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Last week, we asked you to tell us your worst food foibles. We heard a lot of instances of people eating sour cream when they were expecting whipped cream, salt in lieu of sugar, and of course, brie instead of pie. Traumatic plot twist! What follows are far and away the worst stories of food-based mistakes:

You know the saying look before you leap?:

Oh - I got this won.

Once was super hangry and grabbed a turkey club sandwich at an airport. I was a sweaty mess, pissed off, missed my flight, sat down, ripped the sandwich open took a huge hangry man bite.

Two hours latter I was a sweaty mess, pissed off, sitting down in an emergency room because I had bitten directly into a toothpick and it basically went through the roof of my mouth.

2nd worst day of my life.

Similar, albeit less traumatic:

I was about 10 years old and was at a friend’s house. He was playing in the basement, and I was upstairs for some reason. I opened the fridge, looking for a snack to sneak. There it was, a jar of vanilla cake frosting, about half-empty! I grabbed a spoon and took a huge bite.

Of lard.

An Italian surprise:

I had a spacey friend in high school who had gone to an Italian restaurant and been served bread and olive oil for the first time. She became obsessed with it, and one night we were at another friends house and she came down the stairs eating the very same concoction, or so we thought. Upon entering the kitchen, I find a loaf of bread with a piece hacked off and a jar of yellow dish soap next to it. Homegirl was straight up eating soap on bread.


If it looks like guac, walks like guac, and talks like guac, it still might actually be wasabi:

I was with my buddies and we went to a sushi place at around 1 AM after a night at the bars. The type of sushi place that has an ad for 1/2 price sushi, but it’s literally always 1/2 price. When my plate arrives I think “ooh, it came with some guacamole!” It was not guacamole. I ate the whole thing in one bite for whatever reason. I already don’t like spicy food, and I had never had wasabi before. My buddy said “why are you crying?” “Because I thought wasabi was guac.” “You did not.”

Another wasabi-based mistake:

Once at my cousin’s wedding, after a few beers during the cocktail hour, I made my way over to a bowl of what I thought were Wasabi peanuts. After popping a couple in my mouth, I realized it was a bowl for Olive pits. Awesome. Killed all the germs with copious amounts of alcohol.


Italian brownies:

When I was about 9 I decided I wanted to make some brownies by myself, I had a box of Betty Crocker brownie mix and I start making it. Well, at some point I realized that we didn’t have any oil, we did however have a bottle of italian salad dressing. In my mind, I thought using the oil from the salad dressing was a good idea. It was not. I made italian dressing flavored brownies.


Scrambled-egg brownies:

Not my own mishap (I guess), but my ex girlfriend’s little sister (12 or 13 at the time) baked us brownies one day, just to be nice. During the egg-beating process, she misread the instructions to say “beat the eggs fifty times,” and counted to fifty, not paying attention to the fact that the eggs weren’t completely beaten. So she put the batter in the pan, baked the brownies, and as we bit into them, something smelled like a smelly egg-fart. I looked down to find what looked like scrambled eggs in my brownie. She told us what happened and while laughing and crying, I continued eating the egg brownie, because it was a brownie god damn it.


Not donkey meat:

This is a story in three parts.

When I was a little girl, I was in an Italian grocery store in Hazelton, PA. My sister and I were looking at the deli counter and saw something we’d never heard of before: mortadella. Behind the counter was a little old Italian lady in a black dress and with a thick old country accent. I asked her what mortadella was. She said what sounded like “dunkey meat”. I asked her if she meant donkey, pantomiming ears and saying “eeehaa eeehaaa”. She said “Yes, donkey meat”. Of course, we were appalled at the idea of eating donkey and since she was an elderly lady actually from Italy, she must know what she’s talking about.

Flash forward many years. I was in graduate school in Texas and was driving through New Orleans on I-10 and stopped in at a little Italian deli that used to be in the French Quarter before Katrina. I ordered a muffaletta to go and the man behind the counter asked if I’d like the deluxe, saying that the difference was that the deluxe had mortadella on it. I said that I’m sure it’s good but I’d rather not eat donkey meat. He asked what I meant and I explained about the little old lady. He started laughing and told me that mortadella is actually “fancy bologna”. I laughed too, too my sandwich and went on my way, fairly annoyed at a certain elderly lady in Pennsylvania.

Flash forward again about 4 or 5 years. I was now living in south Louisiana. As I went through New Orleans one day, I dropped into the deli in the French Quarter to pick up a muffaletta to take home. As the man behind the counter is assembling my sandwich, he stops and says “I have to tell you a story about this woman from Texas...”. Yes, he tells me the mortadella story about myself, but by now it’s been greatly embroidered and he was kind of acting it out and doing voices, too. True showmanship and a hilarious story. I waited for him to finish and as he was standing there wiping tears from his eyes from laughing so hard, I said “Sir, that was me”. His jaw dropped. “Lady, I’m sorry! I’m sorry! But its a funny story!” I laughed and told him I thought it was funny, too. I bet you he told people about me until the day the deli closed.


Too many dogs:

Not an accident, but I once showed up at a local burger place with some friends only to find out that they had just closed the kitchen because they were holding a hot dog eating contest that was about to begin. The hot dogs were 3 feet long, and served in long stiff bread kind of like baguettes. I was hungry. The kitchen was closed. So, I entered the contest. I figured, “free hot dogs. why not?” Once it started, it only seemed right to try to be competitive. I wasn’t.

I needed two entire rolls of tums before I could sleep that night. My sweat the next day smelled like hot dogs.


Nuts for nuts:

Mine is a recurring issue based upon my complete and utter lack of impulse control.

To preface, I am deathly allergic to tree nuts. Deathly, deathly. I have been to the emergency room twice with said allergy as a result of anaphylaxis. Some fun with food allergies highlights:

When I was thirteen years old, I was sitting on the couch eating some pistachios. I developed the allergy at age 8 initially as just walnuts, but it spread to other tree nuts over time. I’m chowing down on these things and getting way, way itchy. My mom comes into the room and looks at me, apparently red and blotchy, then looks at the nuts and yells “what the fuck is wrong with you?!” It had not occurred to me that this was a dumb thing to do.

Originally, the allergy was severe, but I could just take some benadryl and it was slow progressing, so I’d be fine. By the time I hit my late teens, though, any damn thing could set it off and it would move quick. Such was the case when I went to get ice cream with my girlfriend. She had walnuts on hers and it never occurred to either of us that kissing right afterwards would be a problem. Within about two minutes, my lips were swollen to hell. To this day, I have to have my wife and kid brush their teeth or wash their hands before coming near me after eating tree nuts (Which sucks and I know is unfair to them, but they make do).

Much more recently, I was living in an apartment with my wife and daughter and we got new downstairs neighbors. Nice folks, they brought us cookies! I love cookies! To show how much I appreciate one, I throw one right down my throat. And then get itchy. And then remember to ask if there’s nuts. Fortunately, I figured it out quick enough and had little enough that benadryl took care of it.

And now, my crowning achievement and the most recent incident. A couple of years ago, I was at work. I used to work our internal help desk and a guy I helped often had just come back from abroad. He gave me some chocolates as a show of gratitude for all the help I’ve given him. Now here’s where shit goes off the rails. I considered my allergy and then turned the chocolate over. Hm, no ingredients. Ah, it’s probably fine! Twenty minutes later, I’m walking my ass down the street to New England Medical Center because I can’t feel my mouth. I got admitted to the ER and wound up stuck there for about seven hours before they released me and let me catch the subway home.


These are the stories of some likely traumatized folks. If you have any more tales of food mixups, feel free to share ‘em below!

Illustration by Sam Woolley

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