The Case of the Missing Ingredient



                                                                   Marilyn A. Kinsella


PUPPETS and PROPS: Chef Cookie and Sparky the Dog; broccoli, bread, milk, nut, orange stuffed foods, a black pot


ACT 1   In the kitchen 

CH:  Oh, woe is me! Woe is me.  The Great American Cook-off is tomorrow and I am missing my secret surprise ingredient.  Whatever will I do? Look! Here comes Sparky, the firehouse dog. Maybe he can help.  

SP: Hi, Cookie. Why are you so glum?

CH: Oh, itís just terrible. Iíve entered into a cooking contest. Chefs from around the world will be there to see who can cook the most delicious meal using a surprise ingredient. But Iím missing my secret ingredient.

SP: Missing, eh? Perhaps I can look around and gather up some unusual suspects.  

CH: Thank you, Sparky.  

SP: Now, Iíll need a little bit of information to go on. Can you tell me something about your missing ingredient?

CH: Sure. Itís flavorful.

SP: Okay, Iíll be back in no time. Iíll be back before you can say ďflapjacks and applesauce.Ē



(Sparky returns with a broccoli in his arms.) 

SP: Look what I found lurking in the back of the crisper Ė a flavorful ingredient, if ever I saw one. 

CH: Oh Sparky, thatís broccoli. Itís true.  Broccoli is flavorful, and itís also true that itís full of vitamins, but, alas, itís not my secret surprise ingredient.

SP: Okay, Cookie, itís flavorful, but not broccoli. Can you give me another clue?

CH: Hmm! It tastes real good with tomato sauce.

SP: All right. Flavorful and tastes good with tomato sauce. Iíll be back faster than you can say ďtofu twinkies!Ē



(Sparky returns with glass of milk)

SP: Now you can start on your favorite recipe. I have the milk you asked for.

CH:  Got Milk? And tomato sauce? I donít get it, Sparky. 

SP: Sure whenever I have a can of my favorite Campbellís tomato soup, I add a whole can of milk to make it cream of tomato soup. 

CH: Canned soup? You eat canned soup? Why I wouldnít feed canned soup to my dog. (looks at Sparky) No offense, Sparky.

SP: Oh Iím sort of use to it. Itís a dogís life, donít you know. But getting back to the case of the missing ingredient. As a famous bear once said ďthis is getting curiouser and curiouser.Ē I brought you something flavorful and something to go with tomato sauce, but itís still not right. Say! Why donít you tell me what your secret ingredient is, and then Iíll find it.  

CH: Egad! You want me to just blurt out my secret surprise ingredient? Why it wouldnít be a secret any more now would it? No, no, it would be much better if I give you clues. Now for my next clueÖyou must find me something that comes from another country. 

SP: Gotcha, CookieÖ Flavorful, goes good with tomato sauce and comes from another country. Iíll be back quicker than you can say ďbananas foster!Ē


ACT 4:

(Sparky has bread in his hand) 

SP: (singing like an Italian) ďOh so la me-o La cuca-racha!Ē Look, Cookie, hot out of the Italian bakery oven. Bread! I did good, huh?

CH: Oh Sparky, you are trying so hard. There is a grain of truth, here. It is from another country, but not quite Iím looking for. What Iím looking for must be full and robust. It must add a little zing to your zang

SP: (getting a little annoyed) OkayÖ Flavorful, goes with tomato sauce, comes from another country  andÖ it will add a little zing to your zang. Allrighty-dighty, Iíll be right back faster than you can say ďMozzarella meatball.Ē



(Sparky returns with a piece of fruit)

SP: Ta-da!! Orange you glad you sent me to get this! Whew! I never thought Iíd find it, but when I passed by the fruit stand my zing went ZANG Ė and I just (Chef is shaking his head)..knewÖit ..wasÖÖ.not your secret ingredient. Cookie, I got to tell you that Iím getting a little tired. Iím one whipped puppy. 

CH: But we canít give up now. We are so close. I can feel it. Just once more. I promise. 

SP: Okay. We donít want to end this mystery by saying that thatís how the cookie crumbles. So give me the final clue. 

CH: Youíd have to be crazy to try and cook without it.

SP: This one is a little (ruff!) But they donít call me Sparky for nothiní. So here it goes Ė flavorful,   goes with tomato sauce,    comes from another country,    puts a little zing in your zang,  AND you would have to be crazy to cook without it. Iíll be back quicker than you can say ďBertie Bottís Jelly-belly Beans!Ē



(Sparky returns with Nuts)

SP: Here you go, Cookie. You said you would be crazy to cook without it Ė so I brought you NUTS.  

CH: Oh dear, I didnít mean crazy hoo-hoo. I meantÖOh never mind what I meant. Iíll just have to do without my Chile pepper. Ooops! I said it. Now you know my secret surprise ingredient. 

SP: Chile pepper? Is that what your looking for? Why, I brought that to the firehouse last week. 

CH: You brought my Chile pepper to the firehouse? Why in the world would you take my Chile pepper to the firehouse? 

SP: Well, do you remember that Chile you made last week?

CH: Sure, it was full of my secret ingredient.

SP: Iíll say. My mouth was on fire, so I went to the firehouse and drank about a gallon of water from the hydrant. When the Chief of the fire department heard about it, he asked me to find the cause of the fire in my mouth. So I brought the Chile pepper in.

CH: Well, that solves the mystery of the missing ingredient, but what am I going to do for the cook-off tomorrow.

SP: I can think of something flavorful, that goes with tomato sauce, comes from another country, puts a little zing in your zang and you would have to be crazy to cook without it.

CH: Really, Sparky, and just what might that be?

SP: Itís right here in your cooking pot.  A casserole! Mix all the ingredients that I found to make a creamy, broccoli casserole with a breadcrumb topping and a special nutty, fruity sauce. What do you think, Cookie?

CH: By George, I think youíve got something there - a one-stop, square-deal meal with dairy, grains, protein and fruits and vegetables all rolled into one. Thatís a blue ribbon winner, if I do say so myself! 

SP: But what will you call it? 

CH: Thatís easy. Iíll call itÖ Sparkyís Secret Surprise!