Get my ebookwhen you subscribe to my free newsletter, Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Cooking Through My Collection Fail

Cooking Through My Collection

Today for my Cooking Through My Collection series I have a cooking failure for you. Yes, today I am keeping it real.

In the internet, social media, Pinterest world we live in, failures are not often shared because failures are often not pretty. Have you ever seen a picture of burned cookies on Pinterest? Neither have I. And I highly doubt a picture of a ruined dinner will go viral anytime soon.

The reality is though, that there probably should be a few more pictures  like that shared on Pinterest and around the internet world. We have all burned a few batches of cookies or had a dinner disaster so bad that we had to come up with a plan B. I know I have been there plenty of times. And that is reality more times than any of us probably want to admit.

The problem is we all like to be experts. We want everyone to think we have it all together, serving picture perfect dinners everyday. But we don’t. Or at least I know I don’t. My everyday dinner is far from picture perfect. Disasters have happened in my kitchen more often than I care to admit. And not all the meals I make get rave reviews from my family.

My guess is your life looks about the same. You occasionally burn something. You have an occasional disaster in the kitchen. Your family does not give every meal you serve a five star review. And your dinners look nothing like that picture in the magazine.

Does your life look like that? Good, because than we have a lot in common.

Now you may be asking what all this has to do with my Cooking Through My collection series. It actually has a lot to do with it because not every recipe I try from my collection turns out. Sometimes it is just a bad recipe. Sometimes there is an error in the cookbook. And sometimes my family is just not a fan of the recipe.

My most recent failure from my cooking collection was not a huge failure, but it was not a success either. It was in the it was good enough to eat for dinner once category, but also in the please don’t make this again category.

I know this looks good in the pictures, and I was just talking about things not being picture perfect, but sometimes looks can be deceiving. This might look good in the picture, but it really was not all that great. It was pretty much a failure.

Cooking Through My Collection_

It was edible, so it does not count as a total failure, but what I think makes it a total failure was the cost. This was clam linguine. Clams are not exactly on the list of frugal foods. And although the recipe used canned clams, which are cheaper than fresh clams, they are still not cheap. Especially when it called for quit a few cans of clams.

I figure if a recipe is going to cost me more than my average meal to make, it better taste really good.

I think the main problem with the recipe was the flavor, or should I say lack of flavor. It needed something else in it to make it better. I wish I had realized this when I was making it, instead of when it was too late at the dinner table. I knew the recipe was pretty simple, and I should have realized that it needed something more to season it up and give it flavor.

The majority of my family solved the lacking flavor issue by grabbing the salt shaker and adding a whole lot more salt to their meal. I don’t really consider that a good solution, so I consider this pretty much a fail. If something needs a ton of salt added to it to make it taste good enough to eat, something is wrong with it.

I had high hopes for the recipes, but it was a fail. I have not given up on the cookbook though and will try another recipe from it.

And that leads me to something I have been thinking about. How many failures do you have to have to get rid of a cookbook? For me it is usually takes three or four bad recipes from a book to make me done with the cookbook and ready to get rid of it. I would love to hear if you feel the same or do you give it more chances? Or maybe you even give it less of a chance?


Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I have come to learn that some recipe authors’ tastes are just different than mine. I love to watch Rachel Ray, but I have yet to like a recipe I’ve tried of hers. Doesn’t mean her recipes aren’t good; just means I’m not making it as intuitively as she does, or maybe our idea of what tastes good is different. I find this true of food bloggers and gravitate towards those whose tastes are similar to mine. Once I realized this, I understood why I didn’t like a lot of things other people really seem to like. The bland clam spaghetti would be perfect for many who like bland food (as unimaginable as that seems to those of us who like to spice it up). Viva la difference!

  2. Like you, if three or four of the recipes in a cookbook don’t meet our family’s tastes, out it goes. I will try a recipe a second time if we liked it but it seems to need a little something extra. Some of my favorite things to add to recipes for extra punch are chopped green chilies, Tabasco, salsa, olives and mustard (ground or from a jar). Not all at once, of course. 😀

    • My husband often adds Tabasco or salsa to things to give them more flavor. And I agree with the olives and mustard. They often add a lot of flavor to simple dishes.

  3. I have that problem so often! I will be making something and knowing that it needs more flavor but I don’t know what to add. And then I am disappointed when we sit down to eat it. Frustrating! I’d like to love three and four-ingredient recipes, but often to me dishes are bland without a nice combo of spices, you know?

    If I have several fails in a cookbook, it’ll probably get donated. I have pared down my collection considerably since food blogs exploded. I do try to search for recipes in my cookbooks every week, though, so they get some use! I love Food That Says Welcome, Betty Crocker’s Big Red Cookbook, and Rachael Ray 365 for dinners.

  4. I usually don’t buy cookbooks (anymore – guess I have enough!), especially if they include recipes with ingredients I don’t normally buy, or think some of the ingredients will be difficult to find. Being a working wife & mother, I have more than enough to do without wasting time on fancy recipes that my family probably won’t eat anyway. Clam linguine would probably have gotten an “ewwww” from my kids, and a request from DH for soup & a sandwich! 😛

  5. I don’t buy many cookbooks either – I get recipes off blogs like yours or recipe sites.
    Recently I tried to make caramel – FAIL! It even stunk up the house 🙁

  6. I never throw away cookbooks, because I love to read them. I do have a fantastic recipe for Linguine & Clams that I got from a friend, and is always a family favorite. Sauté 4 cloves of minced garlic and a cup of diced onion in 4 tbs. butter for a few minutes. Add in the juice from two cans of chopped clams, a large handful of chopped fresh parsley and some fresh ground pepper. Let that simmer for 8-10 minutes and then add the chopped clams for an additional 10-15 minutes. Just before serving, pour in a cup of heavy cream, and serve over cooked and drained linguine. I have found the best recipes from friends or in cookbooks compiled by a group as a fundraiser. Those seem to be the tried-and-true recipes made by regular cooks like me!

  7. Nia Hanna says:

    Hi Lynn, I’m sorry your clam spaghetti wasn’t a pleasure to eat. I wanted to share that when we make clam linguini we add a bit of salt, pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. We also fry a few slices of bacon until crispy and mix into our pasta while still in the pot. The recipe says to add clam juice, but I don’t feel its needed because the canned clams have their own juice and why buy something that comes with the clams? And the 2 cans of clams together total the 8 oz called for in the recipe. Just thought I’d share in case you plan to try making clam spaghetti again. I know your intention is to prepare recipes as written in your cookbooks though, so it’s a shame when they just aren’t good recipes.

  8. I’m like you. If a handful of recipes fail from the get-go, I seriously doubt the author put much testing into the recipes. I tried and true. Otherwise, why bother because I can always go to and choose a 4 or 5 star recipe which folks have tried and really rave about.

Share Your Thoughts


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.