By Astrid Tuttle Winegar
I’m pretty sure Frodo Baggins, like all hobbits, loves a broad spectrum of foods and drinks. However, he does admit a weakness for mushrooms. My original cookbook gathered 11 mushroom-centric recipes in one chapter entitled “Frodo’s Favorites.” But for Legendarium, I’ll break this up with a couple of Narnia recipes.
After Frodo, Sam, and Pippin leave the Shire, they are almost immediately pursued by what appears to be a man on a horse who strikes terror into their hearts. Later, they discover this “man” is actually one of the loathsome Nine Ringwraiths (a.k.a. Nazgûl) sent by Sauron to recover his Ring at any cost. Fortunately, this Black Rider is thwarted in his mission by a few Elves who end up protecting and feeding them.
Alone again the next day, the hobbits come across some farmland that Pippin recognizes as “Bamfurlong, old Farmer Maggot’s land.” Frodo seems even more apprehensive about meeting Maggot, who apparently is a hobbit who detests trespassers and “keeps ferocious dogs.” Frodo admits his fear stems from childhood incidents whereby Maggot caught him stealing mushrooms. Frodo says:
On the last occasion he beat me, and then took me and showed me to his dogs. “See, lads,” he said, “next time this young varmint sets foot on my land, you can eat him. Now see him off!” They chased me all the way to the Ferry. I have never got over the fright—though I daresay the beasts knew their business and would not really have touched me.
Pippin encourages him to renew their acquaintance. This is fortunate for Frodo, and the Maggot family gives them shelter and, of course, food. Later on, I’ll share my Farmer Maggot recipes!
“Frodo’s Favorite Mushrooms”
1 tablespoon salted butter
About a ½ pound onion, cut into ½” slivers
½ pound fresh mushrooms (whole buttons, or cut other mushrooms into ¼” slices)
⅛ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon garlic salt
⅛ teaspoon onion salt
⅛ teaspoon celery salt
In a 3-quart deep skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms; cook over medium/high heat, covered, for 3 minutes. Uncover and add seasonings. Raise heat to high and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the moisture has mostly evaporated. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Serves 2-4, depending on your other dishes. It could serve just one hobbit if he was really in the mood to eat a big bowl of savory mushrooms…
These are known as Mushrooms of Mist in my current cookbook.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is currently available exclusively in e-book form on the Amazon Kindle, but will soon be released by Oloris Publishing! Stay tuned for details. For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. She blogs occasionally at Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook page or visit (and follow!) her Twitter feed. Staff Reporter.