Merry and Pippin’s Guide to Feasting
[Still from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, New Line Cinema]
Merry: What's wrong, Pip?
Pippin: I've learned something troubling, Merry. Very troubling indeed.
M: What's that, then?
P: Did you know that today is an American holiday called “Thanksgiving?”
M: I don't see how that's troubling.
P: And that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast?
M: What are you on about, Pip? This sounds like the best sort of holiday.
P: And that their Thanksgiving feast is only one meal?
P: Now you understand.
M: But why… why would they do that?
P: Because they don't know any better, I presume.
M: This just seems wrong.
P: I agree.
M: They need our help.
P: Quite right!
M: Gather 'round, Americans. We're going to teach you how to have a proper feast.
M: Right, so, first off, feasting should last all day.
P: It's only proper.
M: Ideally, you'll have seven meals.
P: [whispers] Merry, I thought it was six.
M: [whispers back] It used to be, Pip, but now I think we can have seven.
P: Oh, right then, good. Seven is better than six.
M: Yes it is. So, back to our guide. You start with breakfast.
P: First thing in the morning.
P: Before you do anything else.
P: You don't even need to get dressed.
M: Pip, I think they've got it.
P: Oh. Right.
M: Breakfast can be small. Just a couple eggs, a few rashers of bacon, tomatoes, maybe some nice, crispy potatoes.
P: Sausages. Don't forget the sausages.
M: You're right, Pip. Sausages are important.
P: Next is second breakfast.
M: Don't wait too long for second breakfast.
P: Yes, you wouldn't want to cut into elevenses.
M: You're getting ahead of yourself, Pip.
P: Right! You want to know about second breakfast. The most important thing for second breakfast is not to go too big too early, or you'll ruin your whole day.
M: Exactly. So for second breakfast, think cold foods. Cakes, pastries, maybe some fruit.
P: Nothing that takes too long to prepare or eat. After all, elevenses is in just half an hour.
M: There you go with elevenses again.
P: Well it's almost time, after all.
M: That it is, Pip.
P: If you time it just right, you may not have to leave the table between second breakfast and elevenses.
M: That's right, Pip. Especially if you've already prepared your meal.
P: It's not hard to do. After all, you had all that time between breakfast and second breakfast.
M: Elevenses is a good time to have a cup of tea.
P: And maybe some sandwiches.
M: Cheese, too.
P: Right you are, Merry. Cheese, too.
P: Luncheon is where American Thanksgiving's real problems begin.
M: Why is that, Pip?
P: Because some Americans try to fit all their food for the rest of the day into this one meal, while others skip it entirely to “save room.”
M: What is “saving room?”
P: Nothing good, Merry, I know that.
M: Luncheon should be your biggest meal yet, but not the biggest of the day. Soups, salads, potatoes and roasted vegetables, and maybe some lean meat and crusty bread.
P: Perhaps it might be a good idea for the Americans to think about their normal Thanksgiving meal, and move a little under half of it to luncheon.
M: An excellent idea!
P: Merry, I'm hungry.
M: Not now, Pip, we're doing something important.
P: If you eat a good luncheon, it may be a longer time before you're ready for afternoon tea.
M: Up to two hours, even.
P: [whispers] Merry, I never go two hours.
M: Well but you're used to this schedule, Pip. This is for the Americans.
P: Ah yes, the Americans. For afternoon tea, you will want some tea.
M: Yes, Pip, I think they've got that.
P: I know, but I needed to be clear. Imagine not having tea for afternoon tea.
M: I don't want to imagine such a thing, Pip.
P: It's finally time, Merry!
M: Indeed it is, Pip!
P: My understanding is that the traditional American Thanksgiving feast includes a turkey.
M: Ah, good choice, Americans.
P: Some feasts include a turkey and a ham.
M: Even better, Americans.
P: I find that when sitting down to a meal with many dishes, it's best to take a smaller helping of each than you think you'll eat at first. That way, you'll be sure to get a good taste of everything.
M: And then you can go back for seconds.
P: And thirds.
M: If you need them.
M: I didn't mean you, Pip.
P: Right. Because I always need them.
M: You don't have to eat a seventh meal.
P: But you should.
M: Let's leave it up to them, Pippin.
P: The point of a day of feasting is to be eating from sunup to sundown.
M: But they might be tired by now.
P: Only if they don't do it right.
M: True. Plus this is a great chance to use up some of their leftovers.
P: What are “leftovers,” Merry?
M: Food that is left over after the end of the meal.
P: But why wouldn't you finish your food at each meal?
M: Some people can't, Pip.
P: I don't understand.
M: They might not be able to eat anymore.
P: But why?
M: I don't know, I've never understood it either.
P: But Merry, we'll never have leftovers, will we?
M: Of course not, Pip. We're hobbits.
P: I'm so glad to be a hobbit, Merry.
M: Me too, Pip. Me too.
Lauren is a writer of YA speculative fiction and a dedicated eater of queso. She lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband, two daughters, and a half-blind dog. When she’s not busy with her family, binge-watching TV shows, or writing books about dragons or superheroes, she can probably be found on Twitter, or in close proximity to coffee, tacos, or a bookstore.