Merry and Pippin’s Guide to Feasting

Posted by Lauren Thoman

[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.

M: Yes.

P: Before you do anything else.

M: Right.

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.

P: Merry.

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 Thoman

Lauren Thoman

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.