Forum: Research Questions

Discussing: Shire food & menus

Shire food & menus

In my stories, I usually have been describing most hobbit meals as though they were Victorian or Edwardian, with several courses of rich food, lots of desserts, & the occasional exotic touch a la the Raj. Is this accurate, or am I overlooking information that would point to a simpler style? Am worried I'm overdoing this particular approach.

Thanks for the help.




Re: Shire food & menus

It does seem slightly overdone to me, but I'm not sure I can put my finger on why exactly. Perhaps because I think of most Hobbits as self-sufficient (or nearly so) - living off the produce of their garden plots, chickens & a milk cow or two, perhaps slaughtering a pig in the fall; buying or bartering some specialty items, but not a lot.

This is mostly my gut impression, though, without a lot of deep thought put into it. You could probably make a case for much more elaborate meals at, say, Brandy Hall or the Great Smials, especially on high occasions.

If you try to extrapolate where these more "exotic" supplies would be coming from (across the Shire? Rivendell? Gondor?) that might give you an idea of how realistic the chances of them turning up in Hobbiton are.

There are also a couple of other HASA threads where people have discussed the eating habits of Hobbits in (sometimes tantalizing )detail:

Hobbit Feeding Habits

Sugar in Middle-earth



Re: Shire food & menus

Thank you very much for the help.

I realize now that all the hobbit meals in my stories are occuring at either Brandy Hall or the Great Smials--I guess I've been taking this approach as a way of underlining the class differences between the Tooks & Brandybucks & the rest of the Shire, now that I think about it.
Hmmm. . .must do some more thinking now.



Re: Shire food & menus

A follow-up question: I just picked up three Victorian cookery books tonight (oh bliss), & the one on milk & honey has a lot of ice cream recipes in it. Does anyone suppose that ice cream might be a legit luxury dish in the Shire? Would they have icehouses too?




Re: Shire food & menus

I can't see why not. Ice cream has been around a long time. I saw references to it in Italy in the 1500's, and it was served in the US in the 1700's.

I don't know much about icehouses, but I believe the climate would be cold enough to produce ice, so that would be very reasonable.




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