Hobbit Cuisine – A Book Review
There are one hundred and eleven recipes in the book (including one for Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday cake), listed by the regions of Middle-earth, and indexed by seasons of the year. They are combinations of various ethnic recipes, “some of them very old: some are from neighbors in the shire…They are from the various regions of the earth because Middle Earth is our earth.” There are even recipes in honor of Smeagol and his Preciousss; Smeagol, “the first bi-polar character I ever recall in fiction, and the most tragic.”
Many of the recipes have Elvish names, mostly in the Quenya and Sindarin tongues, but with some in Telerin (the language of the Sea-Elves). Other recipes are named for or to honor characters in Tolkien’s writings, and some are just humorous names.
Emerald stresses that “Cooking is an intuitive art…it is passion and skill combined to equal sensual enjoyment and expression.” She urges that we “Let the YOU in the recipe show through…your personality, your special appeal.”
From The Dark Lands (areas of the Middle Earth “that were corrupted by the seeking of power and greed by Sauron and by Saruman”), there is a 6,000 year-old recipe for a non-dairy chocolate, chili peppers and coffee brew called Ur-dur Nahald. And for contrast, a healing brew of root beer, ice cream and mint, named Towering Amon Sul, after Weathertop, where Frodo was wounded.
Emerald offers an artichoke and mushroom soup and an appetizer to honor Aldaron, because he is the “lord of the Trees.” You will be tempted by the squid dish, which you may, if you wish, “imagine to be the ‘Watcher in the Water” outside the gates of Moria — who dared to think of Frodo as a snack!
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