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UChicago's Find x: The Missing Ingredient


ShadoPoig 11 / 36  
Jan 3, 2011   #1
Thanks for dropping by here! This is my find x essay. Please, please, pleeease give me any critique you have. Short, long, terse, thorough. I'll reciprocate accordingly. NOTE: This is NOT complete. It's halfway done and I just want to know if the idea of finding a missing ingredient as "x" is clichéd. Is the "x" introduced too late?

BZZT! The blaring noise of my apartment intercom startled me out of my seat. As I walked over to answer it, I wondered if I was supposed to be expecting someone.

"Hello?" I asked.
"Package for you." a raspy and tired voice spoke back. I invited the deliveryman up. Could this be the book I had ordered a few weeks ago? In a minute or two, the deliveryman arrived at my doorstep, handed me a heavy box, large as a microwave, and walked off with a grunt. "Don't I need to sign something?" I yelled across the hallway. Another grunt. Guess not.

I hurriedly took the box to my room, where my dog seemed equally excited to see what was in store. I cut away the taped edges, opened the flaps and, to my shock, saw a steaming 3-course meal-plates, food intact, and all. I then did what any sane, hungry person would do: rush to the dining table and devour it immediately. This dish was the most delicious meal I had eaten in my life. Flavor exploded in my mouth. The heat of spices was doused by cool creaminess, and then ignited again. The myriad of colors on the plate-green, yellow, white, maroon-painted a picture in my eye. I hungered for more. Thankfully, in the box was included a detailed recipe scrawled on a scrap of paper. Yet, there were two thick blotches of ink where the final ingredient was to be. No matter; it wouldn't make a big difference. As a food junkie and amateur cook hoping to join a certain culinary club in college, I seized the opportunity to add this unparalleled dish to my repertoire.

Shallots, vine tomatoes, olive oil: sauté. Portobello mushrooms, blitz and cook until dried out. After several minutes of chopping, frying, reducing, cooking, and caramelizing, the dish was dones. I took a spoonful to my mouth, excited.

"Blech!" It was disgusting. This dish was the most foul meal I had eaten in my life. What had I done wrong? I cleaned the pots and pans hastily and tried again. I recooked the food as if I were undertaking a chemistry research project. The results infinitely dependent on my precision. Again, the meal was completely wrong. It was that missing ingredient. The blotched words. I had to know what they were.

---I was thinking of making my quest creative, going to Tibet and India and France, but never being able to find the missing ingredient. In the end, I realize that the secret ingredient can only be found after a lifetime of experimentation and improvement. The pursuit of the missing ingredient is what makes the dish so delicious. Once it's been found, there will be nothing interesting in the meal anymore.

That part will be coming soon. Thoughts?

turntablespp 6 / 41  
Jan 3, 2011   #2
wow! nicely done! I enjoyed reading this, and I do like this idea for this prompt. I can tell you that you are on the right track of answering the prompt, but I can't be too sure until it is finished. So post up the rest and i'll give it a read. But, this is definitely not a cliche topic to write about. I think it is rather fascinating! :)


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