The gas cylinder runs out an hour before guests arrive.
Your pot pie, apple strudel or whatever is in the oven either sinks like the Titanic or is overcooked on the outside and half frozen and raw on the inside.
Your delicious mouthwatering that looks absolutely awesome with shining green peas, blazing orange carrots and huge slices of chicken as depicted in the photograph comes out with scrawny chicken legs, shrivelled peas and limp carrots.
You make a special effort for an 8 people sit down with serviettes and stuff and a friend brings along a friend and you have to get a garden chair and a different looking table mat and it wrecks that ambience you wanted so badly.
There is always one person more than the number of glasses you have for the prawn cocktail because nobody has enough of the same glassware.
Speaking of prawns, you will make crab and other shellfish and one of the guests will be allergic and begin to get hives and the whole party will go to hell in a basket as everyone tries to get some medical aid and you will feel like such a chump.
There is less ‘ouff’ in your soufflé and more le… like lay me down because I shall not rise.
Somebody spills red wine on your white sofa and people offer advice like use soda water, no no, don’t rub just pour and other such useless advice and the stain will turn crimson, the only other crimson in your room being the colour of your face.
You will go crazy trying to figure out what is ‘salt to taste’ like whose taste, yours, mine, the boss, it is so unfair, like what is a pinch of salt, huh, your petite little thumb and forefinger or the Mighty Hulk’s.
You find you are constantly apologising for the way the food has turned out and you have reason to be sorry because suddenly all the guests are full and really, no, thank you, stuffed and you know you should never have tried the stuffed aubergines, they were destined for disaster.
You have files full of clipped recipes but you have never had the courage to use them.
You find your husband saying, let’s order from out far too often.
The kids look stricken when you lead a cooking crusade and then they have to say yummmmm and you know they don’t mean it.
Your macaroni looks like it was slain after it surrendered.
Much like your pre-dinner snacks which are cold, clammy and if not that, so ‘burn your tongue’ hot.
You took cooking classes and you can’t figure out which is basil, what is fenugreek and which is spinach and why do you have a jar of capers in the fridge. I mean who uses capers.
You go out for dinner, study the big as a tent Chinese menu for ten minutes like you were really selecting (yeah, sure) then order sweet corn chicken soup, sweet and sour chicken, American chop suey and chicken noodles with lychees and ice cream.
Your children will never say, ooohhhh, this is like Mum makes.
All those aunts who make all those preserves and health foods, like how come they got lucky, your pickle just doesn’t pick.
You decide to make a cake and it sort of keels over into a burnt offering and the family has to pretend it is awesome not to hurt your feelings.
The kitchen looks like Hurricane Katrina tracked through after you have made some eggs Benedictine.
Your drizzle of olive oil is more like a Mumbai monsoon.
You have been married sixteen years and your dozens of boxes of ‘so easy, smooth creamy batter in seconds’ has never succeeded. All you get is lumpy pieces of goo with thin liquid around them.
You hate the word garnish.