Hobbits and Their Love of Food

Tolkien inspired me to take an interest in so many aspects of life. Cooking, gardening, crafting, hiking, travelling, history, and languages have fascinated me since I dived deep into the pages of middle earth and lost myself in Tolkien's intricately detailed world.

This hub is dedicated to my favourite author, his books set in middle earth, and his obvious love of good, healthy food!

Source

Clean water is precious

Potable water for cleaning, drinking and cooking is of great importance.

Our bodies are made of mostly water, and a good amount of (healthy) liquid intake per day is required to keep them running well.

Low water level in the drought, Murray River, Australia
Low water level in the drought, Murray River, Australia | Source

During the trek through Mordor, Sam's desperate worries were the dwindling of their food supplies, and the lack of clean water to drink.

Upon the hobbits' return to the Shire, they noted the fouling of the lakes and rivers by the rise of heavier industry.

Pumping unclean water onto crops destroys the land, wild animals and insects depart for healthier pastures, farmed animals sicken, and tree growth is stunted when the only water roots can reach is polluted or salty.

Clean water is not just necessary for our bodies, but for the entire ecosystem. Water is also important for making beer, wine and mead! Precious indeed!

Meals throughout the day

Eating smaller meals throughout the day is normal in Hobbiton. By eating many small meals you avoid the sugar crash and tiredness between meals, which usually results in poor snack choices or overeating at mealtimes. It is also then easier to maintain a varied diet.

Taking a break more often also helps with stress levels, and can help with solving problems, especially if time is taken to enjoy the meal. The brain can switch to a more creative problem solving mode.

Bulk cooking day - vegetables in all colours!
Bulk cooking day - vegetables in all colours! | Source

A varied diet is best

A varied diet can stave off boredom, keep family members' interest, provide talking points for visitors, and improve your cooking skills.

You learn more about the world, about nutrition and health by learning about different foods and cooking styles.

A variety of foods, dishes and cooking styles is best for gathering the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. It is much more natural than popping a bunch of pills each morning.

But I also learnt that if you only have access to the same food day in, day out, you will get bored, you may succumb to sickness more easily, but you won't die.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with falling back to favourite foods and dishes every now and again. It is easy to lose inspiration in the hassle and busy-ness of everyday living, but a new ingredient, a new dish, a different spice, a new method of cooking, can provide a bright spot in a dull yet hectic week.

There are so many different foods and dishes to sample - the road is long, let's vary the culinary scenery on our journey!

Everything in moderation

Overeating, over drinking, or even over-partaking of one particular food or drink is not healthy. One food does not give the body the nutrients it needs. Too much food oversupplies the body with energy, which is later stored as fat. Too much alcohol can cause many problems, just as too much beer resulted in careless hobbits at the inn in Bree.

Too much of anything, is not good.

A dire lack of food is also obviously not healthy, causing illness and can eventually lead to death. We see Frodo wither and become thin on his trek to Mordor thanks to too little food. Most weight loss diets are a form of extreme change and deprivation - often dreaded, and almost always left behind.

So, too little is also not good.

In moderation is the best motto, not too much, not too little.

White currants
White currants | Source

Food from the wilderness

Most of the people I know are horrified if you suggest a meal of game meats. Rabbits, deer, boar, wild birds and fish are all good, healthy sources of protein. But of course, you shouldn't eat the family pet!

If you are in Australia, don't forget kangaroos, emus and crocodiles!

Berries, fruits, herbs, tubers, other vegetables, and greens, were all originally foraged for on the plains and in the forests. It doesn't need to come out of a can, or from the freezer section of the supermarket for food to be healthy.

It goes without saying that care needs to be taken, as there are a number of poisonous plants and fungi.

Fresh rhubarb - easy to grow and tastes much better than the supermarket variety!
Fresh rhubarb - easy to grow and tastes much better than the supermarket variety! | Source

Growing your own food

As in the Shire, growing your own small garden of food and herb plants can provide fresh fruit and vegetables, cutting down on shopping trips and grocery bills.

Garden maintenance provides a cheap form of exercise.

And it is very rewarding to be able to say, I grew part of that meal myself!

Even if you only have a small balcony garden, you can grow a few compact vegetables, salad greens and herbs.

You never know what you'll overhear or where you mind will wander to, while working in your garden, waiting for fish to bite, or foraging in the forest.

The importance of fish

Gollum isn't exactly the best role model, but he did make fish more acceptable for me.

I grew up almost never eating fish, other than tuna or salmon from a tin. And even then, I hated it. Back then fish was definitely not juicy or delicious. But over time I learned to cook it in tasty ways, and love sashimi!

Fish is an important food for the brain and heart. Omega 3 fatty acids help with circulation and blood health, brain, tissue and nerve growth and repair, and may also help with inflammation and the immune system.

All good reasons to eat more juicy fish.

My favourite herb and spice reference, especially for crafting my own blends!
My favourite herb and spice reference, especially for crafting my own blends! | Source

Spice with taste

In middle earth cooking was a fluid process, where spices and herbs were added to dishes according to how the dish tasted throughout the cooking process.

Herbs were added as they were in season, or from dried stores left-over from past seasons.

Cooking on the trail meant that foods caught or gathered were also spiced with herbs found locally, or from a small stock of precious spices, carried by a 'gourmet' cook (like Sam, who simply liked his salt).

Thanks to our global trade and delivery networks, we have access to a huge variety of spices with which we can play. Use your taste buds to spice a dish - it will never be the same twice, but with a little spice knowledge, it will be guaranteed to be delicious!

Tip: The best herbs are those grown in your own garden - super fresh and tasty.

Food tastes better with company

Eating with friends and family can make a meal more enjoyable. Cooking for, or even cooking with good friends and family results in meals that are produced with care, a present for the ones who eat.

An occasional all-day, or all-night feast can provide many happy memories. Add in games, stories, movies, or other fun activities and I feel it's rather reminiscent of Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving.

Plus friends and family can help you eat sweet and rich foods in moderation, helping you stick to your eating plan if you are trying to lose weight.

Conversations and laughter make meals more memorable than they would be if eaten in silence or alone.

Can you imagine what the atmosphere inside Bilbo's home would have been had the dwarves eaten in silence, instead of turning it into a rowdy feast? I doubt Bilbo would have been swept along with their plans!

Apple rum bundt - my favourite! Although I love to bake, I have to restrict it to when friends drop around.
Apple rum bundt - my favourite! Although I love to bake, I have to restrict it to when friends drop around. | Source

Taters!

What's your favourite way to consume potatoes?

  • Boiled or steamed
  • Baked or stuffed
  • Fried
  • Mashed
  • In soups or stews
  • In curry
  • Potato salad
  • As salty crisps
  • As an alcoholic drink
See results without voting

Taters are versatile!

And last, but a long way from least, is the humble potato, which became popular after it was discovered in Incan societies in the early 16th century.

They can be used in so many ways, plain boiled, steamed, sautéed, roasted whole or in aluminium foil, and stuffed with meat, cheese or other vegetables.

Mashed potato with herbs and spices can be formed into such shapes as dumplings, breaded as croquettes, battered as deep fried potato cakes, or simply layered at the top of a shepherds pie.

Grated, they can be used with onions to make röschti, or with quark, egg or other seasonings to make kartoffelpuffer and latkes - potato pancakes.

They are also great cold in potato salad, or used to make various alcoholic drinks, such as vodka.

They can bulk out a stew, thicken a soup, replace the pasta to make a layered veggie bake, soak up the intense flavours of curry sauce, turn an ordinary pizza into a gourmet one, and pair with a good pasta sauce as gnocchi.

Of course, I can't leave out golden fried chips, ever popular with kids, or the more gourmet version - wedges covered in spices. And the oil-laden, more-ish, thinly sliced crisps (also known as chips in various versions of English).

Or in Sam's words, from the Two Towers movie:

"Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew... Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish."

Comments

What did you learn about cooking and food from the Tolkien's writings, or the later films?

Let us know in the comments below!

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26 comments

Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

Interesting hub:) Lots of good lessons in it!


hecate-horus profile image

hecate-horus 4 years ago from Rowland Woods

I learned to appreciate and savor mealtime (like the Hobbits). Interesting hub!


Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

What an interesting hub. I agree with Sam about potatoes! I voted for mashed although baked are my favorite also. I just used two small potatoes yesterday in vegetarian chili. I cook the chili in one pot and cook the potatoes whole in another pot. When the potatoes are done, I strip off the skin and mash them well, then blend them into the chili.

I love the Tolkien books; I've read all four of them numerous times. We watch the movies every Christmas Day. I can't wait for the movie The Hobbit to be released!


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Silva Hayes - Thank you so much! I think baked is my favourite form as well! I often bulk out dishes with potato, and use them instead of pasta or rice.

I'm also greatly looking forward to the Hobbit being released!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

I love the idea of looking at food through the lens of a fiction author- so cool! Thanks for the fascinating read.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I was totally lured here by the title. I thought to myself, "THAT is totally original content!"

I was right! Awesome subject about maybe the greatest fiction writer that ever lived and one of the most pressing issues of our time.


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Thank you both Simone and Wesman Todd Shaw! I have been hugely inspired in many aspects of my life by various fiction books. In talking to my friends, it seems that although inspiration is relatively common from these books, consciously thinking about it is uncommon! So glad you enjoyed reading this!


annart profile image

annart 4 years ago from SW England

What a great idea for a hub! I found it interesting and amusing and it reminded me of parts of the story which I also love. Voted up and interesting and funny.


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Voted up and interesting! But more than that, it reminded me of my school day reading of Tolkien and the little Hobbit dishes, that so inspired me to try out cakes made with jam and biscuits. Yes, Tolkien and the Hobbit made me aware of food and think 'cooking can be fun'. Tolkien continues to be my favorite and I can't image a kid growing up without reading his works. Wonderful hub. I will be reading the one on Language next. :)


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Thank you both annart and sen.sush3!

Cakes made with jam and biscuits, but improved by being covered in chocolate - yum! I haven't yet found a good recipe that could pass for Lembas...

I'm happy that the Lord of the Rings movies have resulted in many new readers, who otherwise would have been scared away by people who believe Tolkien is 'too hard'!


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Yes. But somehow, I found the books easy, and the movies a bit hard :) :)


Horatio Baccus profile image

Horatio Baccus 4 years ago from PDX

Great hub; one point to add though; the movie quote was from Two Towers as it occurred before the Hobbits encountered the men of Gondor and before Sheemgle's reversion to Gollum.


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Happy you enjoyed the hub Horatio Baccus! And that's a definite oops on the quote - thank you so much for for pointing it out. I shall correct it right now!


Amber Colleen profile image

Amber Colleen 4 years ago

Beautiful. I love this.:) Also, as a hobbit myself, I can attest to the fact that six meals a day is also a good plan. Grazing and eating smaller meals more often as opposed to eating three big meals every day is actually healthier for you. ;)


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Thank you Garrett Mickley!

Amber Colleen - ach! How could I have forgotten about the grazing meal-pattern of hobbits! 6 meals a day is definitely healthy, and better for weight loss, skipping the dreadful sugar crash between the larger meals.


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

nice hub and very interesting too, sadly I could never get into the world of Hobbits, my son loved the books. I definatly agree about food tasting better when eaten with company, I love cooking for friends and family. I don't think than there can be a better gift than to offer a home baked loaf, made with love and care.

best wishes, voted up.

Tony


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Dear Sam knew good food... :)

Neat hub! :)


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Tonymead60 - Thank you! The world of hobbits had dragons, so I couldn't resist. I also think homebaked goods make the best presents!

RTalloni - I think all hobbits appreciate good food, especially when someone else is providing it! Thanks!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

I’ve read Tolkien’s trilogy of Lord of the Rings plus The Hobbit and it would have never occurred to me to analyze the food issue within these books, how creative of you! Very interesting and unusual hub, I agree with your Tolkien related food approach, especially in the varied diet points you make. Food is such a big pleasure I could spent all day talking and thinking about it.


Starwalker 4 years ago

I've long been a fan of second breakfastes. I didn't vote in the great potato poll because I didn't see my favorite there; which is to slice and roast them under a broiler until golden brown. Skins on, please. A light coating of olive oil doesn't hurt, and seasoned to taste. Thanks for the great article. I selected 'beautiful' because it hadn't gotten any votes and because it was.


vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

Awesome hub! It was a great idea to organize your article this way and point out the everyday life "banalaties" mentioned or described in Tolkien's books. I haven't read the trilogy yet, but I'm looking forward to starting absorbing his works :)

P.S. I had no idea you could make alcohol drinks from potatoes!


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Vox vocis - I think vodka is commonly made from potatoes. I hope you enjoy the trilogy (and the Hobbit)!


classicalgeek profile image

classicalgeek 4 years ago

From Tolkien, I developed an interest in historical cooking, because I was intrigued by Bilbo's "seed cake."


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

Claudia - thank you! Food frequently is the topic of my English classes!


nifwlseirff profile image

nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany Author

classicalgeek - The seed cake is most definitely intriguing! Do you have a recipe that would be close to Tolkien's description? I always wonder how much his daily diet crept into the books.


GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

You got me on "Clean Water...." Such an original and wonderful Hub. Fun food lessons.

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    Kymberly Fergusson (nifwlseirff)676 Followers
    89 Articles

    Kymberly loves to cook, bake and preserve. She'd love more time to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious (healthy) recipes!



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