Slow Days: Lord of the Rings Festival

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Early in our courtship, Dear Husband revealed that he was a fan of Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings books. So was I – big time!! After we read the books aloud to our sons — one was 5, the other 3 — they were hooked as well. We began to celebrate March 25, the date of the Destruction of the One Ring, with special meals. For a book about Hobbits, those famous trencher-folk, there are surprisingly few actual foods mentioned in the four books [the Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King]. After combing through the pages, I came up with two breakfasts and two dinners. Of course the most memorable dinner is the ‘coney stew’ that Samwise cooks for Frodo in Ithilien, so we that was the first one we prepared. Now there are several meals from which to choose, and you can sample them too.

Bombadil’s Breakfast: When Tom Bombadil served his guests breakfast in FotR, it was plants, fruit and dairy of his own collection or production. The plants should be watercress [since his wife Goldberry was the River-Man’s daughter] and the fruit shall be Golden Berries [aka Peruvian Ground Cherries], again in a nod to his wife.

2/3 oz Camembert cheese ½ cup watercress leaves or microgreens ½ cup plain yogurt + 1 tsp honey 2 oz Golden Berries edible flowers [violets, chives, nastursium, or others] 

Warm the honey, stir it into the yogurt, and put into a ramekin. Plate the other items to your taste and enjoy a magical breakfast in The Old Forest. Wear a blue jacket and yellow hat.

Hobbiton Breakfast: In the Peter Jackson movies, characters mostly eat apples and cheese [that’s because the actor can still say lines clearly while chewing them]. Seedy Scones are in Bilbo’s larder in Hobbit, so they are on our breakfast plate. 

Seedy Scones*** apple slices Camembert cheese  

***Seedy SconesThis makes 2 cups of ‘Mix’. 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup white whole wheat flour 3 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1.5 tsp cream of tartar 2 Tbsp unsalted butter buttermilk or soured milk, as needed mixed seeds + a pinch of salt Combine the dry ingredients [except seeds] in a bowl. Cut in the butter until well incorporated. 

Prepare the Scone Mix. Stir in just enough buttermilk/soured milk to cause the dough to come together in a rough ball. TIP: store the remaining mix in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a lid. Ready to use when you wish. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface. Shape into scones. Brush the surface with milk and scatter the seeds on top. Place in a buttered dish to bake  HINT: I did this the night before and left it on the counter to bake in the morning. Slice the apple and cheese. Bake the scone[s] at 400 F. for 7-10 minutes. Plate to please the eye.

Marish Mushroom Casserole: Farmer Maggot and his wife shelter the Hobbits at their farm in the Marish region as Frodo and friends try to escape the Black Riders and the Shire. Knowing how much Frodo loves mushrooms, Mrs. Maggot bakes a casserole for him. If you are a mushroom lover, like Frodo, this meal will make you happy.  HINT: This recipe is enough to serve two [2] diners.

BATTER: 1 egg + ½ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup skimmed milk + 1 tsp baking powder
Whisk together and let the batter sit for 30+ minutes. You will need 2/3 cup for this recipe. Remainder can be frozen.
3 slices uncured bacon @ 30 calories/slice Chop bacon and cook until almost done
8 oz mushrooms, several varieties, if possible  1 clove garlic  one scallion, slicedChop mushrooms, slice the garlic and scallion. Cook in the bacon until softend and most of the liquid has evaporated. Take off heat.
2 T Worcesterhire sauce 
2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 oz egg [that’s ½ of one US Large egg] 
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
Stir Worcestershire and flour to combine. Then add the egg and cheeese, an stir.Combine in the pan with the mushroom mixture.
2/3 cup batterPour into an oven-safe dish which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Smooth out the top of the mixture. Pour the batter on top.
Bake at 425 until batter is cooked.
½ tsp prepared mustard 
1½ oz green beans
Serve with green beans and mustard.

Samwise’s Rabbit Stew: A foraged meal [wild carrots and herbs would have been abundant], originally cooked over a campfire in Ithilien, can be easily prepared in your kitchen. Purists will note that the dried fruit, a gift from Faramir, was given to the Hobbits later, but it adds a nice flavor note to the meal. The potatoes were not part of Samwise’s stew, but he wished that they could be. This stew is the center-piece of our celebration.

In the center of the photo, dried fruits and Mallorn-wrapped lembas. In the rear, dishes of Marish Mushroom Casserole.

4 oz boneless rabbit meat, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 oz carrots, sliced or cubed 2 oz po-ta-toes, cubed bay leaf + thyme + sage + lavender buds dried apricots + dried pear dried apple + dried cherry

Put the meat, vegetables, and herbs in a sauce pan and cover with water. Cover and simmer until all is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the dried fruit on the side. Long live Frodo!

Lembas: The ‘way bread of the Elves’ is described as being made of honey and nuts so that it will keep well as food for traveling. To me, that sounds like the German cookie “Lebkuchen” which I prepare every Christmas. Undecorated and wrapped in ‘Mallorn Leaves,’ Lembas is always on the LotR table. I will leave you to find your own recipe.

March 25 is a week away, which gives you LotR fans plenty of time to plan your own celebration. Have fun!

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