Kitchen Adventures: A middle school journey into Middle Earth

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By Becca Owsley

Books are exciting, wonderful and brilliant and can be the inspiration for cooking.


Library Media Specialist Jessica Hundley decided to combine books and food as a reward to some of her avid readers at Bluegrass Middle School. They gathered in the media center last week during the school’s Read Across America emphasis. The event was rescheduled because of snow the week before.

The kids enjoyed a pasta lunch and sweet treats inspired by the guest speakers’ favorite books. One book mentioned was about a dog called “Beautiful Joe” and a recipe for puppy chow corresponded with the book.

Multicolored cupcakes represented “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and a chocolate cake represented a plotline in “Divergent.”

Hundley asked me to come to the event and submit a recipe from my favorite book. This caused me to have to think a while because my favorite book is “The Lord of the Rings.” As many know, Hobbits eat a lot. In fact, they have seven meals a day — breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

But in these many meals, what do they actually eat in Middle Earth? We know Samwise Gamgee enjoys potatoes, or taters as he calls them. From their meals in the book, Hobbits didn’t really seem too picky.

The elves — healthier eaters — had a bread for sustenance called Lembas. After an Internet search, I found a recipe for Lembas and gave it to Hundley for the day.

Her first words when I entered the media center were something to the effect of, “I’m not sure about this Middle Earth food.”

She said she had to try making it a few times and wondered if it was a weapon more than a dietary staple. The bread is very thick and hard. She wasn’t sure it was edible.

The kids, who were wonderful sports, each tried it. The consensus was it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be, but it certainly was different. Some even liked it.

One girl said the bread was “singing in my mouth, ‘I’m different.’”

The bread has an entire cup of honey, which is one of the most prevalent tastes as you bite into it. It is not a bread you want to eat a big chunk of because it is dense and requires an intense level of chewing. 

While the Hobbits went on a grand adventure of their own in Middle Earth, the students at Bluegrass Middle School found eating Lembas was an adventure all its own.

Combining reading and food is a wonderful idea, but maybe next time we’ll stick to Sam’s potatoes and leave the Lembas to the elves.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Lembas Bread
2 cups bread flour
1 cup fresh honey
1teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces crushed almonds
1/4 teaspoon extract of orange
2 eggs
1/2 grated orange rind

Knead dough vigorously and add flower as needed. This will create a very heavy bread that does not puff up. Cook at 325 degrees until slightly golden.

Source: http://apps.warnerbros.com/thehobbit/recipes/us

Recipe that was left off of last week's column

Rolo Stuffed Ritz Cracker

Ritz Crackers

Preheat to 350 degrees. Place crackers salty side down and place one Rolo on the cracker. Bake 3-5 min to melt Rolo, then remove from oven. Add another cracker on top and push down a little. Let cool.