In the LOTR movies, we see the hobbits complain about missing meals a lot, as seen here:

PIPPIN: Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?

Do we know what meals a hobbit would usually take every day?

Side question: is there a difference in meals between the book and movie?

  • 2
    Do you know about second breakfast? Oct 15, 2015 at 20:50
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    Lots and often. It was something like "early tea, breakfast, second breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, supper, dinner" -- I remember seeing a list years and years ago, but have no idea where to reference it now, but I do remember it being funny that supper and dinner were distinct full meals.
    – zxq9
    Oct 15, 2015 at 23:50

2 Answers 2



From the prologue (emphasis mine):

As for the Hobbits of the Shire, with whom these tales are concerned, in the days of their peace and prosperity they were a merry folk. They dressed in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and were clad in a thick curling hair, much like the hair of their heads, which was commonly brown. Thus, the only craft little practised among them was shoe-making; but they had long and skilful fingers and could make many other useful and comely things. Their faces were as a rule good-natured rather than beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking. And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them). They were hospitable and delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted.

fellowship of the Ring Prologue 1: "Concerning Hobbits"

An exact schedule is difficult to nail down; the hobbits we follow don't usually take their meals at consistent times.

Books versus Movies

Pippin identifies seven meals in the movie, and this is how they relate to the books:

  • Breakfast. Hobbits have breakfast, though our four favourite hobbits don't take it at a consistent time. On the road from Hobbitton, they have it at 9:30:

    Sam! Get breakfast ready for half-past nine!

    Fellowship of the Ring Book I Chapter 3: "Three is Company"

    In Crickhollow, before setting out through the Old Forest, they have it at 4:30:

    It is time to get up. It is half past four and very foggy. Come on! Sam is already getting breakfast ready. Even Pippin is up.

    Fellowship of the Ring Book I Chapter 6: "The Old Forest"

    And in Bree they take it at 6:30:

    'In any case we must be called at dawn,' said Frodo. 'We must get off as early as possible. Breakfast at six-thirty, please.'

    Fellowship of the Ring Book I Chapter 10: "Strider"

    Rather than occurring at any kind of consistent time, "breakfast" appears to be just the meal they eat as soon as they wake up. About what time your typical hobbit would do that is, unfortunately, unrecorded so far as I know.

  • Second Breakfast. In The Hobbit, Bilbo is about to tuck into his second breakfast, at 10:30, shortly before Gandalf sends him off to join the Dwarves:

    Then he had a nice little breakfast in the kitchen before turning out the dining-room. By that time the sun was shining; and the front door was open, letting in a warm spring breeze. Bilbo began to whistle loudly and to forget about the night before. In fact he was just sitting down to a nice little second breakfast in the dining-room by the open window, when in walked Gandalf. "My dear fellow," said he, "whenever are you going to come? What about an early start?-and here you are having breakfast, or whatever you call it, at half past ten! They left you the message, because they could not wait."

    The Hobbit Chapter 2: "Roast Mutton"

  • Elevenses. This is actually a real meal taken in the UK, so it seems likely that hobbits also have it. There's a possible reference to it in reference to Bilbo's party (emphasis mine):

    When every guest had been welcomed and was finally inside the gate, there were songs, dances, music, games, and, of course, food and drink. There were three official meals: lunch, tea, and dinner (or supper). But lunch and tea were marked chiefly by the fact that at those times all the guests were sitting down and eating together. At other times there were merely lots of people eating and drinking - continuously from elevenses until six-thirty, when the fireworks started.

    Fellowship of the Ring Book I Chapter 1: "A Long-expected Party"

    But that's the only mention I can find. As Catija points out in comments, it seems a bit odd to have two meals so close together (second breakfast at 10:30 and elevenses at, well, 11), so it's possible this is rather a reference to the 11 o'clock hour. It's also possible that Bilbo just took his second breakfast late, or that hobbits really are that gluttonous. Either or.

  • Luncheon. This word isn't used, but "lunch" is. I'm not sure of the difference, if there is one.

  • Afternoon tea. Hobbits definitely take a teatime meal, which is referenced in the quote above from Bilbo's party. Exactly when they take it is hard to say, but it seems likely that it would be about 4pm, since that's when afternoon tea was traditionally taken in real-life England

  • Dinner/Supper. Pippin splits these up, but I'm not entirely confident there's a distinction in the book. Our friends at English.SE note a difference, but it's not clear to me from the text whether the hobbits consider these two separate meals, or if they use two names for the same meal (depending on how heartily one eats).

  • 4
    So... that makes it sound like "second breakfast" is the same as elevenses... 10:30 is almost 11...
    – Catija
    Oct 15, 2015 at 16:46
  • 1
    @Catija It is odd, I agree. Then again, it's hard to fit six meals in a day unless you have them very close together, so who knows Oct 15, 2015 at 17:05
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    Sure. I found a chart on a site that shows 7 meals throughout the day... it's interesting but I'm not sure how much it's based on the actual facts... the site seems like it should be reputable, though.... but Tolkein himself states (as you quote) there are only 6, so there must be two terms used for one meal either in second breakfast/elevenses or dinner/supper.
    – Catija
    Oct 15, 2015 at 17:07
  • 1
    In various cultures, dinner is taken early ~6pm, and supper is taken before going to bed (usually something light, like a soup or a broth). That could well be 2 separated meals.
    – njzk2
    Oct 15, 2015 at 19:56
  • 6
    It might be most proper to say that hobbits take inconvenient breaks from continuous eating when the exigencies of life demand it, and have therefore developed named and semi-scheduled occasions throughout the day during which they make up for the missed eating activity by consuming extra. An extra meal here and there, when it can be squeezed in, is surely just making up for some previously missed eating opportunity - or one that may be missed soon. Never can be too careful, you know. Oct 15, 2015 at 22:21

They eat six meals a day in the books.

being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them). They were hospitable and delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted.

In Jacksons films this is changed to seven, possibly because he's never actually read the book, or just skimmed it.

  • 12
    Actually it appears, from what I understand, that Peter Jackson and his team read the books quite closely, several times. That comes out more in The Hobbit, I think. Oct 15, 2015 at 17:43
  • 4
    @MattGutting they didn't read the same version of the hobbit as me :-D
    – user46509
    Oct 15, 2015 at 17:47
  • 2
    Oh they did. They didn't tell the story in the same way The Man did - but they didn't intend to - they couldn't. Oct 15, 2015 at 17:55
  • I think they just found 7 meals to be funnier than 6. Sep 19, 2018 at 14:55

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