Hobbits are a fictional humanoid race that live in the lands of Middle-earth in the world created by author J.R.R. Tolkien. They are known for their love of food, drink, and eating numerous meals throughout the day. But the exact number of meals hobbits eat has been a topic of much debate among Tolkien fans and scholars. Some argue that hobbits eat 6 meals per day, while others insist they eat 7. In this article, we will examine the evidence from Tolkien’s writings to try to determine once and for all how many meals hobbits eat in a typical day.
Evidence for 6 Meals Per Day
There is considerable evidence to suggest that hobbits eat 6 meals per day. Here are some of the key points:
– In The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien writes that hobbits eat “two meals a day.” This implies breakfast and dinner, leaving room for four additional meals throughout the day.
– Several times Tolkien refers to hobbits having “six meals a day.” For example, in a letter Tolkien wrote, “I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of fairy rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg. A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and ‘elvish’; hair short and curling (brown). The feet from the ankles down, covered with brown hairy fur.” This clearly states hobbits eat six meals per day.
– Hobbits are said to eat “breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.” That makes 6 named meals, supporting the idea of 6 meals per day.
– Tolkien notes in his writings that hobbits devote great care and time to growing food and preparing meals. It is doubtful they would spend so much effort on only 2-3 meals per day.
Evidence for 7 Meals Per Day
However, there are also clues that suggest hobbits may eat 7 meals per day:
– Some references are made to hobbits eating a meal called “Highday-lunch.” This could represent a 7th meal not included in the common 6.
– Hobbits lead leisurely lives devoted to food and relaxation. It is easy to imagine them adding an extra snack or light meal when they can.
– In The Fellowship of the Ring, it is noted that hobbits “eat, and drink, often and heartily.” This implies frequent meals.
– When describing typical hobbit mealtimes, Tolkien uses phrases like “at least 6 meals a day” or “6 or more meals.” The “or more” leaves room for a 7th meal.
– Considering hobbits’ obsession with food, it would be unusual for them to restrict themselves to only the bare minimum number of meals.
There is convincing evidence on both sides of this debate. Ultimately, Tolkien’s writings are somewhat ambiguous concerning the exact number of meals hobbits eat per day. There are references to 2, 6, and 7 meals, sometimes in contradictory ways. However, based on the preponderance of evidence, it seems most likely that hobbits eat 6 main meals, with the possibility of an extra snack or light meal added in, for a total of 7 food intakes per day. This fits with their agrarian, indulgent lifestyle and obsessive food culture. But the issue remains open to interpretation and further analysis by Tolkien scholars. In either case, hobbits certainly eat far more frequently than the typical 3 meals per day of most humans! Their eating schedule reflects their cheerful personalities and love of the comforts of hearth and home.
Hobbit Meals and Eating Habits
To provide more context, let’s take a deeper look at the typical meals and eating habits of hobbits:
Hobbit breakfasts are large, hearty meals eaten soon after waking up. Typical breakfast foods include eggs, sausages, bacon, toasted bread or muffins, jam, butter, fruit, tea, juice, porridge, and more. Hobbits believe in starting the day off right with a satisfying morning meal.
Second breakfast was eaten after a hobbit finished morning chores or activities, often late morning. It helped tide them over until lunch and may include foods like bread, cheese, meat pies, or cake.
Elevenses was a light snack occurring around 11am, meant to curb hunger prior to the midday meal. Cookies, biscuits, or seedcake are common elevenses foods.
Luncheon was the midday meal, similar to lunch or dinner. It might consist of various breads, cold meats, soups, stews, or a lighter meal like salad.
Afternoon tea was a small meal or snack typically featuring tea, scones, sandwiches, biscuits, or pastries. Hobbits take tea seriously!
Dinner was the main evening meal, much heartier than luncheon. Roasts, stews, savory pies, baked fish, and other hot foods were common dinner choices.
Before bed, hobbits often ate a light supper to round out the day. Bread, cheese, fruit, or leftovers are typical supper fare.
Hobbit Meal Customs and Traditions
In addition to what and when hobbits eat, it’s important to understand their customs and attitudes surrounding meals:
– Hobbit meals are highly social, meant for gathering with family and friends. Eating alone is seen as peculiar.
– Most hobbit cooking revolves around simple, hearty fare that can be prepared without fuss.
– Typical hobbit beverages include ale, wine, tea, coffee, juice, milk, and water.
– Seven full meals on Highday are customary, making it extra special.
– Leftovers are rare as hobbits have prodigious appetites and eat until stuffed.
– Hospitality and giving is shown through meals; a shared meal signifies deep friendship.
– Meals are happy occasions accompanied by singing, storytelling, smoking, and relaxing.
– Hobbits take pride in keeping pantries well stocked and larders full to feed many guests.
– Birthday celebrations involve lavish parties with feasts lasting all day and gifts given away.
As shown above, hobbit meals and attitudes about food reveal much about their contented nature and love of the good life. Their frequent meals reflect this focus on family, friends, and creature comforts.
Impact of Meals on Hobbit Life and Culture
The importance hobbits place on food shapes their culture and daily rhythms significantly:
– The day revolves around meals, with business and tasks scheduled between eating times.
– Hobbit towns and homes feature prominent pantries, larders, and dining spaces.
– Cooking, eating, and clearing up after meals fills much of a typical hobbit day.
– Mealtimes provide natural points to pause work, socialize, and rest.
– Food and eating are central topics in hobbit conversations.
– Hobbit holidays and events highlight special meals and food traditions.
– Farms, markets, and smials reflect the hobbit emphasis on agriculture and food production.
– Hobbits judge others positively if they enjoy eating well and hosting dinners.
– Abundant food symbolizes prosperity, success, and well-being in hobbit society.
In many ways, food fuels the hobbit economy, social calendar, and daily rhythms of life. Their leisurely lifestyle revolves around producing, preparing, and enjoying meals together. Even the architecture and layout of hobbit towns show the central place food holds.
Significance of Frequent Hobbit Meals
The fact hobbits eat so many times per day might seem excessive to some. But for hobbits, it provides important benefits:
– Multiple small meals are easier to digest than a few large ones. This suits hobbits’ small stomachs.
– Eating frequently helps regulate blood sugar and metabolism better for hobbits.
– Regular meals give structure and rhythm to the hobbit day.
– Snacking curbs hunger between main meals. This prevents overeating.
– Meals are chances to regularly socialize and strengthen bonds.
– Preparing and eating meals fills time in hobbits’ leisurely lifestyle.
– Food is readily available thanks to prolific hobbit agriculture and cooking skills.
– For hobbits who love eating, more meals increase enjoyment and satisfaction.
Hobbits seem to have adopted an ideal diet and eating schedule that provides energy, nutrition, socialization, and pleasure for their easygoing lifestyle.
Hobbits possess exceptional appetites and love of food. Their frequent meals reflect these tastes but also provide important benefits that suit their active lifestyles and emphasis on hospitality. Tolkien was somewhat vague on whether hobbits officially eat 6 or 7 meals per day. But the evidence points to typically 6 meals, with the potential for a 7th occasional light meal or snack. This allows them to enjoy optimal digestion, metabolism, and health while also spending generous time cooking, eating, and cleaning with family or friends. Meals are treasured daily rituals essential to proper hobbit life. In the end, the exact number matters less than the fact hobbits build their days around enjoying shared repasts and good food in abundance. This reflects their convivial natures and also fuels a culture centered upon the kitchen, pantry, and dining table. For hobbits, meals are so much more than just food alone.