker suit, which he looked fantastic in, so he bought it. The wedding was wonderful, 30 degree heat, sunshine all day and the bride looked beautiful, we enjoyed fruit juices on the lawn, a three course sit down meal and an evening buffet.

We eventually went home tired and full of food. My other half threw his suit on top of the washing basket and we headed off to bed. I got up early in the morning, and thought I would start the washing early, so that I could get the work clothes ready for the morning.

I scooped up the suit trousers and trotted off to the washing machine.

Some hours later, a horrified boyfriend came wandering into the living room.

His trousers had dried. Not only had the legs shrunk three inches, but the waist had as well, so not only were they much too short, they were too tight as well.

He was so cross and it took me many hours of apologising and groveling to achieve forgiveness…

Sometime last year I bought a brown crochet wool top that I fell in love with. I wore it out with my friends children. It went with all of my clothes, and then one of the children spilt food on it. Foolishly I left it in the washing basket, thinking I would get round to hand washing it later. Later never arrived. The jumper was washed, and is now the right size for the child who spilt the food on it. She is three. He had his revenge….

That is just a taster. I received many more. Thanks to you all for being such good sports.