The Opposite Of Tasty

I like to think of myself as someone who’s pretty handy in the kitchen. I love to cook. I’d rather cook with a recipe in front of me, mind you, but when push comes to shove I can wing it. I can make do. If need be, I can fly by the seat of my culinary britches.

But every once in awhile there’s a misfire.

And last night. Oh, last night. Last night was one of my worst misfires ever.

My intentions were good. I was making Melanie’s chicken cakes (a favorite at our house), and I was scrambling around trying to figure out a side dish. I didn’t go to the grocery store yesterday because, well, I decided that staying in my pajamas was infinitely preferable, so I rifled through the pantry and decided I would make some homemade macaroni and cheese.

My mother-in-law makes her mac and cheese with a cheese sauce – which is a little bit different than my recipe – and since Alex loves her version so much, I thought I’d try to replicate it with some bowtie pasta since I was fresh out of macaroni. I was in a little bit of a hurry, so instead of dragging out another pot I just poured off most of the butter that was left in the bottom of the pan I’d used for the chicken cakes. Then I put the pan back on the stove and threw in a little flour. Stirred it all together. Added some milk and cheese.

Now I know what you’re thinking at this point: I should have banished that chicken cake pan to the henhouse before I started making my cheese sauce. But OH NO, I had to be Little Miss Convenience. Little Miss Don’t-Want-To-Wash-An-Extra-Pan.

Anyway, the sauce thickened up beautifully, but once I added the pasta, I noticed that the color was off a little bit. I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong, but as I re-traced my cooking steps, I realized that OH SWEET MERCY, I SHOULDN’T HAVE USED THE CHICKEN CAKES PAN BECAUSE THIS ISN’T CHEESE SAUCE AT ALL.


And I think we all know how cheese gravies are sweeping the country by storm. They’re right up there with fish cornbread.

However, I held on to hope. I thought that maybe the concoction wouldn’t taste as bad as it looked and if it might turn out to be a happy cooking accident. I mean, it didn’t look like much, but food doesn’t have to be pretty to be delicious. Right?

Then I tasted it.

Y’all. It was so far past dreadful that it teetered on the edge of Official Side Dish Tragedy. If I had to give this dish – and please understand that I use that term loosely – a name, I’d call it Chicken Fried Cheese Gravy Pasta With Charred Bits Of Chicken Cakes.

Sort of makes your stomach rumble just thinking about it, doesn’t it?

But here’s the kicker. When it was time for supper, I warned my husband about the bowties. I told him how they didn’t turn out anything like I planned. How they tasted like chicken fried cheese gravy. How it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if he didn’t eat them because I was sort of embarrassed to serve them.

And y’all, he took one bite, looked up at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hmmmm. Gravy! What’s not to love?”

Be sure to let me know if you’d like a copy of the recipe.

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  1. HAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is intriguing and repulsive all at once.

    My mom actually made some sort of homemade mac and cheese last night. She used penne pasta (she was out of elbow macaroni), Velveeta, butter, and milk. It was so good I passed on the other dishes and JUST ATE MACARONI.

  2. What a wonderful Hubs! :)

  3. I’m pretty sure if you would put some crumbled bacon on it, that recipe could become a staple in your home.

  4. Thank God only one co-worker is here right now (and he’s on the phone) because I’m laughing out loud at this–in a good way. Promise. Cross my heart.

    D’s reaction reminded me of Joey from Friends when Rachel makes the English Triffle at Thanksgiving with the beef (if you haven’t seen it, You Tube it….it’s hysterical). Joey says, “What’s not to like? Jam? Good! Cake? Good? Meat? GOOOOOOD!”

  5. BAHAHAHAHAHA! Baha, Ba, hahaha. oh so funny :)

  6. OH my goodness…you completely made my morning! I havent’ laughed this hard in awhile and boy did I need it! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

  7. What a good man!!! :-)

  8. Heee! My stomach is rumbling … but I think I’ll pass on the recipe. Thanks anyway… (my silly boy actually PREFERS Kraft Mac&Cheese to homemade, so why bother?)

  9. I’ve never laughed harder at anything on your blog. Ever. In three years. My favorite was the part about cheese gravy sweeping the country like fish cornbread.

  10. Oh. my. gosh. I laughed out loud at this-really hard! Only because this is SO something I would do. And LOVE a husband who will eat just about anything we can throw at them. Bless his heart!

  11. Awww….then you needed to pull a Justin Wilson and pour a “leetle wine in ya glass.” It might have tasted and looked better then…but your Baptist friends might frown on it. Haha!

  12. Isn’t fish cornbread just hushpuppies? I like hushpuppies!

  13. Kelley beat me to the punch! I immediately thought of Joey Tribiani on “Friends”. He loved the trifle, but Ross said it “tastes like feet!” HAHAHAHA!!!

    What a good hubby. Mine never fails to tell me when my dinners aren’t tasty. So after six years, he gets frozen pizzas on a regular basis. ;)

  14. I love the story. You have a very nice husband! I would have eaten it too, I think.

  15. I love your blog, makes me laugh! I will try the chicken cakes!

  16. hahaha that totally cracks me up – it sounds just like something I would do!

  17. I literally gasped.

    My next thought was that Joey (Friends) would have loved this.

  18. Men and gravy!!! Whats up with that? ha

  19. Between J. Jackson’s hubby who loves her eyebrows as they came from nature, and your hubby who loves your chicken charcoal cheese gravy, and my husband who let me have a crying fit this morning about something that is beyond our control but did not judge or chastise and instead told me how beautiful my hair is and how much he loves me and handed me a kleenex and a Diet Coke, well we are some BLESSED women. That is FOR SURE.

  20. Now wait a minute. You’re saying that had CHEESE and GRAVY? And that it wasn’t GOOD? Are you sure you’re not stretching the truth for a punchline here? Because that smacks of the INAUTHENTICITY to me.

    (I’m kidding. I believe you. But I have to admit I’m fairly baffled. Just from the description, it sounds like you’d have the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of side-dishes on your hands.)

  21. I just noticed something when I looked at the post title on my sidebar. You only have to use ONE letter to change “tasty” to it’s opposite. N= nasty. Not that your chicken charcoal cheese gravy WAS nasty; somehow, I think it was better than you said.

  22. I feel much better now.

    I tried Pioneer Woman’s mac n cheese recipe not once but twice.

    The first time it was okay. Not WOW.

    It turns out, something as simple as not dumping the cheese into the sauce mixture is VERY CRUCIAL. Otherwise, you end up with a gritty mess.

    So I’m done now with homemade mac n cheese.

    Unless you consider my version with Velveeta and sour cream and cream cheese and anything else but the kitchen sink homemade.

  23. Marianne says:

    Too funny!

    Here’s some easy mac & cheese:

    Dice a small onion and add to pot of water. Bring to a boil and add 1 pound of pasta. Drain pasta and layer in a 13 x 9 casserole with shredded cheese, the more cheese the merrier (I use Longhorn colby, but any cheddar is ok too). Add about a cup or so of milk over the mac & cheese, dot with a little butter and bake at 350 until golden brown and milk is absorbed.

  24. It’s great to have a guy who eats anything, as I do, but it does have its drawbacks; like when you want him to taste something to make sure it’s good for guests…

  25. Any man worth his salt will chow down and say he loves it! Of course, I’ve discovered that these type of men are not my sons!

    I need to try those chicken cakes! They sound yum!

    Be blessed!

  26. You married a good man. Martha did a great job, and I would like her mac and cheese recipe written out just like she talks.

    Martha reminds me so much of my own mother, that I grin over each story.

  27. How funny. Thanks for sharing your misadventure in the kitchen. Maybe we can all learn from it. LOL!

  28. I think I’ll pass!

  29. :D
    I can’t make homemade mac and cheese to save my ever lovin’ soul, girl!
    My misfires always happen when I either have guests OR I’m taking dinner to a friend, go figure! And like you, I’m no chef, but I can make a decent meal usually.
    Oh well. Tonight will be better, huh?

  30. I agree with your husband. What could be bad about gravy? Plus cheese! And pasta! I also agree with the commenter who suggested adding bacon.

  31. Reminds me of Rachel’s Shepherds Pie incident on Friends…

    Ross: “It tastes like FEET”

    Joey: “What’s not to like? Custard, good; Jam, good; Meat, GOOD.”


  32. That man is a keeper. Yes he is.

  33. LOL! There you go, call anything gravy and a man will eat it!

  34. But it’s the “messes” that make the best stories later on!

  35. Oh. my. goodness.
    You should know that I had a thyroid biopsy today and my throat/neck hurts like crazy.
    And you just made me laugh.
    But it was worth it. :)

  36. You are oh so fun and I truly enjoy you! It was comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one that picked comfy jammies over going out and about. Guess who is having chicken cakes tonight because of you? Thanks for a yummy new recipe!

  37. I’m sorry to hear about your mac n cheese gravy. I was so hoping for a brilliant mac and cheese recipe, as my 3 year old thinks mac n cheese is the best meal in the world but my husband isn’t a fan of anything but the sauce made from velveeta. Oh creamy mac n cheese recipe wherefore art thou?

    On to a brighter note, I opened my newspaper this morning and immediately thought of you. The Life section of the Fort Worth Star Telegram highlighted bacon recipes this morning – even bacon for dessert!! Here’s the link:

    I’ll leave the recipe testing to you! Enjoy!!

  38. I have a good friend who told me in grossed-out amazement that she was at a restaurant that served biscuits and gravy! She had never heard of it before!!! Never had biscuits and gravy passed her northern lips and she never intended to let that happen. I am sure my mom was feeding me biscuits and gravy before I could walk! Just typing biscuits and gravy makes me all happy and fuzzy inside.

  39. That is SO funny!

    A couple of years ago I was making a very yummy chocolate bundt cake for a church potluck. I dumped it out of the pan to soon and the whole thing fell apart. I was so bummed. A friend suggested I layer it in a dish with cherry pie filling and cool whip. It was devoured at the potluck! The BEST part of the story was when a few months later a woman from church called me to ask me for the recipe! I laughed SO hard!! I told her the first ingredient was a very yummy chocolate bundt cake that you ruin….

  40. Veronica Mitchell says:

    Nobody makes failure as tasty as you do, BooMama.

  41. One of your funniest! My husband is asleep already and now my tongue is all bloody from trying to keep from laughing out loud!!!

  42. Boo…(I feel we are on first name basis as we must be kin) I LOVE IT!!! Child, you slay me. It is like it is me writing your stuff. Excuse me, living your life is more like it. I did not know so many people had to go to a cookbook to make mac and cheese. In my part of Mississippi all it takes is macaroni ( what ever shape you have in the pantry, spaghetti noodles will work just fine), Velveeta Cheese, Pet Milk, oleo, and a tab more milk to thin it out. Now if your taste buds have sufficiently recovered from that jalapeno sauce you mistook for salsa (I have so been there), you can tump in a can of Rotel tomatoes and it is then transformed from Mac and Cheese to GOURMET mac and cheese. Oh yeah, baby. I adore you. You must stop by sometime and I will cook for you and yours……