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“And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them).” — The Lord of the Rings, Prologue.
It’s the season for invitations to holiday parties, most of which you cannot decline lest you find yourself alone at home next year. Some Hobbits enjoy staying at home with a pipe and a pint; but they would not wish to be rude. Miss Dora Baggins’ Book of Manners was the definitive work on Hobbit meals and etiquette. It was followed exactly by all good Hobbit wives and husbands. So off they would go, from party to party to party, eating their way across the Shire from breakfast to second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.
You wouldn’t hear the words “No, thanks, I’m dieting,” at one of these parties! There would be huge glazed hams, sweet baby carrots, buttery potatoes, fried mushrooms, and mouth-watering breads. For dessert there would be scones, cakes and tarts. As for beverages, Hobbits are fond of good wine and ale, but they also enjoy a nice cup of tea or a mulled apple cider.
Estella and Merry Brandybuck usually had tea with Pippin and Diamond Took and their son Faramir. Often they would invite Samwise and Rosie but only when school was in session. Oh, they loved all 13 of the Gamgee children, but having so many little Hobbits around at tea time made the whole affair pointless. There was simply too much noise and activity to relax and talk with old friends.
After Frodo left the Shire for the Gray Havens, the three didn’t speak as much about their journey when they were together. But now and then, at tea time, the room would grow still, and everyone would lift their cups in silence to the memory of Frodo. How thankful they were for their friendship, and the good things of the Shire — like a pint of mulled cider or a cup of spiced tea. It was good to be home, feeling safe again, since King Aragorn re-gained the throne of Gondor and brought peace to all the residents of Middle-earth.