Mysterious Letter Chili

About the Name:

This is named for the 8th Nancy Drew book, Nancy’s Mysterious Letter.  There are two versions of the book, one from 1932, and one from 1968.

The ’32 version is the first Nancy Drew book to take place at a specific time, around Thanksgiving.  It is also Nancy’s first trip to Emerson College.

The rewritten version is the first appearance of Chief McGinnis (He appeared in books written earlier, but with a later number)

About The Recipe:

Like the book, there are two versions of this recipe, however they are not much different.  The older recipe calls for 2 #2 cans of tomatoes, while the newer recipe drops the #2.  I have no clue what a ‘#2 can’ is.  Maybe that was a thing when the book was printed.

This is a recipe for chili


I thought this tasted awful.  So awful that I did not bother making it again for this review, so all my notes are based on my memory of making this a year ago.

Ease of Preparation: 

Not the most difficult, but not the easiest either.  Just frying vegetables.

Clarity of instructions:

Fine, except for the weird ingredient.  See my note above about the #2 cans.


This was kind of ugly.  You cook everything until it’s brown.  I know chili is supposed to be brown, but I just found this kind of … yuck.  I do admit, I might not have an accurate memory of what this looked like.


I read a review by someone else who suggested switching out the corned beef for ground beef.  I didn’t like the recipe enough to try this, but it sounds like a good idea, if you really want chili and have no other recipes.  I guess this was somewhat edible, but I certainly don’t intend to try it again.

Verdict:  3/10


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