15. The Shire: food
Sam Gamgee, Rosie
Sam Gamgee, Rosie
Sam awoke, and realized his hand lay across a most pleasing portion of his new bride’s body. He felt full of wonder—in all of his imaginings of what last night might have been like, he’d simply not managed to capture the sheer powerful pleasure and emotion that went with lovemaking! And how beautiful she was, lying there….
Wait! This wasn’t the time for mooning! He’d planned for so very long what it would be like, their first morning meal together, once they were married. No, it was time to get up and see to it that his planned first breakfast would be one she would remember always!
Mistress Loren, who’d kept the house for them when the Fellowship had lingered in Minas Tirith, had given him a special gift for when he and Rosie finally married. There was a stoneware jar filled with a dark brown powder, which she’d told him had come from Far Harad, and with it was a receipt for a drink to make with that powder. “It will please you both, and is said to stimulate the appetites for not just food but for one another,” she had told him. He rose as gently as he could so as not to wake her, pulled his dressing gown off the back of the chair and wrapped it around himself, and slipped down to the kitchen to prepare it all.
In moments the fire was stoked and the kettle set over the hob to heat. Eggs went into a pannikin of water to boil while a second pannikin held enough milk for two drinks and was set to one side to warm more slowly, while he cut thin slices of ham and set them to warm in the oven. Now—the Cottons had brought fresh strawberries from their glass house. Where had Mr. Frodo stowed them? Ah—here, in the corner of the cool room! Cut up in a moment, and sprinkled liberally with sugar, and with some thick, sweet cream in a small jug….
Sugar and some of the powder mixed with a small amount of boiling water and stirred to make a thick syrup; add in the milk and heat it, stirring. Aha! Yes, he remembered the scent of it from his sojourn in Minas Tirith. And if it did as Mistress Loren said---- He was smiling as he slipped out the side door with the garden shears he took from their peg by the door, and in moments had just the flowers he wished to use in his wedding breakfast bouquet.
Out with the bed tray from the bottom of the first larder, wipe it down and set it with a cloth—just the thing, the cloth the Gaffer indicated had been on the tray for that first breakfast with Sam’s mum. Such beautiful embroidery on it, and how pretty it looked with the two plates and the food upon it—and then the small vase of flowers. Now, the drinks!
Finally satisfied, he carried the laden tray to the bedroom. Rosie was just sitting up and brushing her curls from her face, and her eyes widened as she saw him bearing in their first first breakfast together. She looked at the mugs and sniffed deeply. “Ooh! It smells delightful! What is it?”
“I brought it back from Gondor, Rosie mine. It’s a drink made from a powdered bean from far, far to the south. Mistress Loren called it hot chocolate.”
He settled the tray on his bedside table and slipped back in beside her, and settled the tray over the laps of the two of them. They ate and laughed—and kissed, sipped their drinks and rejoiced in the unseasonal strawberries—and kissed, and ate some more….
And one thing led to another. Soon enough the tray was back on the table by the bed, and the two of them were sating themselves once again with one another.
Oh, he thought in the last moments he could do so, he would have to write Mistress Loren and thank her for the gift of the chocolate powder and that receipt!
Recipe for Hot Chocolate (serves three)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's is most available in the U.S.)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup hot water
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix dry ingredients in saucepan. Stir in water.
Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; allow to boil for two minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in milk and heat, continuing to stir so milk and sugar don't scorch. Bring to desired temperature. Do not boil.
Remove from heat and add vanilla.
If you like mint hot chocolate, try steeping some mint leaves of your choice in the mixture as you boil the chocolate syrup, or substitute mint extract of your choice for the vanilla.