Next weekend marks a pretty big weekend for Ringers; not only is Friday the seventy-fifth anniversary (!) of the publication of The Hobbit, but Saturday, September 22nd, is the mutual birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the birthday that kicks off The Lord of the Rings. An image was recently posted on the official The Hobbit film Twitter feed discussing ways to throw a Hobbit Day Party, but blogger Charles alerted me to the existence of something a little more glamorous—The Hobbit Second Breakfast, an event organized by HarperCollins UK, which includes an event where Fulham Palace’s gardens will be transformed into the Shire, a second breakfast will be provided, and there’ll be a reading from the novel. For everyone else, HarperCollins UK is providing a .pdf packet with bunting, coasters, and a dwarven word search. In short, my Anglophilia is acting up like never before. I’ll be using the word “shan’t” in sentences soon enough.
Even Warner Brothers is getting in on the action, by putting up a website devoted to Bombur’s recipes. (You can even submit your own!) But these recipes are either a little basic or a little specialized (perhaps I am merely unschooled in the ways of medieval cooking, but I have no idea where I can pick up ground pigeon, short of doing it myself). So I thought we’d look at some recipes from my own recipe box that might be perfect for your very own Second Breakfast, be it next Friday, next Saturday, or whenever the mood strikes.
(None of the photos below, by the way, are of these specific recipes, just for the sake of clarity.)
Over the summer, I didn’t eat a lot of meat, simply because meat is expensive and I’m often too lazy to spend time preparing it. However, I always had eggs, because I was making banana bread like a madwoman. (My roommate had an amazing loaf pan and I always bought too many bananas.) In The Hobbit, Bilbo puts some eggs on, and that’s more than enough excuse for you to introduce yourself to baked eggs, the greatest and simplest thing you can ever make. I will never soft-boil an egg again. Seriously, it’s dead simple: butter a ramekin, crack two eggs into it, add seasonings to your taste, pop ‘em into an oven (either on their own or on a cooking sheet) at 325 F for about sixteen minutes or whenever they look done. (You need to check. Do not skip this step.) For extra amazingness, pop a heel of frozen French bread into the oven to crisp it up and take it out after fifteen minutes. It’s glorious. If you want more detailed instructions with photos, I direct you to Kitchen Confidante.
Confession: I don’t really like American scones. Whenever my mother needs to bring food to something, she’ll often make scones, an intensive process that requires the entirety of the kitchen counter, the food processor I’ve accidentally cut myself on, and a whole lot of flour. But they’re just not my thing.
Irish scones, however? That is a totally different story. Scones in the UK and Ireland are much more biscuit-like, and are exactly what Tolkien is talking about when the dwarves are served buttered scones in The Hobbit. While I’ve never tried this particular recipe, it looks incredibly amazing and discusses the superior qualities of Kerrygold butter. (Kerrygold cheese is also very good and very available in American grocery stores; hobbits love cheese!) Check it out over at The Kitchn.
Of course, you’ll want to put something on those scones. You can buy jellies and jams, but sometimes it’s more fun to make it at home. Plus, this recipe is pretty simple and looks very good. The amazing women at The Inn at the Crossroads have you covered. (You do need to eat these preserves within a week, however, since it’s not shelf-stable. But it’s only two cups of preserves!)
Of course, no hobbit meal is really complete without some cakes! I couldn’t really decide which cake would be better, so I’ve settled on two—honeycakes and a blackberry and apple cake. The honeycakes are from The Inn at the Crossroads (those women are mad geniuses!), and look absolutely amazing: they’re the modern recipe on this post. There’s an Elizabethan version too, but they’re more buns than cakes. The blackberry and apple cake is a little more involved, but it’s a spin (or so Saveur says) on sponge cake and summer pudding, which makes it very English indeed. You can find the recipe here.
Of course, that’s only a few ideas. You could always make your own bread, mince-pies, or just add some cream to some strawberries. Mmm. This article is a good resource to get a general sense of what hobbits eat.
My week has been crazy, as usual. Study, study, study, work, work, work, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. But idleness is my own personal hell, so I’d much rather be busy. This week, I’ve gotten through A Handful of Dust and The Letter Q, and I’ve got a whole wonderful slate of books on my desk, as well as reading for class. Most fantastic.
The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) Small Beer Press offers several of their books as free downloads, including Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners. If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!
Do you have any favorite The Lord of the Rings recipes?