Ever since quarantine began, people have been finding new ways to keep themselves busy. It’s been quite entertaining to see people utilizing their creative juices to learn upbeat TikTok dances, change up their hair and redecorate their rooms. But what’s been the most impressive to me (as someone who couldn’t even make that whipped coffee from Tik Tok) is seeing all the different cooking hacks and trends that people have come up with! Social media platforms from TikTok to Instagram have been blowing up with “quick and easy” recipes to try out with your extra free time, and some people have been thriving in their kitchens, making Gordon Ramsey proud.
But what about those of us whose culinary skills aren’t as cultivated? We deserve a spotlight too! In honor of Spooky Season, I decided to interview my UCLA friends about their most atrocious and frightening horror stories in the kitchen. Here are my seven top picks:
- The Time Mochi turned into “Hot Japanese Lava”
“My friend and I tried to make mochi together over Zoom and it didn’t go well. Her ingredients meshed into a gigantic glob that couldn’t be softened and after boiling mine I just couldn’t tame it. It quite literally turned into hot Japanese lava. It was so incredibly stressful.” (Emily, ‘22)
- The Boba Catastrophe
“I was cooking boba one time and left it to simmer before I started my two-hour class. I ended up forgetting about it until I started smelling smoke in my room, which is pretty far from the kitchen. Next thing I know my entire house is filled with smoke and my boba had gone up in flames.” (Ji-Soo, ‘22)
- The Salty Calamity
“When I worked at a smoothie shop, we used to add a little sugar to smoothies. During my first week I had to go refill the sugar, but I didn’t know where it was. I decided to just take a guess because I had to make a smoothie for a customer. The lady came back in the store and was like ‘Excuse me, this smoothie is really salty.’ Only then did it occur to me that I had put salt in her smoothie.” (Catarina, ‘23)
- The Therapy Cinnamon Rolls Gone Wrong
“I just had done pretty poorly on a chemistry quiz, so I decided to make myself some cinnamon rolls to cheer myself up. The baking instructions said to put the yeast into warm water. I accidentally used hot water and it basically just killed my yeast. I then had a mental breakdown as I was rolling the dough because it wouldn’t rise. I was hoping for a miracle when I put them into the oven, because I really wanted these cinnamon rolls. I made some frosting for them and everything. Spoiler alert: the oven didn’t fix them; they were NOT good. I think it’s safe to say that the cinnamon rolls really reflected my mental state at the time.” (Joseph, ‘23)
- The TikTok Trend that Ended in Tragedy
“I thought it would be fun to make some peanut butter cookies I saw on Tik Tok that people recommended! The recipe called for like 6 cookies, but for some reason I ended up making a whole dozen large cookies that tasted really bad. There were only three ingredients and I managed to messed it up. They legitimately smelled like a fart and my family would not help me eat them, so I had to eat most of them. Since I’m not allowed to waste food, my dad and I made a bet. If he won, I had to eat the rest but if I won, he would let me throw them away. Luckily I won and he let me trash the rest but it was just so bad.” (Jocelyn, ‘23)
- The Time Things Got a Little Too Toasty
“I wanted to make some toast but I didn’t have a toaster. To compensate, I put bread in the oven on broil for what was supposed to be a few minutes while I went to change the laundry. I totally forgot about the bread, and about 12 minutes later I hear my girlfriend yell my name. I then remembered what I had done but it was too late. I walked in on her using a fire extinguisher to put out the charred lumps of coal that were blazing in the oven. We then spent two hours cleaning the fire extinguisher residue from the oven and kitchen.” (Tattnall, ‘22)
- And Finally, the Time a Soup Bomb Exploded in my Kitchen
My mom was cooking soup in a pressure cooker and left it cook while she went to go get some groceries. Before she left, she asked me to reduce the heat on the stove when I heard a hissing noise. Simple right? Not even ten minutes after she left, I heard the noise. I might have been a little late, but when I got to the stove to turn down the heat, the hissing had turned into a loud screeching noise. I was so freaked out that I just froze for a couple seconds as the screeching got louder and louder. I quickly turned off the heat, but I was too late. Within a matter of seconds, the pressure cooker exploded- I kid you not- and was catapulted off the stove onto the kitchen floor about 13 feet away (my mom measured it). I luckily made a run for it in the opposite direction and hid under a table as I watched 10 quarts of green soup fly all over the kitchen. Traumatized, I called my mom from underneath the table as the soup dripped from the walls and the ceiling. We spent the rest of that day cleaning up the kitchen. To this day, my siblings still don’t believe that this actually happened, but I know what I saw. It took me a while before I was able to use the stove again.
Not everyone is a master chef, and that’s okay! Just always remember to be safe in the kitchen and keep trying out those trends- you might just nail it next time. And if not, at least you’ll get a good laugh out of it!