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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Tolkien Thanksgiving

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

If we have a Thanksgiving tradition, it is 'culinary adventure.' I was telling someone recently that I haven't roasted a turkey - for Thanksgiving or otherwise, really - since the mid-90s and I made the entire traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my college boyfriend's family. Needless to say: that relationship didn't last and my boys have only had the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole spread when we have feasted at other people's houses for this holiday.


Otherwise, I have created menus inspired by different things that were current in our lives. For example, when R was in 4th grade, they did a unit on California history. We had recently visited the Cooper-Molera Adobe and the kids had ground corn, learned to embroider, branded leather and more. From the museum giftshop, I had picked up a cookbook with Mexican recipes from nineteenth-century California, the Californio period. I figured I could support his study of California history by creating our Thanksgiving feast around foods that would have been eaten during that time. That year, our Thanksgiving table centered around Codornices en Almendrado con Puntas de Esáprragos, Quail in Almond Sauce with Asparagus Tips.


2013 was a rare kink between luni-solar Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar and the convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah; the last time it happened was in 1888. So, my menu that year was called 'Gratitude, Gimmels, Love, and Latkes' and my main dish was beef brisket with roasted grapes and horseradish gremolata.


Our first Thanksgiving during the pandemic - 2020 - felt so lonely and, well, grim. So, my menu was based on the stories of the Grimm brothers. That meal ended with Hansel and Gretel gingerbreads. And, I suppose, looking back, I do often lean literary or at least book-based. One year I pulled all of recipes from a book by historical novelist Crystal King; another year Claudia Rodin's Arabesque provided Middle Eastern inspiration for my dinner.


This year, I am going with a J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired Thanksgiving menu. My family has always loved the books and the movies based on the books. In fact, Jake and I went to see "The Return of the King" in the theatre while I was in the early stages of labor with D. I knew that if I didn't see the movie right then, I was never going to get to see it on the big screen. So I sat through that three-plus hour long movie while implementing my breathing techniques and shoveling buttered popcorn in my mouth. Yeah, we're fans.


Jake and I have streamed the new "Rings of Power" this Fall, but the boys have been busy at school. So, for this holiday break, we'll be feasting on Tolkien-inspired dishes and binging that show with R and D. I can't wait. I will post recipes and photos later, but here's the line-up..



Recipe Post Links...

Crabby Eggs (replaced Dragon Eggs)

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2 Comments


Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
Nov 23, 2022

Sounds amazing as always Cam.....I'm afraid of the uprising that might happen at my house if I went anything but traditional.

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Culinary Cam
Culinary Cam
Nov 24, 2022
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Ahhh...mine never really knew a traditional menu so I could do whatever I wanted. LOL.

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