Recipe Fails

Have you ever failed hard at a recipe? I have. In fact, the truth about cooking (life?) is that we all fail sometimes. You start out with a great recipe idea. Totally confident, you dive in headfirst, only to make something that’s…well, pretty horrible.

I believe in celebrating failure. It is only through failure that we learn, after all. So without further ado, I’m posting my first recipe blooper below, along with what I learned along the way.

What about you? Have you ever had a recipe fail? Tell us about it in the comments!


I wanted to make injera to close out Ethiopia month (see posts here, here, and here). This fluffy, tearable flatbread is cooked by letting the dough ferment for a few days and then cooking it. The dough includes teff flour, which is the smallest grain in the world and tricky to work with. If you’re not familiar with injera, this is what I was aiming for.

After three days: It’s bubbly! It must have fermented! My hopes of nailing this on the first try are high.

As I start to cook it, I remain optimistic. I’ve greased the pan with some niter kibbeh and it’s starting to bubble!

Things have quickly taken a turn for the worse. Somehow, my injera has disintegrated and is a gooey blob. I change up the temperature and pan and try again.

How would you even eat that?? And if that’s not bad it enough, it must have fermented for too long because it tasted rotten. I throw out the batter and go back to the drawing board.

Take two: changed up the batter and only let it ferment for two days. Things seem different. I feel encouraged.

The injera still tastes raw in the middle and doesn’t hold its shape. After several attempts with the new batter, I admit defeat.

What I learned: Recipes can be deceivingly complicated. This one looked easy…let batter sit for a few days to ferment, then cook it up in a frying pan. But it’s not so simple. Ethiopians have been making injera for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. I shouldn’t be faulted for failing on my first three attempts. And attempt #3 was better than 1 and 2. The taste was much improved, though the “injera” texture was missing. I’ll surely try again, but I’m definitely taking an injera break for a bit!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Charlie S says:

    Many successful people gain great insight from mistakes – consider them learning experiences! Nice perspective that you shared!

    Like

    1. We have to learn from our failures, otherwise we can’t improve!

      Like

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