Note: I’ve been kind of busy for the last twenty years writing a musical, making a film, composing concertos, creating an online harp improv school, touring with a rock legend, bragging – oh, wait, I’m doing that now –  so I haven’t had a chance to update the testimonials for awhile. I did post a few new exhibits fifteen years ago, so if you sent me those – thank you!

Please enjoy these lovely missives … I’ll update with more testimonials as time permits. Please join the Burnt Food Museum Facebook Fan page for more frequent updates – like, oh, at least once every five years.


The Soy Pups spoke to me of man’s eternal inhumanity to man. I wept, I smiled, I had heart palpitations. (S. – 4/9/03)

Deborah, You are a goddess. Just saw your work on the Food Network and you warmed the cockles of my heart (whatever those are). Growing up, my mom burnt everything. I had no idea how cool that was until tonight. You have healed my soul, thank you. Keep up the fine work, (K.C. – 10/1/02)

Sir & Ma’am – I must congratulate you on the presentation of such seminal works as displayed on your website, I only can aspire to producing such definitive pieces.

Whilst I have never had the need to identify myself as an artist and researcher in the field of Carbonized Carbohydrates (my results speak most eloquently for themselves) I feel the general public — and perchance my family — may pay more respect and attention to my endeavours were I to possess a protective garment as described.

Do forward details of their prospective availability at your convenience.Regards (M.)

It really strikes a note as, in grade school when they asked what people’s mothers did for a hobby, I said “My mom burns pots.” I think I am one of the privileged few to witness their mom in safety glasses using a metal stripper to whack burnt gunk off a pot! (MB – 6/23/03)

I am happy to see that I am not alone in the world when it comes to culinary endeavors that have experienced, for a lack of a better term, a metamorphosis. I was also thrilled to see the art that arises from utensil neglect. I have a cutting board that is permanently etched with the impression of a burner ring. Of course, it is a limited edition … Just to let you know that art exists which unintentionally mimics burnt food: In the shoe department of our department store there used to be “blackened” wall sculptures that my daughter said were very reminiscent of my cooking.

Your site is too much fun! I would love to contribute some artifacts, let me know. (J in Michigan – 3/30/03) (However, don’t ask me to relive the goldfish bowl on the stove experience)

[Editor’s note: but of course I had to ask]

Several years ago my daughter had two goldfish, Christian and Dior, aptly named for our favorite pastime, shopping and fashion. For some reason I put the fishbowl on top of the stove. You have to understand that most of the time my stove is off, and virtually unused. There is no grease in my kitchen, grease would mean that I had cooked something. I usually moved the fish when I turned on the burners, which was mostly to boil water. On this occasion I turned on the oven instead, but forgot to move the fish … Sad to say we had “bouillabaisse,” by the time I returned. Poor fishies … I felt horrible, being an animal lover. I still don’t know why I chose to put them on the stove. Maybe they did not coordinate with the colors in my living room, who knows. (J. in Michigan – 4/1/03)

How can we submit something to your museum? This morning we awoke to very strong “burnt” smell in the house. When we got down to the kitchen we noticed that the microwave door was open, and there was plastic stuck to the bottom of the turntable. We questioned our 14-year-old son concerning this. It seems that last night he attempted to make Kraft macaroni and cheese as a late-night snack. The charred remains were in his room as he attempted to hide the fact. Never mind he couldn’t have possibly hidden the tell-tale smell. The Is there a possibility of submitting such an item to you? (S.B.)

[Editor’s note: look for Kruncheroni & Cheese on the Exhibits page]

Editor’s Pick

“I thought you might enjoy one of mine – alas, no pictures exist, though. I put a turkey into the oven on ultra-low (low temp overnight is my usual way of doing this, makes it very tender and moist) and promptly went into early labor. I spent six days in the hospital flat on my back until they got it stopped, was sent home with orders to stay in bed until I was supposed to have the baby, and walked in to find what appeared to be a perfect (though blackened) paper-maiche’ model of a roast turkey, still cooking away.

When we tried to throw it out it was perfectly mummified and crumbled to the touch. Even the bones, which appeared to be modeled out of a crumbly powder-like substance, possibly cornstarch. We decided that this piece would have more artistic meaning if it was of an ephemeral nature, and threw it out. (S. 7/29/03)

And on that same theme …

“Attached is evidence of what happens when the thermometer you are using with your deep-fryer malfunctions. Apparently, cooking turkey at a bazillion degrees is not recommended.” (D.O. – 7/17/03)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Look for “Deep Fried Disaster” in the Exhibits – but please note Editor’s advisory: I was kind of a vegetarian before I saw this photo – now I’m REALLY one!]

And people thought I was nuts when I displayed 6 chile peppers that I put on the grill to roast, drank 3 beers after a LONG day at work, layed down…well I’m sure you can guess the rest… I had them for about 2 years and believe it or not, I threw them away just last week… I had them on the counter with an ear of corn, shaped like a foot … That, and a potato shaped like a heart …But the peppers are (were) my favorite. (DW – 10/13/02)

Dear Ms. (oh rats, forgot, I’m sorry, be right back) Henson-Conant,

Thank you SO much for providing us inept chefs and their offspring with the Museum of Burnt Food website.

Oh to have had a camera at the ready when my mother prepared venison jerky...and took a long nap.

You’ve brought back wonderful memories of my dear departed mother and her vivid attempts at culinary uh…feats? The time she boiled a giant pot of cranberries (how DID she get the white ceiling turned red you ask? I have no clue but I remember we had to repaint).

The time she made a fish chowder so bad even the cats wouldn’t eat it … I hope one day to be able to add my own inept contribution to your museum.

Thank you, (S.S. – 3/30/03)

[Editor’s Note: S.S. it’s never too late to ruin a good meal!]

I recently did $10,000 worth of damage to our kitchen making a round of Soy Taquitos (the oil splattered, the smoke alarm didn’t go off!…no one was hurt!). Do you have T-Shirts? (anonymous – 10/3/02)

“We here at Heritage House Museum feel that there should be a separate exhibit for culinary creations – suitable for the museum – that have been burnt using heritage techniques. Our 1860’s bake oven is more than capable of matching any creation from a standard oven or microwave! If you would like any samples, they appear regularly. Why, just yesterday, we had burnt cookies. Burnt tea biscuits are popular with our visiting senoirs groups. So you can see that there is a rich, and untapped source for your museum. We would love to hear from you, keep up the good work! (The staff at Heritage House Museum,Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada – 7/23/03)

[Editor’s Note: We used to link to a picture of their kitchen, but it’s not online anymore … unlike the Free Standing Hot Apple Cider – which just celebrated its 35th birthday]

Saw the piece on “Un-wrapped Food”, and loved your creative ideas on
what to do with burned food. I run a senior meal program, and would love to
be able to purchase one of your aprons. (M.B. – 4/28/03)

[No problem! Just click here for aprons ]

What a surprise to have on the “Food Network” last night, and discover the hysterically funny piece on the Museum of Burnt Food!

We had been told that we should watch “Everone/Everbody? Loves Raymond”, as we have never seen it……and needed to know what all the fuss was about……WELL…. The show started out with such canned laugher, (YUK) that we opted instead to proceed to our old standby, “The Food Network”……only to find ourselves really laughing with your segment.

But perhaps the best for me, was…….that you are the person who performs at a good many of our “non-burnt” dinner parties. I adore your “Budapest” CD, which I have had a couple years!!! What a wonderful coincidence. And the long colorful “locks” you adorned in the television piece, are really wonderful. Different from the look on your CD, certainly. (S.C.- 10/1/02)

Well, well, I thought I was totally alone in the “gack gack gacking on the phone” and forgot about my stuff on the stove!! I was making shredded boiled beef, for enchiladas. I had a small amount of water, 1# of beef, onions, jalapeno, and spices, in a covered pan on HIGH, and walked outside to call 9 women for a Bunco party… and boiled the HELL out of it!

At least the lid on the pan kept the flames from happening! The whole house was full of smoke… the smell was horrible ….. I just heard about your “Burnt Museum” on Unwrapped… otherwise, I would have sent you the 1″ thick charred meat. Thanks for making me feel like I am not alone burning something! (G.W. – 1/27/03)

How many people do you know get emails like this:

We have a burned pot pie that has been in the oven for over a month… Would you like us to mail it to you? (D. – 7/10/03)

I heard you needed cookies ...I got 12 purfectly burnt cookies if you want them (anon. – 1/28/03)

Last night I boiled water for tea in my small T-Fal Pot, I then got involved in a sewing project. I started to smell something burning and thought I had overheated the sewing machine. I shut the machine, but still smelled the burning and remembered my tea water.

The pot was ruined and I boiled water in my microwave. This morning, on my way to the trash can with the pot, I remembered I had seen the Burnt Food Museum on the television show Unwrapped. I was wondering if you accept exhibits, and if you would be interested in my pot. (M.R. – 12/1/02) [Editor’s Note: that very pot sits on our shelf now]

I saw your segment on Unwrapped this week. I haven’t laughed that hard in a loooong time. Brilliant. It made me wish I was a bad cook, so I could contribute an installation to the museum. Although now that I think of it, I do tend to burn cookies. Hmmm. You might be hearing from me soon. Take care, (J – 10/2/02)

I just saw the segment on “Unwrapped” on FoodTV about your museum. I was THRILLED to see the “free-standing apple cider” because I DID THE SAME THING several years ago.

By the time I noticed the smoke coming out of the kitchen, the pot was bone dry. It looked just like yours — a black, evil-looking, porous rock! I feel so much better — I’m not the only person who made a stovetop meteorite out of apple cider.

But mine would not come out of the pot. I tried everything to clean it, even chipped at it with a chisel, and finally ended up throwing the pot out. But now I see I should have hung it on the wall and considered it an achievement in food art. Great idea. (L in SF – 1/27/03)