When the Hobbits found out that their human companion didn’t eat a second breakfast, silent panic set in. What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea?
Hobbits eat seven times a day if they can, starting from (the first) breakfast at 7 AM to supper at 9 PM. It’s hard for humans to understand, but some brave souls have tried and succeeded. If you want to try your hand at preparing and eating the food of the Shire, you have to be ready to be merry and full.
The Planning: a Rundown of Hobbit Mealtimes
Tolkien romanticizes the Hobbit’s relationship with food, even going as far as describing that their mouths are “apt to eating and drinking.” They ate often and heartily and loved feasts. Pantries are filled to the brim with all kinds of food they get from their lands and nearby fields. With a fondness for eating and an abundance of food, it’s not surprising that their mealtimes are only about two to three hours apart:
- Breakfast at 7 AM
- Second Breakfast at 9 AM
- Elevenses at 11 AM
- Luncheon at 1 PM
- Afternoon Tea at 3 PM
- Dinner at 6 PM
- Supper at 9 PM
It seems excessive, but remember that for Hobbits, eating is more than just sustaining their bodies with nutrition. It serves a higher purpose other than to give them energy. They have a social or even spiritual purpose—they form a stronger bond as a community over the table and use food to strengthen the soul for hardships to come. With a goal of such a magnitude, eating must simply be done seven times a day.
What Food to Prepare
Preparing a Hobbit menu will take a lot of time and effort. You’ll spend twice as long cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, so it’s best done when you have a lot of free time, like a vacation, a gap-year program, or spring break. You can order takeout, but Hobbits might not approve of eating anything other than what they could find on the Shire.
Here’s a sample menu for Hobbit meals:
- Breakfast – A filling meal with carbs and meat, then finished with coffee or tea. Try quiche, biscuits with marmalade, lemon curd cookies, or toasts topped with cream cheese. Prepare a plate of bacon, sausages, or egg, with a generous ladle of gravy.
- Second Breakfast – It’s lighter but still rich and delicious. Try scones with clotted cream, bread smeared with butter, pudding, and fruits.
- Elevenses – This is an in-between a snack and meal, so it’s usually served with light cakes and tea. Try blueberry muffins, pineapple tarts, lemon tea cakes, or strawberry shortcake.
- Luncheon – This is a hearty meal, just like the first breakfast, so it’s time to whip out the shepherd’s pie, mushrooms, and vegetables. Try French onion soup paired with heavy, multi-grain bread, fish and chips, roasted beef, or rotisserie chicken. Wash it all down with wine or beer.
- Afternoon Tea – Finger food and tear are served in the afternoon. Try cucumber sandwiches, butter crumpets, deviled eggs, cranberry scones, orange madeleines, walnut tartlets, cream puffs, and eclairs.
- Dinner – Dinner is three hours after afternoon tea, so Hobbits would be really hungry. Plus, the next meal is three hours away, so dinner requires large and varied portions. Try English cottage pie, spiced beef, rich vegetable soup, barbequed meat, and beer.
- Supper – The last meal of the day needs to hold you over until the next morning. Try salads, mushroom soup, bread, and cheese.
While it’s fun to recreate all this, remember that you (sadly) do not have the stomach capacities of a Hobbit. So while you adjust to this new menu, keep portions small. More importantly, have fun! Hobbits love merrymaking—that’s the point of having so many meals a day.