Every Meal the Hobbits Eat in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings

JRR Tolkien introduced the world to Middle-earth with his book The Hobbit, and he introduced the Hobbits by their behavior and lifestyle. This included things like gardening, brewing beer, nights out at the tavern with their friends, and the questionable virtues of pipe weed. But more than anything else, it was food that defined their sweet and comfortable life. The Hobbit opens with a long evening dining, as Bilbo Baggins finds his pantry annihilated by 13 starving dwarves. Since then, meals have been a central part of Hobbit identity, and indeed it is part of their lowliness of spirit that makes them so resistant to the One Ring. They prefer a muffin than a throne.


Peter Jackson and actor Billy Boyd found a memorable way to convey that love in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. As Aragorn leads the Hobbits to Rivendell, Pippin asks about the “second breakfast” and a litany of extra meals that will likely be skipped as they continue. Tolkien specified six meals in the Prologue for The Fellowship of the Ring, but two of them are essentially the same meal. Here’s a look at each to give a good idea of ​​what Pippin is missing.

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Breakfast marks the most important meal of the Hobbits’ day

The Hobbits wake up at breakfast, but the specific times in the novel vary. Sam announces breakfast at 9:30 a.m. while on the road in The Fellowship of the Ring, but the heroes also eat breakfast at other times of the morning, depending on the circumstances. Either way, it’s the first meal they have after waking up and it’s probably a light continental style meal. This means tea, muffins, toast with jam, and maybe some berries or similar pieces of fruit. Alternatively, it could be a heavier meal: something akin to an English country breakfast with eggs, sausages, bacon, jam and cakes or other pastries.


Pippin isn’t the only Hobbit to crave a second breakfast

Tolkien mentions the second breakfast in The Hobbit, with Bilbo settling into his just as Gandalf appears to tell him that the Dwarves have already left for The Lonely Mountain. Although it sounds like fiction, the second breakfast is actually a traditional meal in Poland, Germany, and other parts of central Europe. It tends to be lighter than the first breakfast, although the two can switch places depending on the circumstances. Traditionally, it includes coffee and either a meat dish, such as sausages, or pastries and muffins.

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Elevensies see Hobbits eating at 11 a.m. sharp

Elevensies is a light meal with roots in the UK, Hungary and other parts of Western Europe. This is more of a palate cleanser than a formal meal. As such, it’s usually limited to coffee and toast or some sort of pastry. Tolkien mentions it at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring like the start of a serious meal at Bilbo’s party.

Lunch marks the midday meal of the Hobbits

Lunch is the midday meal, and it probably doesn’t differ much from traditional midday meals anywhere in the real world. The Fellowship of the Ring mentions shepherd’s pie served at Bilbo’s birthday party, while Bilbo himself served pork pie, mince pie, cold chicken, eggs, cheese, salad, apple pies and various cakes when he entertained the dwarves at the start of The Hobbit. This meal was technically afternoon tea, but judging by its scale, it’s safe to deduct a late lunch instead. The movie version of Jackson made it a late after-dinner meal. Simpler meals might also be common, especially among Hobbits less well-off than Bilbo. This can involve cold cuts, potatoes, or various forms of soup. Lunch was also the first meal of the day that involved heavy drinking: Bilbo’s feast with the Dwarves included beer, ale, and wine.


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Afternoon tea has hobbits adopting another English tradition

Tea is another British tradition adopted by the Hobbits and presumably followed the same menu. This includes scones, cookies, jam and clotted cream served with coffee, tea or perhaps a sweet liqueur like mead. The Hobbit mentions Bilbo’s fondness for blackberries, which could also be present at an afternoon tea.

Dinner includes the Hobbits’ biggest meal

As the biggest meal of the day, dinner was also probably the most elaborate meal for Hobbits. The general population could do with mutton or beef, as well as vegetables, like carrots or potatoes. However, someone of Bilbo’s means could do a lot more. Hobbit dinners would likely have multiple courses and focus on foods naturally available in the region. This could include soups, beef dishes, freshwater fish, such as trout, and possibly game such as hare or pheasant.


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Supper marks the end of the Hobbits’ busy meal schedules

Technically, lunch and supper are the same meal, with little difference between them. Hobbits, however, can’t seem to go more than two or three hours without stopping to eat, meaning a last meal before bedtime was likely. Tolkien hints at it, and Jackson added it at the end of Pippin’s speech to emphasize how often they eat. As the last meal of the day, it would probably be something that would take a while to digest, like meat pies, boiled eggs, or other beloved hobbit pastries.


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