It’s a Cook-Off!

We’ve spent days trying to identify the missing ingredient from FirstHusband’s hit one pot meal invention. Almost every time I sit down to a computer after FavoriteSon, the zoomed in photo of his dad’s handwritten recipe has been on screen. (In case you’re catching up, the unknown ingredient(s) would be the word(s) following “3 cups” in the photo below. – click to see a larger image.)

FavoriteSon seems to have more than a passing interest in solving this problem. He’s a little obsessed. I brought him some stuffed shell leftovers from my women’s circle meeting today and as he was devouring them, I said, “You know FavoriteSon, stuffed shells are one of your dad’s signature meals.” His deadpan reply? “Yeh, well so is “b r y something,” but he’ll never be able to make that again.”

FirstHusband is a little obsessed himself. I caught him standing in front of the pantry with a “thinking” face, and we spent about a half an hour talking about the possibilities. Here are his assumptions about (missing) ingredient #6:

1. It wouldn’t have been anything in a can or he would have written “can(s) of” instead of “3 cups” of something.

2. Given the other ingredients, it was probably a starch to thicken it up.

3. It’s quite possible it was three HANDFULS of something and he guessed each to be about a cup.

4. It probably wasn’t something frozen, because the freezer is in the laundry room and he would have “been too lazy to go that far,” as he puts it.

5. He really thinks the second and third letters are “r” and “y” because of the way he writes.

6. Some “thickeners” he’s used in the past include oat bran, oatmeal, ground flaxseed, and wheat germ. He doesn’t think he’s ever used stuffing to thicken before, but after we found some in the pantry, he’s wondering if it might be good.

7. ADDED LATER:  Is it possible that we are reading this line incorrectly? Notice that he didn’t write “cans” with an “S” on the end. Could it be that he didn’t write “cups” but rather “cup” with no “S” on the end? If so, it could be that this mystery ingredient begins with “SH” and we’ve been focused on the wrong thing the whole time. hmmm.

Something else to consider? He’s a lefty, so he writes with his left hand, which makes the letters come out a little “different” sometimes. I’m also considering the last letter may be an “s” because of the similarity to the “s” at the end of “chick peas,” right above it.

So, even after all the GREAT comments, guesses and suggestions, we are still stumped. FirstHusband’s idea?

A second plea for suggestions and a COOK-OFF! He will take the top three suggestions/guesses from the original post and now THIS post as well, and cook three different versions of the recipe.

We wish we could have some guest judges, but given the geography, we’ll just have to do it ourselves. The kids will be the real judges. So, be kind because I have to eat these meals.

6 thoughts on “It’s a Cook-Off!

  1. Do you guys have dehydrated veggies in your pantry by chance? There was 3 c of whatever so it would have had to make a difference in what you all ate. Does no one remember if there was brown rice or any other type of starch in there?

    Crystal – I don’t think we’ve ever bought dehydrated veggies, we buy fresh, frozen and canned. We always have brown rice in the pantry, as well as lots of other starch type foods. We just can’t seem to match up any food with that handwriting. (by JSM)

  2. I’m thinking and I’m thinking very hard – I went to sleep dreaming about this lol

    One thing I noticed was that the first letter might be backwards… so it could be 3c of Dry something? Dry beans, dry …. what would be dry?? I have no idea. I’ll be back. lol

  3. I thought the same thing as Kristin, dry something…..I think it looks like “dry canarys” but that is just gross.

  4. I’ve been following this saga and find it completely hysterical. Husband tells the tale of my cooking as, “She never cooks the same thing twice–even with recipe.” Because I do this all the time. So often he will be enjoying a meal and then wryly say, “Well, I guess we won’t be having this again. Did you write it down?”

    Here’s hoping to a culinary delighted ending.

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