December 9, 2014: Not Peanut Butter And Other Ingesting Tragedies!
File photo of Executive Producer Carl Binder eating something that turned out to be totally different from what he was expecting/I told him he was eating.

Every morning, I  make myself a breakfast shake comprised of ten varied ingredients, usually: almond milk, keffir/yogurt, green tea, cinnamon, flaxseed oil, one banana, another piece of fruit, oatmeal/bran, a piece of manuka honey, and a tablespoon of peanut butter.  This day’s prep seemed no different than any other and, after blending together all the components and pouring them into an empty bottle for later, I licked the spoon clean as I usually do – only to discover that what I thought was the homemade peanut butter I picked up at last weekend’s farmer’s market was, in fact, Akemi’s white miso paste which, incidentally, tastes NOTHING like peanut butter.

As I tossed out the shake and got to work on a new one, I was reminded of my very first food miscue.  Way back, when I was in kindergarten, my class was once presented with a tableful of common pantry items, everything from butter to jams. Our teacher asked us to identify what we recognized from our our kitchens. “That’s sugar!”shouted one kid, pointing to a bowl and, before the teacher could respond, perhaps emboldened by my fellow classmate’s ebullience, I scooped it up and poured its contents into my mouth.  As it turned out, he was wrong.  It wasn’t sugar.  And, to this day, I rarely ever add salt to anything.

Two of my father’s most infamous childhood anecdotes involved his own eating blunders.  In both incidents, he snuck into the kitchen, after being sent to bed without supper, for a spoonful of what he assumed to be pudding.  The first time, it was chicken fat; the second, a hot mustard plaster his mother had prepared for his dad’s ailing back.

Akemi offered her own childhood story about her brother who, rushing home after a baseball game and on his way to piano practice, asked his mother for a glass of water.  He was apparently so thirsty that it was only once he’d polished off the glass that he realized his mother had mistakenly poured him an eight ounce shot of sake.

Akemi found the retelling of this story all sorts of hilarious – until I reminded her about the time she brushed her teeth with hand cream.

I’m sure everyone has their own equally horrific story to tell.

And I want to hear it!

Come on.  Fess up.  What was your most memorable food miscue?

34 thoughts on “December 9, 2014: Not peanut butter and other ingesting tragedies!

  1. I once scared myself when, while raising my glass of water to my lips for a sip, I cried out mid-pour when I looked in the glass and saw a brown liquid instead. I love iced tea, but my brain thought I had water. To this day, my Sister teases me about this. I can’t think of any truly icky variants, unless you count the time I got honey from Grandma’s jar with the honey wand only to later learn there was a massive honey-glazed dead roach in there. Eww.

  2. I had to laugh out load at the salt story. That is hilarious and gross at the same time.

    I actually can’t remember a food miscue that I experienced myself (there must have been some, I just can’t remember. Also, I’ve eaten some questionable stuff, but KNEW what I was eating sadly enough), but I WILL relate a story from my friends’ son while he was visiting them in PEI: He and his family were visiting over Christmas so a day or two after the big day he and some others were drinking a bit well into the evening so were fairly tipsy. In the middle of the night, he decided to make himself up a plate of Christmas dinner leftovers, along with what he THOUGHT was gravy.

    He told the story later that he wondered why the gravy was so… solid, and took forever to melt in the microwave. And then tasted kinda funny. But, like I said being a bit inebriated he wasn’t too concerned – until the next morning when his step-mom opened the fridge and wondered aloud, “Who used up all the french fry fat I had in here?”

    He was not a well man the rest of that day. On hearing this story, I laughed almost to the point of hyperventilation, because it was totally such an in-character thing for him to do.

    Also, super blog post bonus points for the unflattering Carl pic!!

  3. One of our new-to-Japan Navy wives purchased miso offbase, thinking it was peanut butter! Her kids threw away their lunches she had made, oops. I have no idea why she didn’t just go to the commissary on base, certainly cheaper.

    My grandfather once made a “meatloaf” sandwich for a midnight snack. My grandmother never told him it was dog food.

    My husband was busy chewing the “seaweed” from a pack of 7-11 sushi. It was the plastic divider.

    When I was about five, my brother handed me a habanero and told me it was a strawberry. Jerkface. I didn’t eat red things for years, and still do not care for many red colored foods.

  4. Scene: Fancy outdoor reception.
    Item appeared to be a petit four (cake) topped with a dollop of chocolate frosting. Turned out to be pate de fois gras on thick toast…and I detested the taste. Fortunately, no one was nearby as I choked, scrambled for a napkin, and looked for the nearest trash bin.

  5. Who’s seen the Lexus holiday-season ads featuring the knockoff Stargate?
    *raises hand*

    The Gate tranporter concept pops up in TV ads at least once a year. Proves the series’ cultural impact, IMHO.

  6. When I was six or so I got one of those grow-your-own crystals kits or my birthday. I was quite impatient to start growing pretty rocks and my Mother was being singularly unhelpful so I opened the package and put the clear crystal-growing liquid into a drinking glass, placed the rocks within it and left it on the table.

    My year-and-a-half younger brother mistook it for water. I can’t remember how much he drank but I think Mom noticed what happened before he actually started to get sick. He had to go to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. I recall being extremely jealous because he got to have popsicles afterwords and I did not.

  7. When I was in grade school playing outside during recess with my sister, we were approached by two older kids. I never got much attention so I perked up when they offered my sister and I chocolate. My sister didn’t want hers so I gladly took hers, I ate both pieces….it wasn’t exactly chocolate…it was exlax!

    Let’s just say I really learned the lesson of not accepting candy from strangers. I was a very very small child so let’s say I suffered that day and my family still has a good laugh about it.

  8. I have a MILLION of ’em, and none my own. I tend to be a cautious eater. 🙂

    I’ll start with Mr. Das, since it’s similar to Akemi’s story about her brother. I think I’ve told it here before, too.

    Not long after we were married hubby had to work late one night during the holiday season, and then go back early to work the next day. Work was nearly an hour away, so he decided to stay overnight at his parents. Well, according to him he couldn’t get to sleep because I wasn’t with him 🙄 , so after tossing and turning a bit he went downstairs to find some sort of nightcap. He looked in the fridge and spied a bottle of rum. Rum, that would do the trick! So he poured himself a generous portion and downed it in one gulp. Fearing that the rum would upset his stomach, he chased it down with a glass of tap water.

    The next morning while his parents were making breakfast, hubby’s dad reached in the fridge, took out the bottle of rum, and drank straight from it! Mr. Das, horrified, exclaimed, “Dad, it’s too early to be drinking rum!”…to which his father replied, “Relax, son…it’s just ice water.”

    Yes, that’s right…the night before hubby drank a glass of ice water, and then chased it down with a glass of tap water. 🙄

    My father had two food mishaps that I remember. The first was the first time he went to a sushi place and didn’t know what the wasabi was…so he asked, but before we could explain it to him he gulped the entire lump of it down! I think he cried for the next half hour. 😛

    Then there was the time dad was dishing out the cat’s food and then accidentally licked the spoon afterwards. 😀

    My mother…oh, my mother! She has a gut of iron, that woman. So many mishaps it’s not funny, but she’s survived every one! On favorite of mine was the time she spied a fresh green pea sitting on the trash can lid and decided to eat it. Now, the first thing you may ask yourself – or me – or my mother – is WHY she would ever think of eating ANYthing off of a trash can lid! Her response would either be ‘it was clean’, or ‘a few germs won’t kill you’. Either way the joke was on her because after popping the fresh green pea into her mouth she discovered it was actually a piece of my dad’s chewing gum that he had balled up and tossed in the trash, but it had landed on the lid instead. 🙂

    Now, you would think that would have taught her not to just go around eating things all willy nilly….but noooooo. Not long afterwards she spied a piece of chocolate on the kitchen stool…only, it wasn’t chocolate…and only after it touched her tongue did she realize that the cat had just been sitting on the stool…

    And I’ll leave it at that. 😛


  9. OH! I forgot my b-i-l’s big mishap! (This is my sister’s husband.) Back when he was a teenager the family was having pizza and 7-Up, and my b-i-l had just come home (from the beach, most likely) and jumped in the shower. He called out for the family to save him some pizza and soda. Well, he took a long time and they ended up drinking all the soda…and now his younger brother had to pee. My b-i-l had locked the bathroom door, so they had his brother pee in the empty soda bottle (you SO know where this is going!). When he finally emerged from the bathroom he asked right away for the 7-Up, and so they handed him the bottle and yes – he took a huge gulp! 😮

    @ pennlynn – Your story does remind me of one mishap of mine, but I’ve never considered it a food mishap, but more of a medication mishap. I’ve always had tummy issues and so when I was a teenager I took ex-lax…but I thought it was to STOP having to go to the bathroom (due to the ‘ex’ part – I thought it was like imodium). Yeah…I was wrong. 😛


  10. One more! When hubby was a teenager he baked a chocolate cake. He was SO proud of the cake, and was all ready to put the icing on it when his mother came home and exclaimed, ‘What’s that smell?!’ Hubby told her he had just baked a cake, and she asked him what oil he used, and he pointed to the bottle alongside the stove…the bottle of discarded oil from the last time his dad had fried fish.

    Yes, hubby made a chocolate fish cake. 😛 Alas, his mom wouldn’t let him eat it, so we’ll never know how it tasted.


  11. You already took my story, Joe. When my sister was little, she made this hillbilly concoction called a one-two-three-four cake. She used salt instead of sugar.

    For some reason, when you asked for a food miscue, I recall an overwhelming flavor of baking soda. I don’t remember a story behind it, though.

    When I was younger, black pepper was about all the spice I was around. I got hold of a jalapeno and nibbled it a bit, but I didn’t know capsacin takes a while to kick in so I thought the lack of kick meant it was safe to bite right in. It wasn’t. And going outside to stick my head under the faucet didn’t help much.

  12. Speaking of salt (which I love, btw – I’m more salty than sweet… 😉 )…

    When my sister was just a wee thing, probably about 4 or 5, she decided to give mom breakfast in bed. She made oatmeal and mistook the salt measurement – I forget if she added a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, or if she used more – like a quarter cup. Anyway, it was a lot of salt. She made up a tray and carried it all the way up the stairs to the bedroom. Now, my sister was very small for her age, so when mom saw this little thing struggling with this big tray it just touched her heart so! Then she tasted the oatmeal, and nearly gagged! It was like eating pure salt! However, because my sister was so proud (and had worked so hard), mom ate every bit of that oatmeal, all the while praising my sister and saying how good it was.

    Here’s the thing. That morning mom woke up with a sore throat, but after eating the oatmeal the sore throat went away! The salty meal actually cured her! 🙂


  13. I eat slow and examine my food, so I really have no problems, but I watched a boss gross herself out one time. She walked in on Monday after being out on a week long vacation. Some of us greeted her as she came in the door and went to her office. She went and stood behind her desk, telling us all about the trip she had taken. While talking, she picked up a glass on her desk and took a drink. She immediately got a sick look on her face, looked into the glass then put it back down. Whatever she had just taken a drink of had been sitting on her desk all week long since she had left. And she wasn’t a water drinker. I’m thinking week old coffee.

  14. I’m pretty sure I’ve put a spoonful of solidified fat in my mouth from some mystery container my mom had in the fridge, but I have no idea what I thought it was pre-bite.

    The only incident that I can remember well is when we were over my grandparents’ house for Sunday dinner. My grandma was, as she always put it, “in a rut,” meaning she cooked practically the same meal every time we went over there. So when the dish of mashed orange vegetable was passed to me, OF COURSE it was butternut squash! I mean, what else would it be? So I took my usual generous helping — only to discover that no, it was NOT butternut squash. It was some horrible dirt-tasting thing that had no business looking like my favorite vegetable. In other words, it was rutabaga. I could barely swallow the offending bite, and my mom had to finish my serving for me. Couldn’t eat rutabaga again for, like, decades after that, it was so traumatizing.

  15. @ Bill Joyce – although Horse Radish looks like mashed potatoes, it’s not.

  16. I don’t have many food mishaps but my hubby would like to present one: adding Dr Pepper to bourbon instead of coke. He sys “Don’t do it.”

  17. This isn’t a food mishap but falls into the hand cream/toothpaste category. My husband had experienced some gentlemanly chafing and reached for some ointment to relieve the discomfort. However, instead of the intended tube, he grabbed the capsaicin instead. Needless to say he did not achieve the desired effect. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t grab a washcloth. I think we ended up using lotion and then soap and water. To his credit, he saw why I may find it hilarious and managed a chuckle once we’d decontaminated the area. He’s diligent about checking the contents of tubes now.

  18. Those are GREAT stories! I’ll bet Akemi’s bro had an “amazing” piano practice that day.

    One memorable food mishap involved a habanero (!) back in the early 90’s when I was in culinary school. I was introduced to arguably the “hottest pepper on the planet” at a fellow students party. Being a huge fan of hot, and never having heard of the pepper as they were just gaining in popularity in the US, I popped one into my mouth and chewed. How bad could it be, right? That is a mistake you make ONCE.

    My ex-girlfriend once extinguished her cigarette in my half empty beer. I didn’t realize it until…after.

    @das: stool from a stool huh? =)

  19. I’ve had some tricks played on me, food-wise, like most people, but no real food miscues. Except one. Not really food, but a miscue for sure. Twelve years old, playing in a Little League regional tournament(which we won and went on to the state level where we ended up one win away from making it to the LLWS), I came in from the field stripping my catcher’s gear ready to rest on the bench until I got up to bat when I reached for where I had put my water cup from the previous inning. I must have been off a fence-section or something because what I drank wasn’t water. For some strange reason, it was someone’s spit cup. I don’t know why they needed a spit cup, nobody was chewing tobacco, we were 12! Needless to say, my “water” was a bit…stringy. I quickly spat it out, but to this day, over 20 years later, I can still feel it in my mouth. Thankfully, there was no real flavor, but the texture was undeniable.

    You guys that have mixed up wasabi and guacamole actually make me think that some sort of wasabi-based dip where you mix it with something to lessen the heat just a touch would actually be absolutely delicious! Hmm…..

    -Mike A.

    PS. Mr. Binder: Do you have email alerts set up for when Joe makes fun of you or uses your picture on his blog? Might be worth looking into… 😉

  20. #1: At Norm’s (a 24 hour diner): I had ordered a turkey burger. The side of mayo thoughtfully provided in the little ramekin turned out to be banana pudding. I discovered this after biting into the burger with banana pudding slathered all over it.

    #2: My mom was really enjoying the unlabeled soup at the salad bar at Marie Callender’s. When she went back for seconds, a staff member noticed and informed her that she had filled a bowl with hot bacon dressing.

  21. One baking mishap was mistaking what should have been two teaspoons of salt for two tablespoons of salt. Needless to say the cookies did not have the desired taste. The other was my friend mistook wrinkle free spray for hair spray when we were trying to curly my hair for a dance. My hair is rather resistant to curls as is so 20 minutes in when we couldn’t figure out why my hair just would not curl even with the generous amounts of hair spray being used, I grabbed the bottle burst out laughing and handed to my very confused friend. Luckily she laughed with me.

  22. Just a couple of months ago I was making a Mexican dish I make quite often. It calls for cumin and chili powder among others. I generally don’t measure with this recipe but just add ingredients to taste. I was rushing since I was short on time due to a meeting hubby had to attend. I grabbed what I thought was the chili powder and made one hand jerked sprinkle and realized it was cinnamon. YIKES! I wasn’t about to waste this dish so I just added extra chili powder in hopes it would mask the cinnamon taste. Well, it didn’t. However, no one said anything which was a bit disconcerting given that this is one of the families favorite dishes. On the other hand, it usually doesn’t come out exactly the same every time, so…I guess all’s well that ends well, but I didn’t like it. Since then I now take an extra second to double check that I’ve grabbed the right container.

  23. In eighth grade I went on a field trip that was a long bus ride away . Before leaving for school I grabbed the brown bag lunch my mother had made the night before. At lunch time I got my bag lunch out and opened it to find not a sandwich, but two dead fish staring back at me. I had grabbed the wrong brown bag from the refrigerator that morning. I managed to scrounge enough food from my classmates’ lunches to not go hungry.

    That year for my birthday I received two little silver fishes for my charm bracelet.

  24. Yeah, I pretty much don’t eat things unless I know what they are. The worst I can remember is that I once took a drink of a beverage, thinking it was a different beverage for a moment, but it was something like the difference between orange juice and water. Not gross, just momentarily surprising.

    Although, my mom, being an extrovert, has a tendency to act without thinking sometimes. My dad likes to remind her of that time she ate a dog biscuit because for some reason she thought it was a cookie.

  25. At the neighborhood Italian joint I poured a packet of sugar into what I thought was iced tea. Never pour sugar into a Coke. We had to move tables there was so much foam. Left a really big tip that night.

  26. One of my first days having lunch at the dining hall on campus, I decided to go for a salad. The salad dressings were in unlabeled plastic pump containers. For whatever reason, they also had ketchup and mustard in similar containers at the salad bar. I thought I was squirting some delicious honey mustard dressing on my salad: turns out it was just mustard.

  27. OMG, those sound awful! I suspect I’ve made too many food miscues to even count. Some days, (preparing) food and I just don’t get along. Too much of a spice gets added or the wrong spice, etc. My favorite story though, is my mom was making a mousse pie for Easter once and managed to chip the wooden spoon in the blender. Being exceedingly poor and my mother not wanting to throw it away, she strained it, thinking she got all the wood pieces out. Surprise, surprise, our one guest wound up with a wood sliver in his piece, discovered when he bit into it. Suffice to say, he refuses to eat anything my mother makes, now. “Wooden Spoon Dessert” will live in infamy in our family.

  28. My mom used to take us to the Wendy’s Salad Bar/buffet regularly. At the time, my brother was about 2 and my mom was carrying him while making up her plate. He saw what he assumed to be bacon bits and demanded to have a handful. She tried to sway him away and warn him, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He ate a fistful and vomited. They were red pepper flakes.

  29. Nothing I can remember. I do remember a bad joke my oldest sister played on my middle sister–making her a cat-food sandwich instead of tuna. It was pretty mean. I guess one event that stood out for me was when my foster mother tricked me into eating venison. I told her the meat tasted bad. I actually threw up. And she was laughing telling me it was deer meat after I threw up that came from the deer mounted above the fireplace. It was pretty mean.

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