Entertaining Mistakes

It's your worst nightmare: intimate dinner or big splashy event, and something goes horribly wrong. The causes can be legion. The only known antidote: humor & quick thinking.

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A Google search could have helped a Google exec

A Google search could have helped a Google exec

Who: Craig Nevill-Manning, engineering director, Google, New York, New York

When my wife and I lived in San Francisco, we were good friends with neighbors in the apartment upstairs. Bill was a fantastic cook, and we ended up at their place most Sunday evenings for his amazing chateaubriand. We wanted to return the favor, and all was going well as we cooked Mark Bittman’s salmon with pinot noir sauce. Then everything unraveled when we got to dessert—poached pears with Marsala. A pint of Marsala seemed like a lot because when we went to the supermarket, all of the packages were very small. But we rechecked the recipe and forged ahead. When it came time to serve dessert, our friends looked at the dish, a little surprised, and asked what we’d cooked. We explained the recipe, and the difficulty we had had finding enough garam masala in the spice aisle. As we explained our attempts to make the dish a bit less dry, Bill, with some amusement, explained what the recipe had actually called for. Neither of us had heard of Marsala wine before that night.

What now? Google.com

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