An invitation to dinner is a most coveted offer for a bachelor to receive. While many of them are experts at instant foods or eating out, single men rarely take the time to prepare a decent meal for themselves. It is no different for my protagonist, Dr. John Welles.
John grew up eating delicious food prepared by his stepmother, Collie, and later by his Aunt Prudence’s cook, Lucia. Unfortunately, their culinary skills never rubbed off on John. If not for the good food he eats at Bea Turner’s diner, John would probably lose a considerable amount of weight while living on his own in West Virginia.
During the snowbound winter of 1955, John accepts an invitation to dine with Rueben and Hannah Wise. The Wises own a small grocery store, and while they aren’t wealthy people, they provide a meal that is both simple and delightful. In addition to saving him from his own bachelor cooking, the Wises second, more important reason for inviting John to dinner completely catches him off his guard.
The following recipe for salmon patties is the one I had in mind as I wrote this scene. Salmon patties were cause for nose wrinkling when I was a child; I didn’t develop a taste for them until I became an adult. I do suggest making them when you can have the windows open or prepare them in a skillet that can be covered. Salmon patties are delicious, but they will leave a pungent, lingering aroma in your home for a couple of days!
1-14.75 oz. can of pink salmon, drained
½ cup crushed Ritz crackers
1 T parsley
1 stalk of celery, minced
2 T onion, minced
Tabasco, several hearty shakes
Black pepper & Sea Salt to taste
Approx. 2 T Olive Oil
Approx. 2 T Butter
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until well blended. If mixture is dry, add 1 tablespoon of half and half at a time until mixture forms a ball. Gently press out salmon patties on a cutting board using your hands. Be sure to keep the edges neat so patties won’t crumble while cooking.
Melt the butter in a skillet with the olive oil. When the skillet sizzles, add the salmon patties and cook on a high heat to set each side. Take care not to burn. Flip once to cook the other side. Patties should be nicely browned and lightly crisped. Serve immediately.