Cookbook giveaway – The Messy Baker

The Messy Baker cookbookBlogger Charmian Christie has just published her first cookbook, named after her blog. The Messy Baker is is an ode to  real world baking where brownies aren’t perfectly square nor scones perfectly even. From the basic equipment a baker ought to have in his or her kitchen to helpful tips including an emergency substitution table for everything from butter to pumpkin seeds, The Messy Baker aims to demystify baking. You can read about Charmian’s challenges in writing for an international audience in our author interview.  And check out our events calendar for details of signings and other events.

We’re excited to offer three copies of The Messy Baker to EYB members. Enter soon – the contest ends on September 21, 2014.





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  • pgarcia  on  August 24, 2014

    I guess my worst kitchen disaster was boiling a kettle til dry on my brand new ceramic cooktop. It stuck to the stovetop!

  • amylou61  on  August 24, 2014

    I just had one of the worst kitchen disasters today. I put a pan of green beans on the stove and forgot about them. The pan and the beans were black, and the kitchen smells terrible.

  • TheSpicedLife  on  August 25, 2014

    My most famous anyway was a pork roast that was not done until midnight… although just today I totally curdled my chocolate glaze. Sigh.

  • jyms  on  August 25, 2014

    when the dal overboiled onto the stove…

  • madamepince  on  August 25, 2014

    Having tho handle fall off the saucepan I was taking off the stove just after I'd put the yogurt culture in the warm milk. It went everywhere & it took MONTHS to get the sour milk smell gone.

  • deucemom  on  August 25, 2014

    I have so many,it is hard to choose. My first dinner as a married woman, I wanted to impress my new husband with beer battered fried chicken. Suffice it to say, the oil got WAY TOO HOT and our kitchen filled with black smoke the instant I dropped in a piece of chicken. My husband came running and all he could see were my ankles! I have not fried again in 23 years.

  • Zosia  on  August 25, 2014

    My worst was actually a baking disaster, using the residual heat of my oven after broiling some peppers to bake a cake. Thinking I had just set the the dial to bake mode, I had actually turned my oven off. There was enough heat remaining to cook the exterior of the cake and fool me into thinking it was done after the allotted baking time. I learned otherwise when I went to remove it from the pan and uncooked batter started to spill out. I was able to salvage most of it, spread it on a cookie sheet and really bake it. The resulting cookie-cake was ugly but very tasty.

  • AmandaLeigh710  on  August 25, 2014

    I was supposed to be baking vanilla cookies with a Maraschino cherry in the center. The cookie should have stayed puffed around the cherry. After it was baked, the top was supposed to be dipped in melted chocolate. Well, I still can't figure out what I left out of the recipe, but the cookie spread down and around the cherry. My family dubbed them "the boob cookies"! The cookies were never dipped in chocolate because everyone was too busy laughing.

  • milgwimper  on  August 25, 2014

    The fish I was cooking didn't cook, and was undercooked. I didn't realize the ovens heating element was dying. Dinner was interesting. The fish had a weird texture. I like raw and I liked cooked but this was mealy.

  • decklededges  on  August 25, 2014

    The first time I tried to make gnocchi. Potato paste glue all over my countertops.

  • stephlinde  on  August 25, 2014

    I roasted cherries in my oven in what I thought was a deep enough baking dish. They bubbled over, burned to charcoal all over the oven, and set off the whole building's smoke detectors.

  • fjain  on  August 25, 2014

    Making apple butter for the first time, I used a pot that was too small. The walls, stove & floor came out coated in sticky apple splatters. Took me years to be willing to try again!

  • vinochic  on  August 25, 2014

    Trying to make "Perfect Roast Chicken" in an apartment sized, non self-cleaning oven. At 500 degrees, the fat splattered everywhere, including the heating elements. The smoke was so bad it set off the fire alarms and then I couldn't get the smell out for days….

  • christyjs  on  August 25, 2014

    Making a peach pie and accidentally used a smaller pie plate and it boiled over and the stove was a total mess.

  • Mariarosa  on  August 25, 2014

    Microwaving a whole egg. (Yes, I know. Dumb.)

  • knittingfrog  on  August 26, 2014

    Whilst baking my little boys birthday cake I must have used the wrong bowl as bain marie…it broke with almost 500g of chocolate in it…luckily we managed to salvage it as the bowl had broken cleanly…cake was delicious but stress levels were high! I have of course set the grill pan on fire several times…

  • jupflute  on  August 26, 2014

    When I was in fifth grade, I baked a chocolate cake for home ec class. I misread the ingredients list and instead of putting in something like 1/2 tsp baking soda, I put in 1/2 cup (or something like that). I tried to remove as much as possible, but we couldn't get it all. It turns out, too much baking soda makes things taste really, really salty.

  • librarinan  on  August 27, 2014

    A long time ago, when I was a teenager, I got my hair caught in the mixer when I was making brownies.

  • Nsteinen  on  August 27, 2014

    I tried to make a pot of black beans following a recipe in an old cookbook. I was a new cook and didn't realize that one cup of water wasn't enough for a pound of dried beans… Ended up with burned, stuck-to-the pot beans.

  • kimtrev  on  August 28, 2014

    The worst I can think of was when I was sick, put a teapot of water on to boil and then promptly fell asleep. This particular teapot did not have a whistle so I woke up hours later to a strange smell and realized what I had done. The water had boiled out of the pot and the pot was so hot that the spout's weld melted. Needless to say, my next teapot had a whistle.

  • Kerrey  on  August 28, 2014

    When I was baking my "specialty" pie at about age 8, I forgot to add the eggs and it came out like granite. We served it using a hammer, but my grandmother wanted to be nice and asked for seconds. Her second helping cost her $3000 in dental work.

  • rstuart  on  August 28, 2014

    falling asleep while making dulce de leche: yes, the water level fell below the tops of the cans of condensed milk being boiled, and yes they both exploded. Set off the fire alarm, condensed milk all over the walls, floor, ceiling, and appliances. And a rather dim-witted cat trying to eat it. Took me ages to clean up, and I kept on finding dried dulce in the oddest places for months…

  • kitblu  on  August 28, 2014

    I am not a baker, never have been. I was a Big Sister in my 20's (early '80's). One time we needed to bring a dessert to a function. I found a recipe for carrot cake and purchased the ingredients. The two of us proceeded to make the recipe. DISASTER! It did not solidify into a cake. We had to abandon the recipe and buy something.
    Later I talked to a baker who told me that the proportion of liquid was much too high. I took it as a sign to forget about baking desserts.

  • JaneC  on  August 28, 2014

    Made bread with yeast that had no life to it. Persisted in baking it anyway–loaves were like bricks.

  • mosquints  on  August 28, 2014

    I made a huge batch of turtle cookies for Christmas one year, (hundreds of these things) and I used bitter chocolate not semi-sweet. They were the grossest cookies I ever made, luckily I learned that lesson and now make delicious cookies year round 🙂

  • percussion03  on  August 28, 2014

    I have had too many to count! Probably some "interesting" meringues and cakes my sister and I made when we were 10 or so. Or maybe the shoo-fly pie from that era…

  • rhelune  on  August 28, 2014

    Forgot about oil heating in a pan and charred the ceiling.

  • BrandanWH  on  August 28, 2014

    My first thanksgiving cooking an entire meal by myself, the turkey took 3 hours longer than expected, I had to use stove top for my stuffing because the homemade version that my mom mailed never made it and I'm pretty sure I sweated through 3 shirts because the kitchen was so HOT! Everyone said they had a good time, but I was more than a little over whelmed.

  • earthnfire  on  August 29, 2014

    I've always seen recipes as "suggestions" rather than "rules", but this one time I followed a recipe for making oven-baked ribs exactly as called for – they were about 2 hours overdone! SO much for that one…

  • Sausagetarian  on  August 29, 2014

    I was blending a batch of root vegetable soup. It was heavy on the beets and carrots. For some reason I didn't hold the lid of the blender down when I turned the thing on, and violent purple-orange soup spattered everywhere–the ceiling, the cabinets, the counter, the floor. Even the window. It looked like I'd murdered an alien in a very gory manner.

  • Trendycat  on  August 29, 2014

    Boilovers . . . boilovers . . .

  • trudys_person  on  August 29, 2014

    I forgot the sugar in a batch of ginger snaps once … and I put potatoes in to roast and went to visit my neighbours across the hall – forgot all about the potatoes … my husband came home to an apartment full of smoke and couldn't find me – OOPS!

  • Imalinata  on  August 29, 2014

    I somehow managed to burn an entire pot of gravy. I didn't burn the roux, but somewhere between roux and finished gravy it got burnt. I still don't know what I did wrong, but I've never had it happen again.

  • Celestialsfire  on  August 29, 2014

    I have too many to count. One in particular caused the smoke alarms to go off and made my toddler and his cousins freak out. I had reviewed a cookbook recipe for overnight pumpkin cheesecake instead of baking in a bain-marie and because it was in a springform pan all the liquid from the cheesecake oozed out onto the floor of the oven and caused a lot of smoke to rise out of the oven. I mean the smoke was pouring out. The cheesecake tasted wonderful though. I learned my lesson, always place a pan or foil underneath the pan you are baking in.

  • Julia  on  August 29, 2014

    I did set the oven on fire while cooking three racks of lamb for a dinner party. We contained the fire and served the lamb charred to rare, not what I was planning.

  • mjrr  on  August 30, 2014

    Green velvet soup, made with Brussels sprouts. Disaster!

  • pokarekare  on  August 30, 2014

    Ah, which one to choose! Too many! Well, one was flaming the brandy for the Christmas pudding under the exhaust fan over the stove top. The fan sucked up the flames, the filter cover melted and resulted in a shower of dirty old carbon pellets in the brandy, over the pudding, the leftover turkey and vegies, the bench and the floor. In my new home I have a much different filter over the stove top. No chance of a repeat performance!

  • HeatherLynn  on  August 30, 2014

    My worst kitchen disaster was actually my husband. He tried to cook a steak on the stove top and burnt the steak up! The room was full of smoke and did I mention I was in labor with our second son?!

  • louie734  on  August 30, 2014

    Most recent kitchen disaster was forgetting the flour in a hot fudge pudding cake recipe. Well the cake part was a disaster… it turned out to be just pudding.

  • Bonniem  on  August 30, 2014

    Burnt a pot of boiling water shortly after having a baby, sleep deprived, I suppose.

  • mikejunew  on  August 30, 2014

    Not expecting the pies in my oven to bubble over and having a burned mess in my oven!

  • JenniferAnne  on  August 31, 2014

    My worst was when I forget to put sugar in the cranberry sauce one year at Christmas
    JenniferAnne74 @

  • Taxlady  on  August 31, 2014

    When I came to the United States in the early eighties, I tried to make rolls based on a recipe from a German cookbook. However, the flour didn't cooperate and I ended up with hockey pucks instead of rolls.

  • shamby  on  August 31, 2014

    I dropped an entire tub of 5 pounds of flour on the floor. It poofed everywhere!

  • tjnelson1hotmail  on  August 31, 2014

    I started sesame seeds on fire in my oven. I panicked, but the fire was already out. Whew!

  • gqbrave  on  August 31, 2014

    My worst kitchen disaster was when I made chicken tenders for my cousin and her boyfriend. I crusted the chicken tenders with doritos and pan fried the chicken. I didn't take into account that the doritos were already salty when seasoning the chicken. In the end, the chicken was too salty to eat, so I threw it away. I can serve a dish that is sub-par, but I won't serve up a disaster.

  • JulesCk  on  September 1, 2014

    Broken buttercream!

  • Grinsall  on  September 1, 2014

    Avocado mousse which fell on floor whist attempting to remove from mould unsuccessfully!

  • Ordinaryblogger  on  September 1, 2014

    I guess when I turned on the oven with my entire set of wedgwood china in there. Thankfully I realized before anything cracked. CLOSE CALL.

  • mballmann  on  September 1, 2014

    I was making socca in a preheated Pyrex pan and when I put the batter in it, the Pyrex shattered and both the batter and glass shards went everywhere 😛 NOT fun to clean up

  • infotrop  on  September 2, 2014

    Well it was my own fault, but I precariously balanced the beautiful stuffed chicken with sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella in a baking dish in the fridge, waiting to be cooked for dinner for 8, and when an unsuspecting guest opened the fridge, the whole dish fell out, shattered… we went out to dinner.

  • j_h  on  September 2, 2014

    I once made a cake that I swear broke the laws of physics by ending up weighing more than the sum of the ingredients! It was a chocolate fudge cake, but it was a good disaster, it still tasted delicious, just more pudding like than cake like.

  • chawkins  on  September 2, 2014

    The night before leaving for vacation, processed some tomatoes from the garden but had no time to can. So bagged them in ziplock bags and planned on freezing them but dropped one right in front of the freezer and it bursted open, spilling tomato sauce all over the carpet.

  •  on  September 3, 2014

    I don’t know about THE messiest, but I did a pretty great job while making Paleo mayo in a friend’s kitchen today. Oil and egg spraying all over a nice clean kitchen, followed by ground beef drippings making burgers and more grease spatter as I cooked them. Tasted terrific (and resulted in three recipes that will make it onto my recipe blog,

  • cadfael  on  September 3, 2014

    my first batch of fudge was overcooked and looked beautiful-but it was so hard my Dad broke his tooth when he bit down.

  • hihelen_westbrook  on  September 4, 2014

    Not mine, I admit, my brother's (but I got stuck scrubbing the pan) He didn't realise pasta was cooked in water and just filled the pan, turned up the heat and pottered off… Smoke EVERYWHERE!

  • JoLynn  on  September 5, 2014

    I was melting butter for muffins in a glass bowl in the oven while it preheated. I went to join my breakfast guests in the living room while the butter melted. The bowl broke. The butter spilled. The oven caught fire. Smoke filled the house. We threw baking soda and flour on the fire. Firefighters came and squirted foam everywhere… My guests left with no muffins, and not even a cup of tea, but plenty of drama. I was left with a horrendous mess!

  • Mayafairbanks  on  September 5, 2014

    When I was learning to cook I decided to add more eggs into a cake ( thinking to make to lighter, may be, don't know what I was thinking really) the cake came out off the oven cooked but it felt like rubber even to break it apart was more a tearing action. I still remember the experience to this day some 45 years later

  • Joyceeong  on  September 6, 2014

    I put on a kettle of water to boil. Forgotten about it, and went out to do some grocery shopping. When I reached home some hours later, and opened my front door, I smell something smoky! Then to my horror, I realized that I have left my kettle on and forgotten all about it. Of course, there's smoke in my kitchen, from the smoke that came out from the dry kettle's spout!

  • nadiam1000  on  September 6, 2014

    I was making baked Macaroni and Cheese and it had something like 4 cheeses in it. I was using my Cuisinart food processor to grate the cheese – the whole milk mozzarella gummed up on the shredding blade and my food processor burned out right then and there. That was the most expensive macaroni and cheese – it was delicious though. Lesson learned – freeze mozzarella to firm up before grating.

  • marry_bellows  on  September 6, 2014

    salted meringue (instead of sweetened… )

  • raechef1  on  September 6, 2014

    My worst cooking disaster was I was making a pot of curried oxtails in a very old pressure, I feel asleep somehow and the darn thing exploded, there were oxtails everywhere including the ceiling, it took days to get the kitchen completely clean again.

  • brownjalla  on  September 8, 2014

    I hate wearing rubber gloves when cutting chillies, so after cutting the chilli for my curry using my finger to try the curry of the back of the spoon didn't really work. the curry tasted too hot and I couldn't work out why and of course it was my finger that was hot – not the curry.

  • Rosesrpink50  on  September 11, 2014

    Oven fire! I was baking taco shells.

  • hc_bailey  on  September 11, 2014

    My worst baking disaster was doing a layered red velvet cake and then trying to transport it to cake club, which it was for. On the way, a bus pulled out from a junction straight in front of me. An emergency stop later and my car was fine but my beautifully decorated cake wasn't! Thankfully it still tasted good even though it was no longer a looker!

  • maisie_grn  on  September 12, 2014

    I was trying to rush to work and bake cookies and eat lunch. I lit my oven mitt on fire, got locked out of my apartment and had a squad of police cars and fire trucks break into my building to save the day. This is all true. Embarrassingly true.

  • LouiseSWigg  on  September 13, 2014

    Used cornflour instead of icing sugar. Bad mistake

  • stitchan  on  September 14, 2014

    I used pressure cooker once many years back; I still don't know what went wrong but it exploded and the mess was all over the wall, floor and ceiling. Even now I dread to use a pressure cooker.

  • Nsteinen  on  September 15, 2014

    I once cooked a pot of black beans for 8 hours — I made cement!

  • finnipus  on  September 15, 2014

    the lid of the blender coming off while blending blueberries…

  • Joym  on  September 17, 2014

    Once my sister and I were baking and we cracked in a few eggs into the batter, only to realise that the eggs were rotten!!!!

  • enpsmom  on  September 18, 2014

    Daughter wanted to help make cookies – decided that dumping the flour into the stand mixer while it was going was a good thing. Flour coated everything! Cookies were perfect though : )

  • mariasarmento  on  September 18, 2014

    My worst disaster was on a day when I had loads of friends form the lids at home for a playdate! they wantes pancakes and I had a syrup that I had already opened the week before. I don't know why it happened but when I opened the jar it literally EXPLODED all over me and all over the kitchen! No children was injured but my kitchen ceiling was never the same! I can still see some pink dots every now and then – it was strawberry's!!!!

  • Cattereia  on  September 19, 2014

    Fortunately, I've not been as unlucky as many of the other commenters above me. My worst kitchen happenings are pretty much dull in comparison; things like adding too much sugar, or not letting things rest/ proof for long enough.

  • ae.bell  on  September 19, 2014

    My worst kitchen disaster had more to do with my rescue dog than with me, but she managed to decimate the entire Thanksgiving turkey the first year I brought her to my parents house and she was nearly never invited back!

  • IngridO  on  September 20, 2014

    When I was in my early 20s I attempted to steam a whole fish in a wok. I went by the book and when time was up I wasn't convinced it was sufficiently cooked as it was not flaking away from the bones. So, I left it for another 5 minutes, then another, then another. Needless to say it was steamed to Timbuktu!

  • wanda72  on  September 21, 2014

    Water leaked into my cheesecake baked in a water bath. It tasted good, but was very, very, very soggy.

  • KarenJeanne  on  September 21, 2014

    Worst was when I caught toast on fire. I forgot it was in the toaster oven. It's a common occurrence.

  • eliza  on  September 21, 2014

    My mum always said that I couldn't make a mistake that she hadn't already made. Of course the first time I made lemon meringue pie, I put the eggs in too quickly and cooked them.

  • sbh2006  on  September 21, 2014

    I'm an Top Reviewer and am frequently testing out baking books; hands-down worst disaster was when I was testing the babka from the Holiday Kosher Baker and somehow managed to dump a pan of half-baked dough directly onto the heating element, where it immediately caught fire. I slammed the oven door shut and turned off the heat, but the fire continued to burn. Luckily all that Air Force fire extinguisher safety training came in handy and I put out the fire (and made a tremendous mess of my oven, which I then had to clean!!)

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