Pass The Fortune Cookies, Hold The Ganglia: Feasting On Star Trek’s Discovery

Some people may be planning to dine on kimchi and bulgogi this weekend in honor of the opening of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The rest of us, however, are stocking up on Vulcan Plomeek Soup and blue-hued Romulan Ale as we prepare for the final episode of season one of Star Trek: Discovery on Sunday night.

The sixth live-action television series in the Star Trek franchise, Discovery takes place in 2255, about 10 years before the original Star Trek series, and revolves around a war between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon species. Populated with formidable female characters, writers, directors and producers and with a strong thematic element focused on nature versus nurture, it’s no wonder that nourishing body and soul becomes a necessary ingredient for survival in Discovery’s universe.

It’s expected that most of the series’ main cast will return, minus Jason Isaacs’ Captain Lorca, who was unmasked as a parallel universe traitor and killed a couple of episodes ago. Then again it’s the season finale, so who knows who might end up on the chopping block this week?

Food is a constant throughout the Star Trek franchise, providing a veritable smorgasbord of recipes from which to choose, from the familiar to the alien. Former Borg Seven of Nine discovered the glories of cheesecake on Star Trek: Voyager while The Next Generation’s Commander Riker dove into Klingon gagh with relish. Breaking bread, a familiar plot device, can help bridge celestial gaps between warring species. As shape-shifter Odo observes in Deep Space Nine, humanoids have a “preoccupation with eating.”

“This series has a remarkable creative team and cast who have demonstrated their ability to carry on the Star Trek legacy. We are extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished and are thrilled to be bringing fans a second season of this tremendous series.”

For Discovery fans, however, the arc of the series provides menu inspiration of a different kind. In it, food becomes a vehicle for building community or, alternately, a tool for degradation in a war-torn storyline that ranges from light to really, really dark — much like a computer-generated roast turkey. Serving as a kind of secondary character, a species’ food preferences provide insight into the characters as well as plenty of fodder for future speculation.

Case in point: Lieutenant Saru, a Kelpian, explains to the show’s tormented heroine, Michael Burnham, in the first episode that his species is regarded as livestock on his home planet. “We are either predator or prey,” he says. “My people were hunted, bred, farmed.” The Kelpians sense danger through threat ganglia — tendrils on the base of their heads that wriggle in alarm of their own accord — making viewers wonder why everyone on the bridge doesn’t keep an eye on the back of Saru’s head for advance warning of impending doom.

New Preview For Star Trek: Discovery: Will You Take My Hand?

So, perhaps that shudder-inducing dish of ganglia set before Burnham in episode 12 shouldn’t have been such a huge surprise.

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Brings Back Retro Federation Seal in New Photos

Luckily, if you’re looking for something just a little more palatable for your season finale dinner, Discovery is ready to deliver. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

It’s currently unknown when the new season will return on CBS All Access and Netflix, though the programme-makers have suggested it would be in roughly a year on the “earlier side” of 2019.

Mirror Universe Mushrooms: The mycelial network championed by Discovery’s astromycologist, Lieutenant Paul Stamets (named for a real-life mycologist), offers inspiration for a mushroom-based dishes, and Saru’s comment in the first episode that Burnham’s DNA could potentially “unravel like noodles” during a little space jaunt provides the perfect pasta complement to those fungi. Go for a classic Wild Mushroom Pasta to echo the wild propagation of mushroom spores in episode 14. Or Seltin Paté, which actually hails from the recipe files of the “Star Trek: Voyager” series, also makes for a nice ‘shroomy starter.

As for what to expect next season? “This was a show about war and has been a dark, dark tunnel and you have to go through the darkness to get to the light,” said Harberts. “Star Trek ultimately is a show about hope, optimism, peace…It’s that spirit that we will be taking into Season 2.”

Burnham Burritos: As a mentor, Michael Burnham tries to whip the effervescent cadet Sylvia Tilly into shape with endlessly monotonous jogs through Discovery’s corridors, followed up by what the computer replication system approvingly assesses as “appetizing and nutrient-filled burritos”. Ever practical, the Vulcan-raised Burnham orders burritos stuffed with egg whites, black beans, and roasted tomato salsa (a “great source of lycopene”), but denies Tilly’s request for “green juice, extra green”.

Part of that ruthlessness means going beyond words when it comes to getting the Klingon L’Rell to talk. “I joked with Michelle,” said Mary Chieffo, who plays L’Rell, as we were working on the choreography and was like, ‘It’s such an honor to be beaten up by you.’”

Blueberries That Taste Like Freedom: In an apparent tribute to writer, producer and blueberry fanatic Bryan Fuller, who championed the series but left before production began, Saru proffers a bowl of blueberries to recently-imprisoned Burnham shortly after she arrives on the U.S.S. Discovery. “The ones in prison don’t taste the same”, remarks Burnham, to which Saru replies, “I suppose that was a function of the environment you were eating them in.” For a show-stopping dessert, you really can’t do better than a blueberry pie enveloped in a painstakingly-crafted pie crust, topped off, naturally, with a pastry cut-out of Discovery and plenty of edible metallic paint.

Because the season finale is likely to be a real nail-biter, you may feel the need to calm your nerves. In time-honored Trek tradition, a nice cup of hot tea might do the trick — Burnham prefers green, but who can resist The Next Generation’s Captain Picard’s preference for “tea, Earl Grey, hot”?

So what will become of M.U. Georgiou? “Ideas of forgiveness, salvation and redemption are hallmarks of Starfleet,” said Aaron Harberts. “As much as she doesn’t want to, she might end up on one of those roads.”

Or just go for the gusto with a rollicking round of space-inspired beer pong, which is apparently the way the crew likes to blow off steam on what they affectionately call The Disco. Because when you’re hurtling into the unknown at warp speed, you may as well party like it’s 2999.

The season finale of Star Trek: Discovery airs this Sunday with Will You Take My Hand? and a new preview video has come out. Note: This article contains spoilers. Look away now if you’re avoiding them.

With a pinch of skepticism and a dash of fun, The Salt covers food news from the farm to the plate and beyond. You can connect with senior editor and host Maria Godoy via our contact form or directly by email. You can also reach correspondent Allison Aubrey via email.

Harberts also spoke about Ash Tyler and Tyler’s actions in the finale. “Tyler makes a pretty big choice during the finale that makes sense for where he’s at,” he said.

It’s not unusual for the captains of Star Trek to occasionally lose command of their vessels. For instance, in The Original Series, an insane Commodore Matt Decker assumed control of the Enterprise from James Kirk in the episode “The Doomsday Machine”. In The Next Generation two-parter “Chain of Command”, Captain Edward Jellico took command of the Enterprise-D when Jean-Luc Picard was captured by the Cardassians. Even Captain Benjamin Sisko stepped away from the top spot of Deep Space Nine at the height of the Dominion War, leaving the station in the hands of Colonel Kira Nerys. However, these were always temporary situations with the captains quickly resuming their authority.

Related: Here’s How Star Trek: Discovery Could Fit Into Original Series Canon

On Discovery, the privilege to sit in her captain’s chair has turned into an increasingly bizarre game of musical chairs. When disgraced mutineer Michael Burnham first found herself on board the U.S.S. Discovery, her captain was Gabriel Lorca. Despite his ruthless behavior setting off fan theories that Lorca is really the enemy, he nevertheless proved to be an effective commander of the most advanced starship in the Federation. By the time the Discovery found itself trapped in the Mirror Universe in the second half of the season, however, everything was thrown asunder as Lorca revealed his true identity, only to be replaced by another outright fake as captain.

Never before in Star Trek history have two imposters from an alternate universe taken turns occupying the top seat of a Federation starship. This doesn’t even include Cadet Sylvia Tilly posing as her Mirror counterpart, who is captain of the Mirror Discovery, or Admiral Katrina Cornwell assuming command of the vessel.

On Thursday, CBS released new promotional photos ahead of the season one Discovery finale, “Will You Take My Hand.” In them, Sarek makes a few appearances, as does Mirror Georgiou, rocking evil all black leather. But the image of Burnham contemplating the seal of the Federation is probably the most striking. Where is she? What is she thinking about? And, is that the same version of the Federation seal from old-school Trek? The answer is yes.

Here’s how Discovery found itself in this captain’s mess and why the answer to this dilemma is standing right there on the bridge all along…

On Thursday, CBS released new promotional photos ahead of the season one Discovery finale, “Will You Take My Hand.” In them, Sarek makes a few appearances, as does Mirror Georgiou, rocking evil all black leather. But the image of Burnham contemplating the seal of the Federation is probably the most striking. Where is she? What is she thinking about? And, is that the same version of the Federation seal from old-school Trek? The answer is yes.

Next Page: Captain Mirror Georgiou And Why Saru Deserves To Lead Discovery

LEFT: Spock’s casket with a Federation flag in ‘The Wrath of Khan’ (1982) RIGHT: Starfleet officers with a Federation flag in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness'(2013)So, what is Burnham thinking about in the finale of Discovery? The future of the Federation? And where is she exactly? All will be revealed soon. For now, here are a few more photos to get you pumped for the big final episode.

Gabriel Lorca boasted an impressive battle record against the enemy in the Klingon War. Under his watch, the Discovery perfected the revolutionary spore displacement hub drive invented by Lieutenant Paul Stamets. Gifted with the ability to instantaneously jump anywhere in the known universe, the Discovery became Starfleet’s greatest weapon against the Klingons. Lorca masterminded multiple victories over the fearsome warrior race, including a decisive win on Pahvo where Discovery not only destroyed the Klingon Ship of the Dead but engineered a way for Starfleet to break through the Klingons’ cloaking technology. Under any other circumstances, Lorca would have to be considered one of Starfleet’s most legendary captains. Except for one thing: he is a complete and total fraud.

The fact is the man posing as Captain Gabriel Lorca was an opportunistic psychopath from the Mirror Universe. A transporter accident on board the U.S.S. Buran switched the Prime Lorca with his opposite. After finding himself in command of a starship in the Prime Universe, Lorca soon destroyed the Buran and all of the souls aboard her, blaming it on the Klingons. (Jason Isaacs explained that the planned backstory was the Buran’s computers discovered Lorca wasn’t the real captain, so the Mirror avoided being exposed by self-destructing the ship.) A truly gifted deceiver, Lorca cheated through his Starfleet psych evaluations and, likely thanks to the leniency of an unwitting Admiral Cornwell (who had a past relationship with Prime Lorca), the doppelganger talked his way into the captain’s chair of the U.S.S. Discovery by promising to be the man to win the Klingon War.

While Lorca’s results are indeed impressive, he is nevertheless a fake who did not belong in the Prime universe, much less in command of Starfleet’s most advanced ship. His demands and impatience for Stamets to perfect the spore drive was mainly so he could fulfill his real objective: to use the Discovery to return to the Mirror Universe and overthrow Emperor Georgiou. It’s true Starfleet benefitted from his keen tactical mind despite his insubordination and the risks Lorca willingly took. His superiors also couldn’t have guessed Lorca hailed from a parallel universe. Still, despite his notable successes, Lorca commanding the Discovery for as long as he did is a black eye to Starfleet. The man was an imposter and a disgrace. Incredibly, Admiral Cornwell’s choice to replace Lorca is an even bigger disgrace.

Page 2 of 2: Captain Mirror Georgiou And Why Saru Deserves To Lead Discovery

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