Christmas food fails

I’m putting together an article on Christmas food fails and how to avoid them, and I’d love to know if you’ve ever witnessed any epic food tragedies. For example:

  • Did you try to cook a goose only to realise it wouldn’t fit in your oven?
  • Try to cook your turkey only to find it hasn’t defrosted?
  • Given yourself and your whole family salmonella?
  • Grossly under catered for your family get-together?

Have experienced a Christmas meal gone wrong? Please tell us below.


Wow where does one start - the big two that I’ve seen so many times - gluttony and waste.

From there the showstoppers for me have been mistiming/bad coordination (bad planning, still frozen, cooking capacity issues or just bad at catering for the biggest mob), over cooking (cardboard turkey) and too many opinions in the kitchen !!!

Oh, and if doing pork roast, not enough crackling. Pro-tip (ok not a pro at all, but a tip none the less) - buy extra pork belly and crackle it - there is never enough. (Did I mention gluttony?)


Meal or the whole deal?

Our month old frost free fridge from the famous Electrolux brand showed it’s true colours. Overnight it had decided to go into a I don’t do cool mode on Christmas Day.

Just because it was in a coastal Qld house without aircon. The temperature had hit the high 30’s and the humidity resisted motion like trying to walk along the bottom of the pool. Pretty much an average summers day. And lunch was catering for ten, while we stock up for a few good days.

Perhaps it was the fridge being full of fresh food from the day before that tripped it up. Or the door being opened more than once an hour while starting the food prep the night before. It appears all the moisture had frozen up the works somewhere inside and the fridge did not know how to recover other than by pretending to work, when it was not. Turning the fridge off and letting it sit half empty for most of the day seemed to work.

In the mean time.

Lots of shuffling of the feast of fresh and cold foods to ice boxes and a trip out for ice, oh, and the beer fridge needed to be emptied. It put lunch back to afternoon tea time, and destroyed most of the morning. We had to quickly change the menu based on need, and saw a heavier reliance on wine than beer. We all know seafood doesn’t keep once warm.

Importantly we don’t do hot for Christmas for the obvious reasons. Not bah humbug, but the notion of celebrating someone else’s mid winter defies all reason and logic.

Most of the food survived. The rest is not worth remembering.


I can’t recall one personally but I do remember some years ago that the emergency services made an appeal to the public to only call 000 in the case of an actual emergency.

One of the examples of incorrect calls was the case of a woman wanting to know how to cook a chook for Xmas dinner.



Not a Xmas food fail but a Xmas food win.

Coles currently have their festive season vacuum packed Angus rib loin roasts in fancy presentation boxes in the meat section.

Two days ago, I noted that the 2 boxes of this roast at our local Coles which had a Best Before date of 13.11.2019 and had not been marked down by even their most miserable 10% minimum so I called in yesterday and it still was not marked down.

I asked to speak with a meat section person, and I asked them why it had not been marked down as it was at its labelled date whilst all other short dated meat products had been marked down.

When I pointed the product out to the employee, he said that he must have been missed it but kindly went to get a price labelling marker and reduced the 2 packs by 50%.

Both packs, minus cardboard packaging, in the freezer and Xmas dinner is looking good with Angus Rib Roast for $16.50/kg.



Might not be such a Merry Christmas for Coles share holders if they keep that up?


A constant food fail, IMO, is the quarter ham or half ham you buy by $per Kg, and its mostly bone. Gets very expensive for a Christmas lunch and a few sandwiches.


A memorable fail from my childhood, circa 1980. After much effort, the festive fare was spread out on the dining table, and the extended family was sitting around it ready to tuck in. My dad stood and opened a bottle of champagne (sorry, Australian sparkling) using the celebratory technique of full-release flying cork. Said cork went straight into the long fluorescent light tube directly above the table. The tube duly disintegrated into many many fine particles of glass which sprinkled down all over the now not-so-delicious Christmas repast.


I buy a whole ham, it has a known amount of bone and you can’ get caught out on getting a specially bony bit, If you choose carefully it is better tasting and much cheaper than the cut ham at the deli even after allowing for the bone. It gives baked ham on the day and cold cuts for the season. About when I am getting tired of ham and the crowd has gone I slice the lot and vacuum pack it for the freezer. It lasts very well and provides for cold meat for the next few months.

Even cheaper is to wait until the early new year to buy a ham or half ham and freeze pack it. It will be on super special because the supermarkets know it will go out of date before it sells outside the holiday season. Good quality ham for 1/3 price.


I saw a TV show once about an English gardener. He was so impressed with how hot his compost heap would get that one year he tried to cook the Christmas turkey in it.
Although compost heaps can get up to 60C in the middle which is great for killing pathogens and weed seeds, can you imagine trying to cook a roast (let alone a turkey) at 60C?
IIRC, no one ate it.


Around 2004, we were living in New Zealand. Popped the turkey in the oven at 4 am for a slow roast. Went to church at 8am and returned to find the house slightly smokey. We were unable to determine where the smoke was coming from. The turkey was not burning and there seemed to be no source for the smoke.
Around 11:30, with the house becoming progressively more smokey, my husband determined that the cupboard shelf, under the oven was glowing red. It was only then that the smoke alarm started sounding.
I called the fire brigade and asked them if they would mind coming to check. 2 Fire trucks, a removal of an oven and removal of the offending piece of shelf later, we were advised that this fire was the result of the incorrect installation of the oven (in a house we had lived in for 2 years and was about 9 years old.) Apparently this was a frequent call out and we were lucky to not have lost the house.
Christmas lunch was finished in the microwave and stovetop and eaten about 3 hours late. The firemen offered to have us over to theirs if we were unable to rescue lunch.
It gave the teenagers a wonderful Christmas story and us a neurosis for checking how ovens have been installed in every house since then. Particularly when we moved to Western Australia.


I agree. I’ve found a whole ham keeps well and is the perfect stand-by for feeding the summer holiday hoards, plus you get the bone to freeze and use in pea and ham soup later on.


We cooked one of the Coles Finest Beef Rib Eye Roast for dinner last night and it was even better than it looked prior to cooking.

It was the juciest, most tender beef roast I have ever tasted.

Highly recommended even if paying the full price of $33/kg which is similar in price to non-Angus premium rib eye roasts.


OH YUM!!! Just adding this because the software doesnt like incomplete sentences.


It looks lovely & sounds good but could not afford it on the Pension

1 Like

If you shop at Coles, simply keep an eye out for ones being marked down by their Best Before date.

I have bought a few of the ones pictured for $16.50/kg and some of the boneless rib eye roasts for as little as $7.50/kg

1 Like

Hi everyone, I’ve heard from a reliable source that we’re updating our Christmas food fails article. If you have an anecdote you’d like to share, please add it here.


I remember a, while ago we had a large family Christmas and the kitchen wasn’t completely renovated at relos house it was pretty bad as you mentioned the turkey was half raw but their oven was to small.