Hello again Gail
I guess some clever cook in a domestic (or commercial) situation years ago figured it out that if there are X number of ingredients, then Y number of different dishes could be generated therefrom to be sourced in different combinations from this number of ingredients, given that some dishes might not have been acceptable due to general non-acceptance of, say, not enough ingredients, or a weird combination.
This reminds me of a somewhat parallel situation in which a clever and beautiful Austrian actress, Hedy Lamarr, invented the spread spectrum method of signal transmission during WW2 by considering how a tune was generated from the music program roll of a pianola, such that given the number of keys, variable algorithmic combinations of notes could be played (somewhat like generating varying dishes from one menu using a set of ingredients time and space selectively sourced from multiple kitchens).
See Hedy Lamarr/ George Anthell, 1942, US Patent 2292387. Her invention formed the basis of today’s spread spectrum code division multiple access digital signal transmission….and the application of her invention today is so more important than designing a menu for a meal !!!