In both the book and the movie it would seem that Hobbits are especially fond of mushrooms, sometimes braving dangers to harvest them.

I have seen somewhere an interview in which Tolkien claimed he was quite partial to country cuisine, and preferred a simple diet. (possibly even here)

Did he imbue his characters with his own preference? Did he have any special recipes?

  • 3
    @Oni Matter of fact, I am right now cooking up a delicious sauce of mushrooms to accompany my special meatloaf and mash! Made me think about the subject.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 9 '19 at 23:11
  • 25
    They’re hallucinogenic, the Hobbits just like getting high!
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 10 '19 at 4:49
  • 4
    ...because they can pluck them almost at eye level? ;)
    – jvb
    Jul 10 '19 at 16:26
  • 9
    Why wouldn't they be fond of mushrooms?
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 10 '19 at 18:15
  • 9
    @Edlothiad: OK...so...the whole Sauron/Mordor/Gandalf/Moria thing was just, like, a bad trip? Well, that explains a lot... :-} Jul 10 '19 at 21:27

It's mentioned in his authorised biography that Tolkien had a personal liking of mushrooms, stretching as far back as his idyllic childhood days in Hall Green, Birmingham, the very same memories that supposedly inspired his writings about the Shire.

According to his younger brother Hilary Tolkien, his recollection is that a particularly loathsome farmer (that they nicknamed "the Black Ogre") once chased a young 'Ronald' Tolkien from his farm for the heinous crime of picking field mushrooms.

At the foot of the pool the dark waters suddenly plunged over the sluice to the great wheel below: a dangerous and exciting place. . . . Indeed, explorations could be made in many directions, though there were hazards. An old farmer who once chased Ronald for picking mushrooms was given the nickname “the Black Ogre” by the boys. Such delicious terrors were the essence of those days at Sarehole...

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

Decades later Tolkien confirmed that he was still extremely fond of wild mushrooms, of the very sort that might grow in the fields around Hobbiton.

I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible).

Letter 213

  • 41
    Mushrooms 'out of the field' are a lot tastier than the 'cultivated in a dark basement' versions
    – Danny Mc G
    Jul 10 '19 at 3:01
  • 2
    @Cascabel Cooking mushrooms is hardly unique to French cooking! Jul 10 '19 at 17:15
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby You are right...I seem to remember that Frodo had some kind of cooked mushroom dish at Farmer Maggot's house at the beginning of his adventure.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 10 '19 at 17:28
  • 1
    " have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome)" Apparently, I too am a hobbit.
    – corsiKa
    Jul 10 '19 at 23:30
  • Ya know..if you could find an actual recipe which Tolkien liked...it might possibly become a a family favorite in much of the world. I am looking at a lotta recipes on-line, mostly they look like click-bait.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 10 '19 at 23:51

I don't know about why. That question could probably be asked about anything in the story, and the answer would most of the time be "just because". But you are right, it definitely was part of the world lore and was put there consciously. A quote from The Fellowship of the Ring:

Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings of Big People. A fact which partly explains young Frodo's long expeditions to the renowned fields of the Marish, and the wrath of the injured Maggot.

  • 1
    This just seems to mainly back up the premise of the question rather than actually answer it.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 12 '19 at 23:37
  • @TheLethalCarrot - Well, sort of. OP says that "it seems that hobbits like carrots" which I confirm that it not only seems that way, but it's been explicitly stated. But for the "why" part my answer is "just because the author wanted it so". It's like asking "why are hobbits short" or "why was Frodo called Frodo". There's no specific reason other than it seemed like a good idea at the time of writing.
    – Vilx-
    Jul 13 '19 at 2:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.