Dec 15, 2015 • By

PODCAST: Food fails

We all want to be a creative genius in the kitchen, and when it comes to finding the perfect cute or classy recipe we often turn to cookbooks, websites and social media for inspiration.

Often the photo accompanying our chosen recipe is flawless – every element of the cookie or cake looks Photoshop fabulous, the lighting puts sunshine to shame and the colors are crisp as can be.

The simple list of instructions reassures us that we, too, can pull off the impressive recipe.

But is it really possible to successfully recreate a picture-perfect recipe?

If the popularity of #NailedIt and #PinterestFail on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are any indication, I’d say the answer is no.

While people have been baking up disasters behind closed doors for decades, it seems show-all, tell-all social media platforms are helping people feel comfortable sharing their successes and failures.

So for our “A Taste of General Mills” podcast this month, we’re celebrating food fails.

We share insights from two Instagrammers who recently experienced food fails, the founder of a site all about craft and food fails, as well as Cathy Swanson – the editor of our cookbooks for Betty Crocker and Pillsbury.

Among other things, you’ll find out:

-Lessons we can learn through food failures

-The most common mistakes that lead to food fails

-How cookbook and recipe sites make their photos look so flawless

Manhattan resident Emily Rann, talks about how “everything” went wrong when she tried to make Holly Jolly Jelly Shots the night before a holiday party.

I am 40 and I have not made jello shots since college and I was 100 percent confident in my jello shot ability,” she told us. “I am excellent at crafts, I am excellent at cooking. There was no way that this wasn’t going to work. I waited until the night before. I didn’t do a test or anything because I was like I’m good. I’m in it. I never had a moment of doubt.”

 You’ll also hear St. Louis resident Laura Pierson talk about how she and her three children had fun making less than perfect versions of Pillsbury’s melted snowmen cookies

“And I definitely think as far as my seven year old that it is a good lesson to continue to do things with her that are fun and creative, but also help her to realize that nobody is doing a perfect snowman cookie,” says Pierson. “None of us had a perfect snowman cookie. So we just all had to kind of try to do our best.”

I interviewed Heather Mann, founder of and author of the book “CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong” for the episode. She talked about how failure is an important element of the learning process.

Heather Mann of

Heather Mann of

And, my co-host for this episode, Kevin Hunt, interviewed Cathy Swanson, cookbook editor for General Mills, about the food fail trend and how her team tries to make our recipes failproof.

“It’s really interesting now, and I think that this comes from all of the cooking shows that are out there, that people are more willing to experiment,” Cathy says. “You’ll notice if you look at and a lot of the comments that come with recipes, people – before they even try it the first time – are making substitutions of things and changing what they do. And sometimes I kind of chuckle because no wonder they didn’t turn out, you weren’t following the directions!” 

It’s easy to listen to our show when you’re on the go. Just listen on any podcast app on your mobile device (search for A Taste of General Mills) or through iTunes – or right here on our blog, below.

Listen (23min)

SHOW NOTES – Episode 4: Dec. 15, 2015

Link – Emily Rann

Link – Laura Pierson

Link –

Link – Betty Crocker Big Red Cookbook 11

We publish a new episode of our podcast every month. Go back and check out our first show, in September, which featured interviews with the team that produced the the gluten-free Cheerios commercials – and the long-time General Mills employee who stars in them. Our second episode, in October, focused on our Monster Cereals. Our third show, in November, celebrated the Pillsbury Doughboy’s 50th birthday and the man that created him.

If you have an idea for a future episode of our podcast, we’d love to hear it. Please let us know in the comments below or via email at

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