Happy Hobbit Day! | Andrew Gu
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
And with that wholesome description of the home that every hero must leave behind, so begins “The Hobbit” and one of the most beloved series in human history.
Today, September 22, 2021, is the 44th Hobbit Day, celebrating the shared birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, everyone’s favorite reluctant burglar and delivery boy, respectively.
For those unfamiliar with the work of J.R.R. Tolkien (if you are, under no circumstances should you admit this to a Tolkien fan if you want to keep your kneecaps), today’s birthday hobbits are the heroes of “The Hobbit” (1937), a children’s adventure story about the dangers of greed and the value of home, and “The Lord of the Rings” (1954), an epic trilogy about transformation, sacrifice, and the temptations of power which has defined Western fantasy for the last 67 years. The protagonists, hobbits (resembling child-sized humans) Bilbo and Frodo, are literally small people bearing the fate of the world. If you’ve read or watched modern fantasy and seen an “everyman” protagonist, a normal person in a fantastic world, chances are you can thank (or blame) Bilbo and Frodo.
As a result, Hobbit Day is more than just a day to geek out; it’s a celebration of the small things and small people in our lives: our homes (even if we might be getting tired of them by now), our hearths (wherever those are), our quiet comforts, and our friends. So while Tolkien nerds can celebrate it with hobbit-themed dinners, eleventy-first birthday parties, and recitations of “A Elbereth Gilthoniel” and “Namárië”, all of us can find a place where we feel comfortable and take some time to enjoy food, cheer, and song.
If you want to have a nice, nerdy dinner, Tolkien fans have compiled huge (and I mean huge) lists of Middle-recipes for you to enjoy, complete with some reviews. In case you’re hungry, here’s a small selection of choice recipes (made by other people!) to try out.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
“For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf wrappings, as we have brought them.”
The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 8
“The cakes were broken, but good, still in their leaf-wrappings. The hobbits each ate two or three pieces. The taste brought back to them the memory of fair faces, and laughter, and wholesome food in quiet days now far away.”
The Two Towers, Chapter 3
Legolas: “Lembas bread, one bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.”
Merry: “How many did you eat?”
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
When I think of Tolkien, I don’t think about Gandalf, Sam, or Eowyn; I think about lembas bread, fantasy’s best travel food. The lembas bread in this recipe doesn’t have any elvish magic, but the real elvish magic was the sugar you ate along the way.
“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon, and the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they'll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields. And they'll be eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”
Samwise Gamgee, bestboi
With strawberries and cream, not only do you get to taste something delicious, but you get to relive one of the most thematically important moments in the whole series! For bonus points, put on some of Howard Shore’s sweet, sweet music.
“Po-tay-toes! Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew. Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
These need no introduction.
Happy Hobbit Day everyone, and I bid you all a very fond farewell.