Last night, dinner went straight down the garbage disposal. I felt bad, but it was awful. I tried a new recipe for chicken breasts cooked in a sauce of honey, soy sauce, tomato paste and some other staples that ended up making shredded chicken for sandwiches. After I shredded the chicken, the boys and I tasted it. It tasted so bad!


I thought maybe if I toasted the buns and melted a whole bunch of cheese on top of the shredded chicken, it might be palatable. Then I realized that in the end, I’d most likely end up wasting the cheese and the buns, too. No one would want to eat that mess. So I made the tough decision; I poured the shredded chicken down the disposal. 

From time to time, we all have these failures. MNN’s family blogger Jenn once tried using French vanilla coffee creamer in mashed potatoes when she was out of milk. The potatoes literally got spit out onto the table. Early in her marriage, my friend Nicole made a turkey meatloaf that her husband graciously tried to choke down until she admitted she hated it. They had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that night for dinner.

Which brings me to a question: What do you do when your main dish is so bad that nobody wants to eat it? I work hard not to waste food, but is this one instance when it’s okay to let food go to waste and break out the PB&J or grilled cheese for dinner?

Not wasting food is important to me, but so is an enjoyable dinner. Most days, dinnertime is the most important time my family spends together. It’s when the most talking and sharing happens. It’s when most of the laughter happens (at least on a school day). I’m not willing to spend that time forcing my family to choke down bad food and ruin our chance to connect.

So I made the choice to waste the food and save the family time.

What would you do in that situation?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Cooking failure conundrum
What do you do when the dinner you just cooked is just plain awful?