What’s The Worst Cooking Mistake You’ve Ever Eaten Anyway?

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Illustration: Benjamin Currie (G/O Media)

Today, we’re talking about soccer snobs, voiceover acting, bad keys, eating wrappers, and more.

Your letters:


Once in college, I was stoned off my ass and accidentally seasoned some strip steaks with a shitload of cinnamon, mistaking it for seasoned salt. Being a high idiot, I didn’t realize my mistake until I took a bite of this unholy beef. It tasted like candied dog turds. Still ate it all though, since I’m not a quitter. My question is, what’s the worst food you’ve fucked up cooking but still eaten due to poverty, stonedness, gluttony, etc.

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My answer is undercooked chicken. There’s an FDA-approved internal temperature of 165 degrees where chicken becomes safe to eat. I have eaten chicken that has fallen below that threshold. It’s not raw. I’m not eating poultry sashimi like a crazy person. But sometimes you take the chicken off the grill and it LOOKS cooked, and then you cut in and it’s still a little bit pink inside and you feel like a complete failure. Do I resume cooking that chicken? No. I’m ready for dinner NOW. Either I nuke that chicken or I brave salmonella and dig into it served medium well. Still tastes passable! Haven’t died yet!


I’m sure our readers have better answers for you. In general, my biggest epicurean failures come not from mistakes, but from arrogant experimentation. Sometimes I’ll be like, “Let’s see what happens when I dip this graham cracker… IN SRIRACHA!” I think I’m pioneering bold new flavors. Instead, I’ve ruined a perfectly good graham cracker. I’m a football coach getting too cute with game plans. I deserve what’s coming to my insides.

One time I also tried to make chili out of leftover bolognese sauce by adding chili powder to it. Didn’t work. I ate the Don Vito chili anyway. MANGIA.



Why do animated movies use big name actors to voice the characters instead of no-name voice actors? I sorta understand when they have a unique and different voice, but Fantastic Mr. Fox paid Meryl Streep to voice a fox. I had no idea ‘til I looked it up. Bradley Cooper sounds nothing like Bradley Cooper for that raccoon in Guardians. They had to pay Vin Deisel to say “I am Groot”? When will Hollywood moneyball cartoons?


They used to do that. A lot of the movies from Disney’s second golden age of animation (running approximately from Little Mermaid to Mulan) were cast with unknowns. In fact, they used a lot of Broadway people, because those movies were musicals and Hollywood actors can’t sing. That’s the reason Idina Menzel—a huge star on Broadway but not necessarily a household name TV/Movie actress—got cast in Frozen, and the reason why it paid off a zillion times over.

But there’s one huge precedent in that run, and it was Robin Williams in Aladdin. That movie was a smash in part because Williams was so good in it (I remember a lot of people wanted him to get an Oscar nom for his work) and so recognizable to boot. That voice was unmistakable. Everyone knew who was playing the Genie. Once Disney made bank off of Williams’ work, they started casting Mel Gibson in Pocahontas and Matthew Broderick in The Lion King and on and on and on. And then Shrek happened and voiceover work became this enormous ancillary economy of night jobs for famous people.


It makes sense to occasionally do this. Like, all the actors in Shrek did a really great job. And if the movie in question is a comedy, it makes sense to have seasoned comedic voices doing a lot of the heavy lifting. But sometimes they cast stars just to cast stars. I watched Shark Tale once—do not do this—and Katie Couric was in it as a newscaster shark. What kid is gonna give half a shit that Katie Couric is in their movie? All that truly matters is that the character has the RIGHT voice to go with it. Sometimes that means you cast Tom Hanks as Woody. Sometimes that means you dig deeper and cast Wallace Shawn as the T-Rex. Both those choices work, and they work better than if Pixar decided to throw money around and make Larry King the voice of the T-Rex instead. The most heavily deployed famous voice in WALL·E is Jeff Garlin. The rest of that movie is mostly foley effects: bloops and farts and zippers and what not. It works. It didn’t need George Clooney shoehorned into it somewhere.

Big stars in animated movies are an easy sales job. You can put names on the poster. You can trot stars out for 800 premiere junkets and have them go through the puff job gauntlet for your movie. I fall for this pitch. I’ll watch the trailer for Hotel Transylvania 8 and be like, “Oh wow, Selena Gomez is in this!” Selena Gomez doesn’t even SING in those movies. She just sounds like a normal person. I’m an imbecile. If I had my way, I’d go back to casting unknowns for these movies but I’d still pay them millions. Let someone else besides Eddie Murphy have that flash money.


I do like Bradley Cooper as the raccoon, though. He’s good in that.


I’ve anecdotally observed over the years that soccer articles posted on Deadspin invariable draw a lot of comments that read as, I don’t know, kind of dickish in tone. This seems especially true when compared to comments in other articles. Is this observation indeed accurate?


It is. This is because a lot of our soccer articles are written by Billy, and Billy is a naturally annoying human being. More to the point, American soccer fans are their own, proprietary strain of insufferable. I like watching soccer and I too hope for the imaginary future day when soccer becomes Huge In America, but that affection gets tempered when some Yankee Soccer Knower barges into the comments, or into a Twitter thread, to explain everything soccer to everyone because he assumes his countrymen have never even heard of the fucking sport.

Because soccer is less popular here than it is elsewhere, way too many soccer bros take that as a sign that they are literally the ONLY Americans watching soccer at any given moment, and that they must continually teach and correct any other American anywhere who has thoughts about soccer. They all turn Minnesotan. Oh you must be watching soccer for the first time… Manchester United isn’t even the best team in their own city anymore. NO SHIT, ASSHOLE! I got two fucking eyes, you know! I don’t need to see the All-22 tape to know that shit. Why would you affect the worst habits of NFL fans for soccer? The point of watching soccer is to NOT be that guy. The point is to drink and wear a scarf and sing weird songs, man. I’m not here to be COACHED.


Soccer is currently in a sweet spot here where I can watch it and feel cool because it’s a LITTLE more underground than the big four sports. As such, I can hope it breaks big like some unheralded indie rock band I really enjoy, so that I can be like I BOUGHT SOCCER’S FIRST ALBUM, YOU KNOW. But soccer’s niche status here in America means that people become overly protective of it, and don’t want the wrong people liking it for the wrong reasons. Hence, you end up with soccer snobs polluting the debate. Folks, this is why Trump will get re-elected. Bank on it. It’s clearly the fault of the American Outlaws.


Shouldn’t every touchdown against the Patriots this season be a group reenactment of Robert Kraft’s rub-n-tug and perp walk?


Yes, it should.


On a standard layout PC keyboard, what is the Arizona Cardinals of keys? That is, it could disappear tomorrow and no one would remember it ever existed.


The forward slash! Who the fuck uses a forward slash for anything?

(4,000,000 computer programmers throw tomatoes at me)

Ah. Right. Well, what about the thingie above the forward slash? The |? That thing is used strictly for naming mall store chains. Sub|Shake, etc. I don’t see the need for it.


Otherwise, I have a couple of other candidates. I dunno if your keyboard has this, but mine has an accent mark key (`) just under the ESC key. I never use this key, because apparently my writing is just that lacking in flourish. The accent key also contains a tilde (~), which is useful if you’re writing in Spanish and need an ñ, although this key doesn’t produce that letter on its own. I dunno why I’d need a bare squiggle for things. That’s one of those keys you use only for doing pre-emoji drawings using typeface characters. 8=====>~~~~. Like that. Hehehe that tilde means semen now.

Also, the bracket keys are essentially useless. I was gonna do a whole GQ article about how people use brackets online now instead of parens because the bracket keys don’t require you to hit the SHIFT key, so you end up typing [Borat voice] instead of (Borat voice). My GQ bosses at the time said my idea was fucking stupid. I never wrote the article, and the world is clearly poorer as a result. But you don’t really need brackets, nor do you need the olde tymey alternate brackets {} stationed above them on their respective keys. [’90s comedian voice] What ARE those things? What’s their whole DEAL?!



Given that we’ve all probably consumed some by accident, what kind of food wrapper have we as a society consumed the most of?


Tootsie Roll! Tootsie Roll wrappers are stubborn, particularly if the Tootsie Roll in question is warm and sticky. You may not get all of that wrapper off. Has that stopped me from eating a Tootsie Roll anyway? Nope. I just consider that added fiber. Same with Starbursts and/or salt water taffy. I’ll be honest: your average piece of salt water taffy tastes roughly the same as the wax paper it comes in anyway. Salt water taffy looks and sounds like a neat little vacation goodie to buy. Then you eat one and it’s like, “Oh yeah, this is a Charleston Chew without any chocolate around it.” Sometimes there’s a restaurant hostess station mint in the center.

Honorable mention goes to cupcake/muffin cups. You’ve surely experienced the letdown of trying to peel off a muffin cup, only to have the entire muffin come with it. Like you skinned the poor muffin alive. Horrible. Sometimes I realize the paper is gonna stick, and so leave it intact and just gnaw off the top of the muffin. You get a little bit of wrapper that way, but not enough to make it a full deterrent.



Allowing him time to practice, would Steph Curry make more basketballs or baseballs from three-point range? Would the smaller circumference of the baseball making it easier to pass through the hoop overcome the novelty of it? After a year’s practice, would Steph make more baseballs than, say, Mike Trout?


Steph Curry wouldn’t need a year’s practice to be better at shooting baseballs than Mike Trout. He’d be better at that than Trout right now. Steph Curry could swish a fucking blender from beyond the arc if you gave him a chance (and I very much would). Now I want the NBA Three-Point Contest to feature a rack of foreign objects to shoot: golf balls, eggplants, severed human heads, etc.

That said, I don’t think Steph will ever be quite as good at shooting other objects as he is a basketball. He was born for the latter. Furthermore, he’s been shooting those balls his whole life and has an innate knowledge and feel for the size, texture, and weight of a regulation Spalding basketball. He’s wired for that ball, and the ball is wired for him. I know the size of a baseball gives you more room for error when shooting, but I feel like that difference doesn’t matter quite as much when it’s Steph Curry doing the shooting. Given that Steph is a world-class athlete, he could still sink baseballs with relative ease. But it wouldn’t be as automatic as the real thing.


By the way, ever shoot a tennis ball on a basketball court because you didn’t have a basketball handy? I can tell you that it remains a delightful experience. Sometimes we take the kids to a playground that has a hoop, but we forgot to bring a ball. That means it’s time to grab the dog’s chew ball and launch it from fucking outer space. Hasn’t gotten old.



Every year, my best friend and his wife do a spring break trip (he’s a teacher) to Florida with their kids and his in-laws, and this year they invited me along. It sounds like a fun trip - the in-laws foot a lot of the bill, limited time at theme parks, lots of pool time, no crazy-detailed itineraries or anything of the sort. Here’s the catch: my friend and his wife and kids all drive down and back (we’re in Chicago) and I said I’d join them to help with the driving. Their kids are four and one and, despite the fact that I love them both and enjoy their company in small doses, I’m starting to fear I’ve made a terrible mistake. How screwed am I?


Holy shit that’s a 17-hour drive. I would tell you to avoid that even if you were ALONE. But man, you’re gonna have kids fighting in the backseat, and you might be sitting right next to them! GAHHHHHHHHH!

I think you can probably manage it so long as you pack headphones for when you’re not driving, and so long as the kids are distracted while you are. You can hand a four-year old an iPad or whatever and they’ll pipe down for hours. Not alarming at all. I would say that giving a screen to a kid under two is a horrible idea but parents today do that shit all the time. They do it in restaurants and everything. It’s fucking depressing. You may as well hand a baby a pack of cigarettes. Provided your best friend has no moral qualms about screen time with his youth, you can probably survive the trip. I will tell you, though, that my kids do screens on long road trips. Eventually, the screen run out of juice. Then the kids get bored and turn sadistic, raking each other across the back. That’s when we stop for chicken nuggets.


You are, by association, about to be indoctrinated into the parenting tradition of enduring a trip with children and telling yourself you had a good time, all while being completely fucking exhausted by the ordeal. I know this because I just got back from the beach with my kids. That beach is just three hours away. I feel like I just dug a trench to Kansas. I can barely keep my eyes open. Given that these are not your kids, you’ll be able to zone out and go sneak beers with impunity. But you’re gonna get a little taste of middle age regardless. You’ll have a fun and memorable time, and then you’re gonna come home to Chicago and tell everyone you’re never ever having children.


Has Donald Trump ever fallen for an email phishing scam? He doesn’t have the patience to get through a Nigerian prince email, and he’s never done his taxes so the phony IRS scam wouldn’t work. But he would definitely order Don Jr. to get a prepaid AmEx if he got the “I hacked your computer while you watched porn” email.


He IS a phishing scam. That said, Trump has publicly said he rarely, if ever, uses email. Now he’s a flagrant liar all of the time, but shunning email, like shunning alcohol, is one of those things that’s believable about Trump because he’s just insane enough to abide by it. So no, I don’t think he’s fallen for a phishing scam. But he would if he ever DID use email. Look at what a gullible sack of shit Trump is already. All he does is parrot whatever Fox News tells him in the morning, and then he gives White House access to any failed hustler and/or desperately F-list celeb angling for fresh exposure. “So grateful to welcome Stuttering John back to the Oval Office. John has some terrific ideas for how to solve our debt crisis and make us all RICH AGAIN! Thanks John!” He is an unremarkable, lonely old fart in this regard: happy to be lured into any scheme if only for the attention. That’s why Rick Perry is currently overseeing our nuclear arsenal.

The twist with Trump is that every conman who grovels before him also has to buy into HIS bullshit. Oh yes sir, you’re the best President ever, sir. Everyone else has treated you very unfairly, sir. And I think I can curry their favor if you give me $500 million to build a sea base in the Indian Ocean, sir. The current White House is just a bunch of crass shitheads all tacitly approving of each other’s schemes in the hopes that their OWN scheme pays out.


This is why other world leaders are nice to Trump. You know damn well that every single person at the G7 or whatever walks away from Trump being like, “That guy is a fucking idiot.” But they don’t say that to his face, because then he would try to bomb their rainy days and because they require something from him and don’t care to have the obvious truth get in the way of that process. It’s a fucking pathetic display. I really don’t know we’re all still alive. We shouldn’t be. If Trump serves out his term and we’re somehow still here after the fact, we deserve a medal. Well, at least, those of us who didn’t vote for the fucker do.


I am at a baseball game and they have one of those contest where the ‘most spirited fan’ wins a prize. Multiple large men are then featured on the Jumbotron lifting their shirts and slapping their stomachs. What is this appeal here? Why are people energized or entertained by this? I certainly don’t want to see large sweaty men undulating.


I think those fat fans are just acting out of sheer instinct. The camera’s on them. They need to do something showy, but they lack the ability to improvise something creative on the spot, and they may not have any props on hand to use. That means defaulting to showing off the beer belly and giving it a hearty slap for keeping down those nachos. Well done, tummy tum!

I have no problem with this. I only fat-shame Packers fans. Everyone else can get loaded and do the Truffle Shuffle all they please. It lets people know you’re UNINHIBITED. Anything goes over there in Section 386! I want fans loose and happy at these games. I don’t want them sitting on their hands like the Mara family ordered them to do so.



Which is likelier to happen first, a female President or a female head coach of one of the four major professional leagues?


I’m gonna play myself and say a female President, even though my political horse race forecasting record remains forever tarnished. We could have the first female President a year and a half from now. Again, Americans like me have gotten way ahead of themselves in declaring that glass ceiling poised for shattering, but there’s still a fairly healthy chance that a woman like Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris could win in 2020. That’s not far from now, even though it feels like a million miles away.

As for female coaches, the only league where the hiring of a female head coach is an active possibility right this second is the NBA. Becky Hammon is in San Antonio, ready and seasoned to take a top job the second she’s asked. But she’s been ready for a while now, and yet no one has hired her. NBA teams still opt for retreads, shitbags, losers, and Luke Walton instead. Hammon got an interview with the Bucks but that didn’t end up paying off. My guess is that she gets to take over for Gregg Popovich when he retires to his wine cave, but I don’t think Pop is finished yet with brusquely waving off sideline reporters and being asked to be Steve Kerr’s Vice President. By the time the NBA finally gives Hammon a prominent job, the executive branch could very well be led by a woman instead of by a sad old moron. It could happen!


[Trump gets re-elected with minimal fuss]

Okay, forget I said all that.


Learning that Bohemian Rhapsody earned $1 billion, and seeing that the Elton John biopic did okay box office, I fell into despair at the inevitable onslaught of musical biopics that will last...forever. The Motley Crue biopic was also released on Netflix... did we bottom out already? Is this a bullet dodged? Or are we four years away from four dudes dramatizing Some Kind of Monster?


You will never escape musical biopics. They were around long before Bohemian Rhapsody and they’ll keep hanging around long after, regardless of how well they do. They’re easy awards bait and they attract top actors who are elated to get paid to do karaoke. So yes, you will get a Weezer movie starring Zachary Quinto as Rivers Cuomo, and it’ll be uncomfortable for everyone involved. There is no bottoming out when it comes to unoriginality in Hollywood. They’ll grab any ready-made IP off the shelf. That they haven’t already remade Lemonade with Scarlett Johansson as Beyoncé counts as a legitimate upset.

But I don’t think you should despair. Some of those biopics are good. I liked Ray. I liked Walk the Line. I don’t mind watching an expensive rehash of an old VH1 Behind the Music episode. I will say that I avoided The Dirt, though. I loved that book. I still love that band, against my better judgment. But I don’t need to see a bunch of discount actors pretending to be Mötley Crüe when Mötley Crüe itself, prior to their supposed retirement, had already been doing that job effectively for decades. Everyone hated the movie anyway. I can’t have my childhood love of “Rattlesnake Shake” desecrated in such a fashion. I won’t see the film. That’s just how brave I am.



Is the fly on underwear purely decorative? I mean specifically the close-fitting types: briefs, boxer-briefs, and what have you. I’m of the opinion that any reasonable person would just go over the top for their sanitary functions, and I can’t imagine a scenario where weaving your way through the opening is in any way preferable in terms of efficiency and ease-of-use.


You are WRONG. I know this because I tested dozens of undies for GQ and quickly realized that my underwear NEEDS a dickhole, and badly. There were times when I would unzip to piss, hit a wall, and have to hoist my dick over the waistband of my skivvies and then thread it through the stupid zipper. It was awful. Sometimes the waistband would restrict urine flow! Never again. From here on out, I am a fly man.

Email of the week!


Drew, my second favorite uncle (and 4th favorite relative) died last month and his wishes as to his being mourned were... interesting. He had set a good bit of money aside, well over $40,000 for friends and relatives to have a ‘special,’ wake. His specific instructions were, “I know you will cry and that’s okay. But I also want you to laugh and tell jokes and hug each other and above all GET LIT!” (That part was actually shouted by the dude who read the will.)

For food we had: Steak. Burgers. Bar-b-que. Pizza. Beer. Soda. Milkshakes. Mari-fucking-juana. A DJ. Ice cream cake. A bounce house for the kids. Fireworks. This is how every wake/death observance should go, right? It was one of the best times I’ve ever had and that include all the times I’ve had sex.


Yeah, that all sounds good to me.