Middle-earth Feasting with ‘An Unexpected Cookbook’

As Maria has already explained, today is Hobbit Day, and there are so many ways to celebrate! One of my favorite traditions from my days at Middle-earth News was Tolkien Feast Week. Alice has begun the 2016 festivities with her post for Bilbo and Frodo’s Birthday, so if you want to learn more about how you can journey with the hobbits from Bag End to Bree — with food — make sure to start with her article!

I’ll try to join in the official Feast Week meals as often as I can this week, but I also thought it would be fun to crack open my copy of Chris-Rachael Oseland’s An Unexpected Cookbook.

unexpectedcookbook_001

I wanted a quick recipe, so although there are many delectable treats among the pages of this cookbook, I decided to make the shortbread cookies.

All of the ingredients are pretty standard kitchen fare, so these can be put together at the last moment. The only thing I discovered was that the recipe didn’t specifically mention how many cookies it would make because you could make them whatever size you want. The medium-sized cookie cutter in the collage below is about the best thing I had on hand, so these cookies turned out a little larger than most. Now that it is officially autumn, some small leaf cookie cutters would be perfect. (Though, now that I think of it, if I’d had the inclination to frost these, they could be decorated like a hobbit door!)

unexpectedcookbook_002

The recipe specifically calls for a glass baking dish rather than a metal cooking sheet, so that’s what I used. Because of the size of the cookies, I actually had to double the suggested baking time, but they turned out well in the end. They were really quite delicious, though I have decided to follow one of Chris-Rachael’s suggestions from this page of the cookbook and try them with almond extract when I make them again!

I definitely recommend An Unexpected Cookbook because, in addition to some great recipes, Chris-Rachael shows off her research and explains which “modern” foods are allowed and why as well as sharing ideas for how some foods could be reused in other recipes (just like they would have in Tolkien’s day). The chapters are even sorted by way of hobbit meal times, so yes, you can get plenty of ideas for second breakfast!

Will you be joining in the Feast Week fun? What do you imagine when you think of hobbit food?

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