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Cooking Through Fiction: Smoked Salmon and Bacon Paté

Have you ever noticed that when people travel through time or space, they don’t seem to be preoccupied with food or travel snacks? I would not be this person. I need to know there will be snacks because I know that I will get hungry—I don’t care how awesome time traveling might be.

In Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Wrinkle in Time, Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace journey through the universe by means of tesseract. What is a tesseract? In geometry, the tesseract is defined as a 4-dimensional analog of a cube. Say what?!

Let’s try to simplify this concept. Draw a straight line. That’s a 1-dimensional object. Draw a square. It has height and width; that’s a 2-dimensional object. Draw a cube. Now the object has height, width, and depth. It’s 3-D! So…4-D adds a fourth element to the mix. Time! It's a cube within a cube.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Am I going to be tested on this?! Now, you see why food matters? Who can figure this out without proper nourishment? In the Murray house, nourishment in the middle of the night is a bit strange. Remember when I said I hugger-mugger in the middle of the night and eat peanut butter when I can’t sleep? When the Murrays can’t sleep, they eat liverwurst and cream cheese and tomato sandwiches. Yeah, remind me not to accept that sleep-over invitation.

“Cocoa,” Charles Wallace said. “Would you like a liverwurst-and-cream-cheese sandwich? I’ll be happy to make you one.”

“That would be lovely,” Mrs. Murry said, “but I can make it myself if you’re busy.”

“No trouble at all.” Charles Wallace slid down from his chair and trotted over to the refrigerator, his pajamaed feet padding softly as a kitten’s. “How about you, Meg?” he asked. “Sandwich?”

“Yes, please,” she said. “But not liverwurst. Do we have any tomatoes?”

(L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar Straus Giroux: New York, 1962, 15)

Mrs. Murray’s Bacon Paté

Serves: 1 ½ c

Difficulty Level: As easy as traveling along the tesseract


10-12 oz bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (pork or turkey)

2 medium carrots, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 bay leaf

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp minced fresh chives

1 tsp minced fresh thyme (or ⅓ tsp dried thyme)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp soy sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)

⅛ tsp black pepper

Note: If substituting pork bacon for turkey bacon, add 1-2 tbsp canola oil into pan to allow for fat.

How to Make

  1. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add cut bacon and cook until crispy (8-10 minutes). Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

  2. Add onion, carrot, and bay leaf to pan. Turn heat down to low and cook veggies until they are tender (approximately 15 minutes).

  3. Add garlic, chives, and thyme, and cook another 2 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

  4. Allow veggies to cool. Then add to a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.

  5. Transfer puree back into the pan and add vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn heat to simmer and allow puree to cook 25-30 minutes until the color of puree changes from pale orange to brown, stirring occasionally.

  6. Serve immediately over toast or chill in the refrigerator and eat for 3-4 days.

Meg’s Salmon Paté

Serves: 1 ½ c

Difficulty Level: As easy as a dream


7 oz smoked salmon

8 oz softened cream cheese

juice of half a lemon

small bunch dill or chives, chopped (2 tbsp dill paste)

black pepper, to taste

breadsticks or crusty bread, to serve

How to Make

  1. Chop the smoked salmon into small pieces.

  2. Add softened cream cheese and lemon juice into a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.

  3. Add smoked salmon and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Pulse fewer times for a chunky paste or pulse many times for a smoother consistency.

  4. Add black pepper to taste (start with ¼ tsp).

  5. Add herbs to food processor and pulse until blended.

  6. Tip the soft cheese, crème fraîche (if using) and lemon juice into a food processor, season generously with black pepper and blitz to your liking.

  7. Serve over toast or dip breadsticks in and enjoy!

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