Monday, April 28, 2014

Sandwiches & Hot Chocolate from A Wrinkle in Time

          Beginning with the unforgettable and instantly atmospheric line, "It was a dark and stormy night", Madeleine L'Engle's Newbury winning science fiction novel A Wrinkle in Time (1962), takes us, along with main character Meg, from her creaking attic bedroom down to the Murry's cozy kitchen where her curiously fore-thinking brother has a pot of milk warming on the stove.

          "—I’ll make myself some cocoa, she decided. —That’ll cheer me up, and if the roof blows off, at least I won’t go off with it.
          In the kitchen a light was already on, and Charles Wallace was sitting at the table drinking milk and eating bread and jam. He looked very small and vulnerable sitting there alone in the big old-fashioned kitchen, a blond little boy in faded blue Dr. Dentons, his feet swinging a good six inches above the floor.
          “Hi,” he said cheerfully. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

          “You’d better check the milk,” Charles Wallace said to Meg now, his diction clearer and cleaner than that of most five-yearolds. “You know you don’t like it when it gets a skin on top.”
          “You put in more than twice enough milk.” Meg peered into the saucepan.
          Charles Wallace nodded serenely. “I thought Mother might like some.”
          “I might like what?” a voice said, and there was their mother standing in the doorway.
          “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?”
Charles Wallace peered into the crisper. “One. All right if I use it on Meg, Mother?”
          “To what better use could it be put?” Mrs. Murry smiled.

–Chapter 1, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
          This kitchen scene, in contrast to the tumultuous weather outside and with interjections of Meg's internal dialogue about herself and family members, is a beautiful introduction to the Murry family; their history, their closeness, their struggles, and the mysterious character of Mrs Whatsit who pretty much blows in with the wind.

          “Do sit down.” Mrs. Murry indicated a chair. “Would you like a sandwich, Mrs Whatsit? I’ve had liverwurst and cream cheese; Charles has had bread and jam; and Meg, lettuce and tomato.”
          “Now, let me see,” Mrs Whatsit pondered. “I’m passionately fond of Russian caviar.”
          “You peeked!” Charles cried indignantly. “We’re saving that for Mother’s birthday and you can’t have any!”
          Mrs Whatsit gave a deep and pathetic sigh.
          “No,” Charles said. “Now, you mustn’t give in to her, Mother, or I shall be very angry. How about tuna-fish salad?”
          “All right,” Mrs Whatsit said meekly.
          “I’ll fix it,” Meg offered, going to the pantry for a can of tuna fish.
Meg cut up some celery and mixed it in with the tuna. After a moment’s hesitation she opened the refrigerator door and brought out a jar of little sweet pickles.

–Chapter 1, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Note: All of these sandwiches are straightforward, only the tuna has any real mixing involved. For the liverwurst I used braunschweiger (liverwurst) pâté which comes in a tube but you can also use the liverwurst slices. Both can be found in the sandwich meat section of the grocery store. Concerning the hot chocolate, because the recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, it can be pretty rich. Feel free to add a little bit more sugar than the 1/4 cup it calls for.


Dark & Stormy Night Sandwiches & Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
The Charles Wallace
Sliced Bread
Jam (Jam has fruit bits/chunks in it)
The Mrs. Murry
Sliced Bread (sturdy kind like sourdough)
Cream Cheese, room temperature/softened
Liverwurst (slices or pate)
The Meg Murry
Sliced Bread
Cream Cheese, room temperature/softened OR Mayonnaise
Green Leaf Lettuce
Tomato, thickly sliced
Onion Salt
Pinch of Ground Black Pepper
The Mrs Whatsit 
Sliced Bread
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise + more to spread on bread
1 Can Tuna, drained (if it's water, give that juice to your cat! Nyankyu!)
2 Tbsp. Finely Diced Sweet Gerkins/Midges (they're the little baby pickles)
2 Tbsp. Finely Diced Celery Stalk
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Hot Chocolate
1/3 Cup + 2 Cups Milk
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract (optional)
Pinch Nutmeg (haha, optional)
Directions:

1. The "Charles Wallace" bread & jam can be served open-faced or closed. Make sure it comes with a glass of milk. For the "Mrs. Murray", simply spread the softened cream cheese on one bread slice & put liverwurst on the other & then stick them together. Edit: @MadeleineLEngle on Twitter responded, "add thinly sliced red onion to the liverwurst and you've got one of mle's personal faves." Cool! The "Meg Murry" sandwich begins with either softened cream cheese or mayo (your choice) spread on both bread slices & then layer the lettuce & tomato slices, & then top off with onion salt & pepper before closing it up. For the "Mrs Whatsit" stir together the tuna, 1 Tbsp. mayo, diced gerkins, & diced celery until well combined. Spread a thin layer of mayo on the bread slices & then spoon on the tuna mixture. You can make 2 tuna sandwiches from this amount or 1 really full one.
2. In a medium pot on medium heat combine the 1/3 cup milk, sugar, & cocoa powder, stirring constantly (I prefer using a whisk) until the mixture comes to a boil & you've got a nice chocolate syrup. Turn the heat to low & slowly pour in the 2 cups milk while continuing to stir. Add in the optional vanilla. Stir until fully incorporated & heated through. Remove from heat & pour into 2 mugs. Sprinkle ground nutmeg on top (optional) just before serving.


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