The second supper in the house of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry comes after a rainy day, “Goldberry’s washing day.” Tom entertained his hobbit guests with long tales and songs. As the day waned, Goldberry rejoined them, and called for food and drink.
Quickly he returned, bearing a large and laden tray. Then Tom and Goldberry set the table; and the hobbits sat half in wonder and half in laughter: so fair was the grace of Goldberry and so merry and odd the caperings of Tom. Yet in some fashion they seemed to weave a single dance, neither hindering the other, in and out of the room, and round about the table; and with great speed food and vessels and lights were set in order. The boards blazed with candles, white and yellow. Tom bowed to his guests. ‘Supper is ready,’ said Goldberry; and now the hobbits saw that she was clothed all in silver with a white girdle, and her shoes were like fishes’ mail. But Tom was all in clean blue, blue as rain-washed forget-me-nots, and he had green stockings.
It was a supper even better than before. The hobbits under the spell of Tom’s words may have missed one meal or many, but when the food was before them it seemed at least a week since they had eaten. They did not sing or even speak much for a while, and paid close attention to business. But after a time their hearts and spirit rose high again, and their voices rang out in mirth and laughter.
Tolkien doesn’t tell us what was served that night, so we use the same ingredients as the first night in Tom’s house: “yellow cream, and honeycomb, and white bread, and butter; milk, cheese, and green herbs and ripe berries gathered.” For my Feast Week meal, I decided to focus on the simplicity of good, plain food, courtesy of the bountiful earth and lush forest. Since we’re using simple ingredients, willing guests can help prepare the meal. More importantly, there will be more time and energy available for tales and songs if the hosts aren’t worn out from cooking! I think Tom would approve of that idea.
I composed the feast here with the following elements:
- Hearty bread. Choose whatever kind you like!
- Fresh sweet butter.
- Strawberry preserves, a summer taste to sweeten the autumn meal.
- Honey, an absolute requirement in the house of Tom Bombadil.
- Fresh raspberries and blackberries, served on their own or bathed in fresh cream. I left mine plain, because I love plain, fresh berries!
- Mild cheeses. I’ve selected brie and fresh mozzarella. You can serve your favorite cheeses.
- Walnuts, for an extra dash of protein and a nod to the Old Forest where Tom resides. I like to roast the walnuts before using them, to really bring out the flavor. Place the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 3-4 minutes in a 350 F (175 C) oven. You can serve them warm or let them cool.
- I will have chilled water along with my meal, in honor of Goldberry, the River-daughter. A white wine would also work nicely. I would choose a sweeter wine, such as a Sauterne, White Zinfandel, or Rieseling. Another great choice, if you can find it, is mead! I can imagine Tom Bombadil making his own home brew!
After dinner, you can enjoy the company of others by telling stories, reading from books, reciting poems, singing songs, or a little bit of each. If you’re feasting on your own, tonight is an opportunity to renew your feeling of community through stories and music. This feast night gives you a chance to celebrate the warmth of friendship and camaraderie, and to share the simple goodness of life.
Photo credit: Tom Grabowski.
Special thanks to Pamela Clark for the beautiful tableware, implements, and linens used in the photos.