The Lord of the Rings: A Marathon of Food

Introduction

Do any of you have a particular movie you may go back to every few years? A TV series, a video game? The Lord of the Rings is one of those examples for me. Despite my love for Star Wars, I would probably regard it as the best trilogy of movies ever made. There’s an incredible amount of detail, care and love for the source material that everyone involved in the series expresses; from Director Peter Jackson, to the actors and crew.

I first made my wife watch them around four years ago. She had known at the time that there were extended editions, but didn’t want to commit to watching three really, really long movies. So I did what anyone would do in this situation, when we started Fellowship, I slapped in the first disc of the extended edition and hoped she would enjoy it enough to keep watching. When we got to the end of the first disc once the fellowship was formed, she realized my ruse, was irritated for a few seconds then said she wanted to continue. We watched all six disc’s within a few weekends.

My wife and I had been talking about re-watching the series for about a year now, but we never pulled the trigger. In the meantime, I had seen a few articles here and there about people running food marathons while watching the series. They would make and eat meals in conjunction with food shown on screen. I then knew what had to happen. Planning began, and here we were, the day of the marathon.

Before I dive into the menu, I owe some thanks. Without the following, I would have had a much more difficult time figuring everything out for this marathon. The first, Gorge of the Rings by the Middle-Earth Foodie. This was how I began and used a lot of the time stamps given as a reference for my menu. Second, I pulled three different bread recipes from Middle-Earth Recipes. Those three were Bag-End Apple Bread, Rosie’s Bread and Elven Lembas Bread II. Lastly, thanks to my wife for putting up with this, and going along for the ride (I forgive you for asking if we actually have to watch the extended editions. Yes, yes we do.)

The overall goal of this event was to cook snacks/meals that made sense to the Lord of the Rings world, while also keeping some sort of diversity for us consuming the food. As much as I love cheese and bread, I didn’t really want to eat it ten times over the three movies (or Lembas bread another ten for that matter). Not everything is perfectly accurate, and I would definitely make some changes if we were to go through this again in the future.

Alright, here we go…

 

I. The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring, Disc One: 0:15 – Gandalf visits Bilbo.

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Bag-End Apple Bread, Homemade Blackberry Jam, Sunny-side Eggs and Cheese.

Being the first meal and the both of us being breakfast connoisseurs, we wanted to start the day off on the right foot. I grabbed the Bag-End Apple Bread recipe as I previously mentioned and made a simple Blackberry Jam recipe to spread on top. We added some eggs and cheese, and coffee/tea to round out the meal.

 

The Fellowship of the Ring, Disc One: 0:37 – Frodo and Sam head towards Bree.

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Baked Apples in Cinnamon with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Our next food break took place when you see Sam and Frodo stopped on their way to Bree. They have full apples in that scene, but I wanted to spice it up a bit and go further than sliced apples. This was the end result, baked apples with cinnamon and vanilla bean ice cream.

 

The Fellowship of the Ring, Disc One: 1:11 – Merry, Pippin and Sam cooking a meal at Weathertop.

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Thick Cut Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes and Turkey Sausage.

This next meal is when Merry, Pippin and Sam start a fire and cook some food (against Aragorn’s wishes). It didn’t work out very well for Frodo, but it worked out for us because everything here was delicious. The Hobbits love their meat, and so did we with turkey sausage, bacon and roasted tomatoes.

 

The Fellowship of the Ring, Disc Two: 0:05 – The Journey Past Rivendell.

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Toasted Rosie’s Bread with Butter.

Next up, a simple slice of Rosie’s Bread with butter as the fellowship travels south towards the Redhorn Pass and eventually, Moria. You can’t tell from this picture, but the bread is toasted and the butter melting.

 

The Fellowship of the Ring, Disc Two: 1:02 – Lothlorien and Beyond.

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Lembas Bread with Blackberry Jam and Butter.

Lembas Bread is likely the most famous of the food items when it comes to The Lord of the Rings, getting mentioned or shown around a dozen times throughout the trilogy. We added more Blackberry Jam from our first mean of the day as well as butter to enhance the meal. Though we didn’t eat four at once like Pippin had, I definitely had as much over the coming days after the marathon.

 

II. The Two Towers

The Two Towers, Disc One: 1:00 – Past the Black Gate.

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Butter Roasted Salmon and Green Beans.

We took the most liberty here with this meal, butter roasted salmon and green beans. The intention was to get some sort of fish into the plan because of Gollum/Smeagol eating a fish that he catches at the forbidden pool in Ithilien. This happens a bit later in The Two Towers, but we had it here to break up the meal times a bit better.

 

The Two Towers, Disc One: 1:41 – Sam Cooking a Stew Near Mordor.

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Turkey Stew with Potatoes and Vegetables.

Smeagol brought back a rabbit, but we opted for turkey here instead and made a delicious stew with potatoes and vegetables. This is also Part I of the iconic Po-Ta-Toes meme from Sam and we felt we had to pay homage twice to it.

 

The Two Towers, Disc Two: 0:15 – Helm’s Deep being provisioned before the coming battle (and also Sam, again.)

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Roasted and Mashed Po-Ta-Toes.

Part II of our Po-Ta-To homage with a few roasted potatoes and a healthy dose of mashed potatoes with butter, garlic and pepper. This also doubled as a seeing Helm’s Deep being stocked and provisioned before the battle, which is when we ate this meal to give ourselves at least a little bit of a breather between the previous turkey stew and this.

 

The Two Towers, Disc Two: 1:39 – Isengard Store Room.

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A platter of meats, cheese, bread and pickles.

For Merry and Pippin’s discovery of the Isengard store room, we opted for a platter of different meats, cheeses, pickles and bread. Overall, we had pepperjack, gouda, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, beef jerky, ham, pepperoni, pickles and bread.

 

III. The Return of the King

The Return of the King, Disc One: 0:15 – Isengard Store Room/Celebration at Edoras.

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Mulled apple cider, bread, cheese and ‘salted’ pork.

We used this meal as a sort of combination of Aragorn, Theoden, Gimli and the rest arriving at Isengard to see Merry and Pippin presiding over their victory (and bragging about salted pork to Gimli), and the celebration at Edoras after their victory at Helm’s Deep. We used more of our Rosie’s Bread and Bag-End Apple Bread in combination with cheese (they really like Bread and Cheese in Middle Earth) as well as some Barbecue Pork and warmed Mulled Apple Cider to wash it down instead of ale.

 

The Return of the King, Disc One: 1:31 – Denethor’s feast.

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Roasted tomatoes, baked chicken and red wine.

This one was pretty easy. We grabbed the rest of our roasted tomatoes, made a large piece of breaded and baked chicken and grabbed a bottle of red wine to share during Denethor’s infamous scene, supposedly sending Faramir to his death.

 

The Return of the King, Disc Two: 1:32 – Many Endings.

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(L) Angel food cake with strawberries, chocolate syrup and vanilla bean ice cream. (R) Baked pretzels, cream cheese/sugar/cool whip and strawberries.

Being the last meals of the marathon, we went for a few light desserts to eat through the many endings of Return of the King. On the left, we had strawberries, homemade chocolate syrup, angel food cake and vanilla bean ice cream. On the right, baked pretzels, a mix of cream cheese/cool whip/sugar and more strawberries for good measure.

 

Questions

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, this was the second time that my wife and I watched the Extended Editions of each film. We each answered a few questions about the trilogy that I’ll list below…

What stuck out the most to you this time as opposed to the first time we watched the series?

Wife: I know we’ve talked about it before, but Sam is the real hero. If it weren’t for him, Frodo would not have made it to the mountain. There were so many times that Sam rescued Frodo and helped push him along.

Me: I’ve always liked all three films for their own reasons. Being the first time that I’ve watched all three straight through, I can say that I enjoyed each film more than the last. As things progressed, I felt like each film built upon the last and caused me to enjoy it more and more as it went on.

What did you enjoy more this time around?

Wife: Honestly, none of it seemed like it dragged this time, even with them being extended.

Me: I had a great time watching Aragorn. Viggo Mortensen puts a lot more into this role than I realized on previous viewings. There is a lot of acting that Viggo puts forth just using his eyes and facial expressions that I don’t think I appreciated as much in previous viewings.

What didn’t you like as much?

Wife: The amount of time The Ring is touched and just focusing shots on it. Also, the amount of slow motion that’s used in the series. I get why they chose to do it at times, but it happens often.

Me: I have to say that I agree with the slow motion. It’s one of those things that I didn’t really notice as much until it was brought up, then everything stuck out. It’s very 90’s and early 2000’s and doesn’t seem like it fits the other filming styles.

What was your favorite scene?

Wife: Gandalf riding out from Minas Tirith and warding off the Nazgul with his staffs light.

Me: I’ve always loved when the beacons of Gondor get lit. The music builds up and goes into this great sweeping piece as you see the beacons across the mountaintops light one by one. Aragorn sees the beacon closest to Edoras, runs in to the Golden Hall and screams “The beacons of Minas Tirith! The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid.” There’s a pause as Theoden decide’s the fate of his men, just to answer back with “And Rohan will answer. Muster the Rohirrim. Assemble the army at Dunharrow. As many men that can be found. You have two days. On the third, we ride for Gondar and war. ”

It’s such a good moment for Theoden. Earlier, he muses that he won’t help Gondor because they didn’t help Rohan at Helm’s Deep, leaving them to die. Despite this, Theoden takes that pause to understand that the coming battle is more important than those feelings he may have of Gondor. This fight decides the fate of Middle Earth, but also the likely death of them all. He still decides to answer Gondor’s call.

This moment has also turned into a living meme between my wife and I to the point that whenever anything similar to the beacons of Gondor being lit is shown in other movies or TV shows (candles, lanterns, anything), we start reciting the lines above (and she’s doing a much better job remembering Theoden’s lines).

What’s your least favorite scene?

Wife: Anything with Ents.

Me: I was never bothered by the Ents, but this time I realized that there are a few pacing issues for me. The most notable one was during Fellowship, when they reach Lothlorien. They are there for quite a long time and I caught myself just wanting them to make their way down the river and move on.

Another issue for me happens in Return of the King. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas escape the Dead Men of Dunharrow and are facing the Corsairs heading towards Minas Tirith. In the theatrical version, we are left with a bit of a cliffhanger on whether or not Aragorn succeeds in recruiting them. In the extended edition, we are shown a scene of them attacking the Corsair ships, which takes steam out of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields because now you’re explicitly shown that Aragorn will be coming with the army of the dead.

What’s your favorite character?

Wife: I really like Sam now even though I really didn’t before. Aragorn would be a close second.

Me: Sam’s positivity is infectious and I’ve always loved him as a character. Watching it this time, I really appreciated Aragorn and his journey a lot more. I felt the weight of the expectation that he claim the throne of Gondor a lot more this time around.

What’s your least favorite character?

Wife: Probably Frodo. I get that he has the weight of the ring, but he becomes very annoying watching all three movies in a row.

Me: Not sure if ‘villains’ are accepted here, but Denethor was especially anger inducing this re-watch. Seeing how he treats his sons, his people and his stewardship ticked me off a lot more than I would have thought watching Return of the King again.

What’s your favorite action scene?

Wife: Same as her favorite scene above with Gandalf riding out from Minas Tirith and warding off the Nazgul with his staffs light.

Me: I don’t know if the Battle of Helm’s Deep counts one action scene considering it spans over 40 minutes, but that’s it for me. I’m always on the edge of my seat despite knowing the outcome. One thing I did notice this time, was Gimli telling Aragorn “No one throws a Dwarf” down near the Bridge of Khazad Dun, just for Gimli to tell Aragorn to throw him to the front gate of Helm’s Deep. I hadn’t noticed that before, and watching them all back to back here really made it stick out.

What’s your favorite quote?

Wife: Frodo saying, “All right, then. Keep your secrets.” to Gandalf in the beginning of Fellowship or Gandalf, “Fool of a Took. Throw yourself down next time and rid us of your stupidity” down in Moria.

Me: Aragorn to the Hobbits, “My friends, you bow to no one.” For me, this is the emotional climax to the trilogy and hits me every time.

What was your favorite meal?

Both of us opted for Rosie’s Bread and butter here.

 

Final Thoughts

Thanks for checking out this adventure! It was fun to plan, and a bit stressful at times making sure that everything was set to go. The overall time that it took for us to watch all three films while eating twelve different meals was just under 14 hours.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time we attempt this, and this won’t be the only Lord of the Rings content that you’ll be able to find on this page. Let me know what you think of our efforts and what you think you would change if you go through it yourself.

7 thoughts on “The Lord of the Rings: A Marathon of Food

  1. Pingback: Editorial: May 2019 – Later Levels

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