What do hobbits eat?

“Tonight, we dine in Middle Earth!”

That’s the kind of nerdy crap I used to say as a freshman in college. It was because UC Irvine has a first-year housing community called Middle Earth with Tolkien-inspired hall names like Rivendell, Hobbiton and Isengard. The names extend to several dining halls (Brandywine Commons and Pippin Commons) and even the campus’ central road (Ring Road).

Super geeky? Yes. But it didn’t make the dining hall food any better.

Hopefully, the food will actually be tasty at Davis Food Co-op’s upcoming “Hobbit for Grown Ups” cooking demonstration (Free, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5 at the Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library,  315 East 14th Street in Davis; www.yolocountylibrary.org).

“The best fantasy fiction builds a richly imagined world that the reader is reluctant to part with once the book ends,” says Yolo County Librarian Patty Wong in a press release.  “Our ‘Cook the Book’ series with the Davis Food Co-op gives the reader the tools to extend the experience through menus evocative of that particular place and time.”

I’m not completely convinced that food is the best way to experience a book (especially if it takes place in a fictional time of war). A few years ago, I reluctantly had actual Hobbit-themed food when Denny’s was the only food I could get at a truck stop during a road trip. Here’s a portion of that menu:

OK, fine: Radagast’s Red Velvet Pancake Puppies wouldn’t have been too bad if they weren’t so damn greasy. Hopefully Davis Food Co-Op’s “Teaching Kitchen wizards” (according to the library’s press release) do better with their menu of mushroom stew, crusty bread and “cheese and pickles found in every hobbit’s larder.”

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