Book review: The Elven Cookbook

The Elven Cookbook

Robert Tuesley Anderson


Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

It’s hard for me to imagine Tolkien’s elves eating pizza.

Robert Tuesley Anderson, however, doesn’t seem to have the same mental block because one of his recipes in this book is Elwing’s White Pizza.

Literary-inspired recipes are a regular theme for Anderson who has also written The Brothers Grimm Cookbook, The Jane Austen Table, and Recipes from the World of Tolkien.

Food is a regular feature in Tolkien’s works, especially among the always hungry hobbits, but among the elegant, ethereal elves, the only food mentioned is lembas, a sweetbread that the Lothlorien elves give to the Fellowship before they leave to destroy the One Ring.

This made ripe fodder for Anderson’s foodie imagination so he came up with these recipes for nearly everything; drinks, snacks, seafood, and desserts; which cater to every dietary preference.

Over and above the food, this book is a feast of Tolkien lore as each recipe and chapter is prefaced by background from the books.

Some of the author’s inventions include Neldoreth Mushrooms, Tirion Tomatoes, and Fëanor’s Fiery Pumpkin Bake. I tried Radagast’s Oat Milk.

According to Anderson, Gandalf was obviously a meat-eater but fellow wizard Radagast was probably a vegetarian, hence this vegan recipe.

The three-ingredient recipe was simple and tasted plain but pleasant, but to me, it didn’t quite cut it as a dairy substitute, however, it did make a refreshing drink.

This was by far the simplest recipe in the book.

Most of the others used fancy or rare ingredients, like elderflower heads, dried dandelion roots, woodruff leaves, and burdock root, and, based on their frequent usage in this book, elves apparently ate lots of roses and almonds.

If you like Tolkien and fancy foods, then you will like this book.

Perhaps I should check out Recipes from the World of Tolkien because personally I’d take Sam’s “coneys” and “taters” over “stuffed bream with samphire” any day.