It can happen very easily. You might read the recipe incorrectly, become distracted while cooking, or forget to set the timer to remind you to take something out of the oven. No matter how it happened, ruining a meal when you have guests waiting in the dining room for dinner can be devastating.
The first thing to remember in this situation is to remain composed. Your guests will take their cue from you. Evaluate what you have on hand. Can you turn the salad into a main entree? Is there time to make something else? If not, before you serve the appetizers or salad, call for carryout. Most oriental or Indian restaurants deliver. Don’t even mention the problem to your guests until the doorbell rings for the food delivery.
Your guests will laugh with you and be amazed at how well you handled the situation.