Halloween is getting closer and the world is getting spooky. While the rest of the known universe spends its time fearing clowns, the foodie community considers nothing to be more horrifying than finding a single hair in a bowl of soup or burning a piece of toast.
In the interest of giving foodies nightmares —and making everyone else giggle—I compiled the realest and grossest food horror stories I could find, or at least this is what people were willing to tell me.
Try not to scream.
1. Nailed it
“I was in Germany a few years ago and ordered a veggie stir- fry. I was eating away, chatting with people at my table when I felt something hard in my mouth. I pulled it out and it was an ENTIRE FINGER NAIL. The girl beside me saw it and took me to the bathroom right away because I — understandably — turned green.”
2. It’s the thought that counts
“My brother and I wanted to make a pie for my mom for Mother’s day. Full disclosure, this was when I was like, thirteen and my brother was eleven. We went to melt the butter but we didn’t know that you can’t put metal in the microwave. So we put the butter in with the metal foil wrapping. The whole thing caught fire. It died down as soon as we opened the microwave door, but I didn’t know what to do so I just called 911.”
“I ordered a turkey sandwich from a coffee shop… There was a rubber glove in it.”
4. A Beef Between Colleagues
“I used to work at a Chinese food restaurant and the owner did some gross stuff. The place appeared to be short on cash. To save money, during the winter, they kept the meat in the back of their truck instead of in the freezer. It was definitely exposed to varying temperatures.
The owner ended up getting in a car accident while driving that truck and salvaged some of the frozen meats off of the road. It was wrapped and everything, but still. They also consistently ignored customer allergen requests. If an order came in that said ‘No MSG,' I would watch as the owner still stuck MSG into the order. When I asked him about it, he told me, 'My kitchen. My Food. My rules.'”
5. Two shitty experiences
“In my senior year of high school, I traveled to Florida with my choir. On the way home, we stopped to eat a buffet dinner. Everything tasted fine. Once we got back, everyone got diarrhea. I was deathly sick with the stomach flu for like three days after. Also, one time I was at a diner in Pennsylvania and the waitress was walking over with our food. The fries fell off of the plate and into holes in the floor mats. She just picked them up and put them back on our plates.”
6. Rock and Roll away from that restaurant. ASAP.
“I ordered a peppercorn steak once. When it arrived, it looked a little strange to me. After examination, it turned out that one of the peppercorns was actually a rock! Luckily, I never bit into it and I got a free meal out of the whole situation.”
7. Service with a denial
“I went out for lunch in New York City with my friends. There was only one waitress in the whole place and we had to wait a really long time for her to come take our orders. She got all of our orders wrong and the food was so bad. My chicken sandwich was dry and the bread was stale.
My friend ordered cheese on her sandwich but when it arrived there was no cheese on it. So she asked the waitress “Would you mind putting cheese on this? I ordered cheese.” And the waitress was like, “No you didn’t.” My friend replied, “I actually did, maybe you didn’t hear me. Can I please have some.” And the waitress was all, “You didn’t order it. So no.” We found out later that the service was included in the bill so we couldn’t just avoid tipping her. It sucked.”
8. Awko - Tacos
"There was a new taco restaurant that had received a lot of hype because they were just opening their second location. It opened in one of my favourite neighbourhoods and I was really jazzed to go check it out with one of my friends. We waited well over an hour for our tacos. When they came, they were beautifully presented, but they were the most flimsy tacos ever. And they were lacking flavour for sure. Definitely not worth over an hour wait. I kept wondering where the food was coming from.
The people sitting behind us, who came in well after we did, had already almost finished their food by the time we even got anything. The waitress just kept saying, “Oh, you must be hungry”, and we were like “ Uh, yep. Yes we are.”
When I tried to complain about the bad service, the waitress walked away from me when I was talking to her. I spoke to another waitress and she agreed that the service was unacceptable. So she gave me $1.44 off of my bill.”
9. Extra crunchy
“I went to a cute, kinda new, place that was tasting-style for everything. You were supposed to order a bunch of small stuff and sample around. They had a lot fancy tacos, so we ordered about thirty for eight of us. One of them came with a whole grasshopper inside of it. Like the bug was just perched there. The soft shell was like a really ornate casket for the little guy. I guess it had laid there to rest and just didn’t leave. I remember it so vividly. It was looking at us. We got the whole thing for free. It was great.”
10. One sexy plate of ramen
“Back in my first year, when I had just moved to a new city, I really wanted to explore. I had also just moved into residence, so I decided to check out this random ramen place with people I had just met on my floor. I like spicy food, so naturally I ordered the spicy ramen and casually asked the waitress, “How spicy is it?” and her response was “Oh, it’s just a little kick. Nothing bad.” Once it arrived, I almost died at how spicy it was. I was literally crying. My face was so red. I asked for milk but they didn’t have any. It was hotter than Chris Hemsworth’s abs.”
11. This girl did not take a trip to Flavour Town
“My friends and I decided to go to this new burger place. It had had really good reviews and was kind of hip so everyone was excited to go. We show up and order and my friend ordered a chicken burger. It was the tiniest bit undercooked. She bit into it and immediately started bawling. The servers noticed and tried to take it back and cook it some more, but she was having a shit day and this semi-raw burger just put it over the edge. We all just sat their awkwardly eating, watching her cry, and wanting to comfort her.”
12. A hidden gem
“My dad asked my grandma what she wanted as a birthday gift. She really wanted to go out for a nice meal with the family. When we asked her exactly where she wanted to eat, she mentioned a place that a friend of a friend had told her about. We didn’t ask questions and just went about making the reservation.
On the big day, as we drove up to the place, we realized we were in the sketchiest neighbourhood. Every single store window was smashed. We pulled into a nearby parking lot and a drug deal went down right in front of us. Inside, the place smelled like dog food and I'm pretty sure the mob was seated at the table behind us. We could see into the kitchen and saw a dirty litter box in the middle of the kitchen floor.
One of the chefs emerged from behind a door, carrying boxes. As soon as the door was opened, we heard the sounds of angry barking dogs. Also, as he walked past us, he dropped several cuts of meat onto the floor, scooped them up, and kept moving towards the kitchen as if nothing had happened.”
13. Wingin’ it
“One time I went out for a meal with some co-workers. The group decided on a wing place. I’m not really a chicken wing person. I just don’t like to eat with my hands. But I tagged along anyways knowing there would be other things on the menu. I chose a sandwich that was pictured on the menu covered in cheese. When it arrived, there wasn't any cheese at all. Thinking I perhaps ordered the wrong sandwich, I asked the waitress if it was supposed to have cheese on it.
She gave me a weird look and shrugged. I showed her the picture and asked if she could go put cheese on it. She seemed really annoyed with my request but she reluctantly took my plate and went back to the kitchen. When she finally brought it back, there was cheese on it, but it was mouldy. I didn't want to annoy the waitress even more, so I just sat there not eating. In hindsight, I really should have just sucked it up and got wings."
14. The (tur)key to throwing a great party
“It was a going-away party and each of us was tasked with producing food to go with a celebration or holiday that we were going to miss over the next year. I was assigned Thanksgiving. Everything needed to be ready for 7:30 pm so we could all eat on time. On my oven, the buttons for stopping the cooking process and the oven light are right next to each other.
While checking the turkey, I accidentally pushed both buttons at the same time and didn't notice. When it came time to actually eat, I realized that only the outermost inch of the turkey was cooked and the rest was still raw. We didn't want the rest of the food to get cold, so we ate everything except the turkey. In the end, I finished cooking the turkey, but we didn’t get to eat it until 10:30 pm."
15. This one is crummy.
“I tried to make… actually, I don’t even know what I was trying to make. It just ended up becoming like a falafel chickpea paste. I know I wanted to fry it, but it was too wet to actually fry. So it just broke apart into tiny pieces of falafel. I literally ate crumb-size burnt falafel bits. It tasted OK.”
So, were you absolutely terrified? Hopefully you'll regain your appetite soon. If nothing else you should be thankful that none of this happened to you, and if it has, at least you know you're not alone.