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Dwarvish Customs by Alfirineth

Author:Alfirineth
Title:Dwarvish Customs
Rating:G
Theme: Special Occasions
Elements:Roast
Author's Notes: For the record, I don’t believe that Elves are vegetarian. Though it’s a common belief among some fans and a ploy for laughs by Peter Jackson and company, I just have never read anything that says that they are. (If you have, please let me know where it is. I would be interested to know.)

Khazad-dûm endured until the middle of the Third Age, though the doors of Moria were shut.

Is it ‘dwarfs’ or ‘dwarves’? I used ‘dwarves’ since that is how it appears in the appendix of LOTR, but for some reason I thought I had seen it ‘dwarfs’ somewhere. Anyone?

Summary: A slice of life story from the childhood of Elladan and Elrohir at the beginning of the Third Age.
Word Count:895


Elladan was the first to see their father come around the bend into the garden. He jumped up with his usual exuberance and ran to embrace him. “Adar, guess what,” he continued without waiting for an answer, “we have been studying dwarves recently and so today we decided to make a roast. Do you know what a roast is?”

Elrond knew perfectly well what a roast was, but merely smiled fondly down at his son who was latched onto his waist. “What is it?”

“Well, it’s a dish that the dwarves make when they celebrate a family gathering.”

“Which is what we are having tonight, Adar.” Elrohir, no less excited than his brother, had come up and attached himself to his other side. Elrond put his arm around his second son and gave a little squeeze and all three walked in tandem towards the fire pit.

“Well, it smells delicious,” Elrond stated. “How long have you been cooking it?”

“All day!” stated Elrohir with a dramatic sigh.

“But in order to watch the fire pit and the cast iron oven while it has been cooking, Naneth let us take our lessons outside!”

“She did?” Elrond looked up at his wife.

“Such as they were,” Celebrian said. “We did a lot of oral lessons today and very little writing.”

“Don’t believe her, she made us write over there in the dust with sticks,” said Elladan indignantly, pointing off to the left.

“One whole sentence,” his mother said. “I am sure it was torturous.”

“It was,” stated Elrohir, holding his arm out for his father to see. “See! It’s never going to be the same!”

Elrond took his arm and felt briefly up and down the whole section that was pointed out. “I think that you are right,” he said. “It looks serious. Maybe we should take your arm off about here,” and he laid the side of his hand just above the elbow.

Elrohir yanked his arm out of his father’s light grip. “Adar! Be serious,” he said with that sing-song tone that accompanies disbelief in children.

Elrond chuckled and Celebrian smiled from where she was tending the food.

Elladan raced back to his mother. “Is it done, yet? Is it done?”

“Yes, I believe that it is,” she grunted a little as she hefted the pot up off of the coals. “Why don’t you get the potatoes out and we will get everyone situated.” Elladan hastened over to the coals covering the dish with the potatoes. “Don’t burn yourself,” she added.

“Naneth, I can do it. Don’t worry.”

“I would never dream of worrying,” she assured him, not really meaning it. She lifted the lid with a metal hook with a wooden handle, careful not to knock any ash into the roast beneath.

“It smells wonderful, love.” Elrond walked up beside her and carefully avoiding any hot implements, kissed her.

“I am glad of that,” she stated. “I am a little out of practice with the fire pit. Hopefully it is cooked through.”

“I am sure that it is delightful.”

She smiled good-naturedly and everyone sat down at the table.

“Do you remember how to eat this dish?” Both boys started talking at once and she raised her hand to quiet them down. “One at a time,” she said gently. “Who wants to go first?” Elladan’s hand shot up a little faster than Elrohir’s.

“We put the pickled cabbage and meat on top of the potatoes,” Elladan recited.

“That is right,” she said. “Elrohir, do you know why?”

“It is the traditional food of a family gathering among the dwarves of Khazad-dûm,” he said, stumbling a little on the pronunciation.

“Excellent,” Celebrian said and started dishing up the plates, potatoes first and then the meat and pickled cabbage.

“I would like to add one more thing,” Elrond said and the boys waited expectantly. “Does anyone know what the meal represents to the dwarves?”

“I know, I know!” blurted out Elrohir. As all attention turned to him he continued, “It is something about family togetherness. Or something like that.”

“That is correct. The meal preparation and the cleaning up are all done as a symbol of family unity.”

“Is there a set day for it?” questioned Celebrian.

Both shook their heads. “No. It is just when all the family is gathered together,” answered Elrohir.

“Then let us eat,” said Elrond.

//\\//\\//\\

Later that evening, Elrond and Celebrian sat companionably in the garden as the stars appeared. Their children were safely resting in their beds and it was just the two of them.

“It was a good day,” Celebrian stated. “All days should be so fine. But, they are not and I suppose that is what makes these days all the more enjoyable.”

“True,” Elrond answered sidling closer to her and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “But I have waited long enough for a wife and family. I am glad for these days to treasure.”

//\\//\\//\\

Sauerkraut Pot Roast

A largish piece of meat- pork is traditional, but I prefer beef as it mellows the kraut
A jar of sauerkraut

Cook in a crock pot (or in a dutch oven) until the meat is tender and falls apart easily. Serve over potatoes (mashed potatoes is how I was introduced, but baked or boiled potatoes are just as good).
Serve with whatever vegetation you desire and enjoy.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
dreamflower02
Sep. 18th, 2013 02:20 pm (UTC)
Awww...this is fun! I love the idea of Celebrian and Elrond teaching their children about other races and their traditions. It seems very much the sort of thing they would have done, given Rivendell's long-standing tradition of hospitality.

BTW: In Tolkien it is always "Dwarves", but everywhere else, it is "dwarfs". Being the philologist he was, he had opinions about certain words and how they ought to be spelled. He felt that "Dwarves" is the plural that should have evolved (like knife=knives, wife=wives, hoofs=hooves, and life=lives) so that's what he always used.

He also preferred the word "nasturtian" to "nasturtium"!

He was rather opinionated when it came to language, LOL!
alfirineth
Sep. 18th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
I've always preferred Rivendell to any of the other Elven enclaves for that very reason; it just seems a more comfortable place.

Thanks for the information! I find that I would agree, it seems so much more intuitive to change it like the other words, but then since English is a living language, who knows, perhaps it will change officially. That is interesting about nasturtian/um. :) I am wondering why 'that' change. I must be pronouncing it wrong.
dreamflower02
Sep. 19th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
He thought "nasturtian" was the older and more authentic pronunciation.

He also had a poor opinion of words derived from the French--he still held the Norman invasion against them.
alfirineth
Sep. 20th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
I don't know why, but I find that really rather amusing. :)
blslarner
Sep. 18th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful meal, and what a wonderful reason to rejoice. In this day and age so often it seems that the family tends to fragment and rarely to take meals together.
alfirineth
Sep. 18th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
I thought about a lot of different reasons to use a roast in a celebration, but this seemed the most intuitive. I agree, there are so many good times that can come from eating together.
jay_of_lasgalen
Sep. 18th, 2013 05:33 pm (UTC)
That's lovely - I can imagine the twins learning about other cultures like this, and I've always written them with a very 'hands on' education too!

Tolkien always used Dwarves, but I've not seen it anywhere else. As mentioned above, he was a bit particular about words! Also, I don't believe the Elves were vegetarian - after all, Thranduil's people ate venison in The Hobbit.
alfirineth
Sep. 18th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I find that it was my 'hand's on' education that has stuck with me through the years.

It makes sense to use dwarves as the plural, just like elves. But, ah, well.

Thanks for the reference in the Hobbit. :)
someplacetobe
Sep. 18th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC)
This was sweet.
alfirineth
Sep. 18th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
shirebound
Sep. 18th, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
What a sweet, loving, and quite delicious tale!
alfirineth
Sep. 18th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I am glad that you liked it.
lindahoyland
Sep. 18th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
A delightful glimpse of Elrond's family life.
alfirineth
Sep. 20th, 2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I am glad you liked it.
engarian
Sep. 18th, 2013 11:22 pm (UTC)
This was really sweet. I see this as so typical of what Elrond and Celebrian would do. Of course, Celebrian would have known the dwarves of Khazad-dum when she was with her parents in Ost-in-Edhil; perhaps she even ate a meal very like this when she was a youngling herself.

I love Sauerkraut pot roast, so you got a great food assignment here!

- Erulisse (one L)
alfirineth
Sep. 20th, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
It is quite possible that Celebrian could have had a meal like this when she was in Ost-in-Edhil, or at least heard about it. I had forgotten about that, so I appreciate you bringing it up!

Sauerkraut was something that my husband's family introduced me to when we were first married and is quite popular in our household, so I am glad to find another fan. :)
hhimring
Sep. 19th, 2013 07:15 am (UTC)
Sauerkraut in Moria? I'm all in favour! I like the idea of all those dwarvish families assembling around their pot roasts--and Celebrian thinking it important enough to teach!
The "dwarves" thing is discussed by Tolkien in one of his letters, I believe. It probably was originally simply a personal spelling, but he deliberately insisted on it to distinguish his dwarves from fairy-tale dwarfs (Disney and so on)--his argument is that is if dwarves had been around historically and people kept talking about them as the real thing rather than make-believe, the word would not develop a regularized plural (such as "dwarfs").
Also, I have seen it stated by others who know their canon that the belief in the vegetarianism of elves is actually a cross-over from non-Tolkien elves.
alfirineth
Sep. 20th, 2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
I am glad you like the idea of sauerkraut in Moria; it brings a smile to my face as well. :)

Thanks for the information about the spelling of dwarves. It would make sense for it to be developed into a regularized plural if they actually existed as a people.

That is interesting that the vegetarianism is a cross-over from other things--that makes a lot of sense. Thanks!
burning_night
Sep. 19th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC)
This was really really cute - I loved the sense of family that the fic had, and the idea of dwarven families gathering together to eat a roast like this was also really nice. I think they're a very family-orientated culture, so this fit with my headcanon nicely. And the recipe sounds quite simple, I might even be able to accomplish it!
alfirineth
Sep. 20th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
It is always a lot of fun to discover that someone else has a similar headcanon as myself. :)

It really is a simple recipe, see how it turns out!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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