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Holiday blunders

'Tis the season for get-togethers and all the fixings that come with entertaining family and friends. The Food Bytes bloggers thought we'd reminisce about our not-so-favourite moments on the hot seat in the kitchen during the holiday season. From an oven full of plastic to forgetting an ingredient, we've done it all.

Plastic ovenware?

A few years ago, with all the "kids" in my extended family all grown up, it was decided that we would assume all the cooking duties for Christmas dinner. Somehow roast beef was the first thing that popped out of my mouth.

Since I was visiting and staying at a short-term condo, I had to rely on whatever equipment the kitchen had. There was no roasting pan but I remembered a wave of new TV commercials that year for plastic ovenware.

"Perfect!" I thought.

Of course, I was dead wrong as the oven started smoking about 20 minutes into cooking time. The pan was melting onto the oven rack.

The roast was salvageable but I ended up having to cook it at my aunt's house later — and spent a good hour or two scraping melted plastic out of the original oven. (Andree Lau)

Only picture perfect

My worst holiday screw-up was alternately one of my most spectacular-looking dinner achievements. When in Texas to visit family, I enjoy cooking a lavish roast dinner for the holidays. One year, my mother-in-law vowed to buy all the groceries needed for our meal, including a large chicken since she is not particularly fond of turkey.

I lovingly prepared the bird: seasoning it well, packing a handful of herbs and lemon quarters inside the cavity and rubbing butter over and under the skin. I also took great care in basting and checking on it in the oven as I worked on the accompanying dishes. When dinner was on the table, we even took photos because the spread looked straight out of a magazine.

Though perfectly browned and looking perfect, it took just a few bites to discover that my roast chicken was nearly inedible, with an odd, rubber-like flesh that I'd never encountered before.

Turns out that the chicken my MIL had bought wasn't a young, juicy specimen, but one of those tough, old hen sold expressly at Asian supermarkets for making stock. (Jessica Wong)

Thanks sweetie!

Christmas dinner has always gone pretty well for me, but one Thanksgiving while entertaining my mother-in-law I forgot to put the sugar in the pumpkin pie. While this made for an interesting discovery regarding a pumpkin custard side dish, it didn't make much of a dessert. We drizzled on honey and made the best of it.

More than 20 years later, my wife still asks me if I remembered to put in the sugar. (Kevin Yarr)

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