In the whimsical world of J.R.R. Tolkien, Hobbits feast on fancy foods like delectable cakes and mouth-watering pork pies, all the while huddled inside their cozy mountainside homes lit by roaring fires.
Since reading the “Lord of the Rings” series or watching the movies on the big-screen is about as close as viewers can get to the fantasy-land where wizards and goblins roam Middle-Earth, one local resident wants to try and bring a slice of that life to the real world, so fans can eat like a Hobbit.
“There’s a niche for super-well-sourced food from the books that I think has some room, and the Middle-Earth crowd is certainly a very engaged and enthusiastic fan base,” said Heath Dill, who is raising money to create a cookbook based on Tolkien’s famed novels.
With “The Hobbit” coming to theatres soon, putting out an illustrated cookbook complete with recipes and step-by-step instructions on how to bake the food featured in the novels couldn’t be timelier.
“Fans are at a fever pitch…[it] certainly doesn’t hurt,” said Dill, who has solicited the help of a “Tolkien Professor” to put the project together.
“There’s a huge amount of material to work with in the books, food-wise,” he said, adding that some of the Hobbit foods are based on British-Isle cuisine like meat pies, seed-cakes and hearty bacon-filled breakfasts.
Outside of the Hobbit delicacies, there is also “Elvish waybread,” hearty Germanic Dwarven fare with ales and roasted meats, not to mention “a great deal of supporting detail about plants and animals and cooking techniques,” said Dill.
He even plans on throwing some foods in there that Gollum, the eery-looking “Ring” finder might find fanciful.
“Gollum is a fan of raw fish, and we certainly have plenty of that available here in Boston,” he said.
Dill, who grew up reading Tolkien from the age of 8, has turned to community support to raise money for the 30-recipe project using the crowd-funding platform “Kickstarter.”
He is currently trying to reach a $10,000 goal, and he is nearly there, just $300 shy with 20 days to go.
If Dill can’t raise the money in time the project might go bust based on the rules “Kickstarter” has about how an idea is funded.
But if he makes his goal, or even goes over, he has bigger plans in store for the Hobbit fanatics out there.
“The sky’s the limit here,” he said.
If Dill exceeds his goal and rakes in more funding than anticipated, he has promised “backers” that he will make YouTube cooking videos that show you how to make the dishes featured in the book. Dill has also promised to hire better photographers to snap photos for the featured foods and even make the book available for more digital-friendly platforms like e-readers and Kindle.
“I promise to add more and more fun and exciting rewards no matter how much is pledged,” Dill said on his campaign page. “I have a lot of foodie and cookbook plans and ideas beyond the initial set of goals.”
Dill isn’t new to the cooking scene, however.
While he is a programmer by day, he is a seasoned veteran when it comes to cooking conventional food fare.
In his spare time, he also runs his own foodie blog, aptly named “Dillicious.”
“I do love cooking and writing about food; ideally this [project] will mark a shift toward doing that as a bigger part of my life,” he said.