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For the Wedding Feast - by Larner

Author: Larner
Title: For the Wedding Feast
Rating: G
Theme: The Great Feast
Elements: Dancing
Author's Notes: For all whose birthdays I've missed, particularly Febobe, Claudia, Kitty, and Tracey Claybon.
Summary: Sam and his friend Tom share memories as Sam prepares a special dish for Elanor's wedding feast.
Word Count: 1,327 not counting title and recipe



For the Wedding Feast


“So, Samwise Gamgee, it’s the Princess’s weddin’ day at last, is it?”

Sam looked up from where he was slicing boneless beef steaks into thin strips, although his hands did not pause in their work. “That it is, Tom. And I wish as you wouldn’t call her that. It embarrasses her terrible, it does.”

Tom Cotton, husband to Sam’s sister Marigold, shrugged and took a deep draught from his beer mug. Swallowing and wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeve, he commented, “Her’s about the prettiest lass in all the Shire, and has served the Queen herself and all. And the stars know as even poor Mr. Frodo doted on her more’n about anythin’ else in Middle Earth afore he left the Shire. Can’t think on anyone else as deserves the title more’n our Elanorellë.”

Sam returned his attention to the beef, his nose twitching slightly as it sometimes did when someone mentioned his long-absent friend. “Mayhaps as you’re right, Tom. But our dear lass has never put on airs nor thought herself above anyone else, not ever since she was born. And now she’ll be leavin’ us as her and Fastred will be startin’ up their lives together back in Greenholm.” He was quiet as he cut three more slices and scooped what he’d cut so far off the cutting board and dropped it into a basin of what appeared to be some kind of oil. As he set to cutting even more slices he continued, “We’ll not know what t’do without her, her mum and the younger ones and me.”

“It’s not as if she’s never been gone, though,” Tom noted, “what with her stayin’ up north in the King’s new city, servin’ in the King’s own house.”

“That may be true,” Sam said, “but then she was still ours, but from now on she ain’t. She’ll be mistress of her own hole, she will, and Fastred’s wife, and soon enough mother to her own bairns.” He wiped his forehead with his bared arm. “Think of that—me, a gaffer in my own right! How Frodo would laugh at that, all delighted!”

Tom’s face grew more solemn. “That he would,” he agreed, his voice quieter and more respectful. “He loved her deeply—I know that, rememberin’ how he looked at her last time as I saw him. It’s too bad, really, as he couldn’t be here today. How he’d of loved to dance at her weddin’, or so I’m thinkin’.”

Sam gave a nod as he finished up the last of the steak he’d been slicing. “Indeed he would.”

“Not,” Tom added, “that I member him dancin’ at any weddin’ after the four of you come back from down south-aways. That seemed so strange at the time, seein’ as him was about the best dancer in the whole of the Shire when he was younger.”

Sam set aside his knife and added the new strips of beef to the basin. “You’re right—Frodo didn’t dance after we come back home.”

“Why not?”

Sam looked up to meet his brother-in-love’s questioning gaze. “He was hurt too bad for too long. It’s why he left when he did, Tom, for he wasn’t getting’ any better. You know as how moody he’d get when we was stayin’ at your place, there afore Bag End was finished for him to return home, and how his shoulder’d pain him so. It never healed, there where the Witch-king stabbed him. And he couldn’t walk on and on, not like he always did afore. When we was headin’ south he’d outwalk every one of us, but not after we was saved from Mordor. But, think on it. If’n you’d been stabbed with a Morgul blade and nearly was turned into a wraith, then was poisoned by the most evil of great spiders as the Enemy ever bred, was beat by orcs and almost died of lack of food and water and rest and the poison of the worst fire mountain as ever was, and had your finger bit off by the likes of that Gollum, do you think as you’d of ever got better?”

Tom had to allow that perhaps he’d have done no better than had Frodo Baggins. “It’s just too bad he couldn’t dance after that, though,” he said.

Sam set another steak on the board and prepared to slice it. “Actually, he did dance twice, there in the White City, after Lord Strider was made King, and again at the King’s weddin’ to our Lady Arwen. Danced the Husbandman’s Dance for the King and Queen, he did. Pippin was singin’ the song for it, and as they picked up the tune the musicians joined him in the music. And Mr. Frodo, he made it through all seven turns, each one faster and faster! Only----” He paused, staring off into old memories before finally continuing, “Only when it was done it was all he could do to stand upright. Almost collapsed right there afore all them fancy lords and ladies. That was it for him—he wouldn’t dance again.”

He was quiet, looked down and gazed for a moment at the knife in his hand as if he didn’t recognize its purpose, then gave himself a shake and returned to his slicing.

Tom decided he’d best change the subject. “And what is it as you’re fixin’ for the weddin’ feast, Sam?”

This time Sam smiled. “It’s a dish as Mistress Loren taught me, there in the guesthouse where we stayed in Minas Tirith. Said as she learned it of a lass what had been saved from a slave ship from those from Harad, one as Prince Imrahil’s folks captured. Don’t know as where this lass come from to begin with, but it was a land far, far away from Gondor. She wasn’t much taller than a Dwarf, although she was in truth a woman amongst Men. But her skin was almost yellow, and her hair and eyes so dark as to be almost pure black, and her eyes rather tilted. Mistress Loren’s family give her a place to live, and she took to helpin’ with the cookin’. So I asked Lord Strider for the oils and seeds and sauce as is used in the makin’ of it, and decided it would be quite the treat for my eldest’s weddin’ day!”

Tom leaned over to sniff at the basin. “Don’t think as I’ve smelled anythin’ quite like it. So, it’s got carrot strips in it, does it?”

“Yes, and green onions and garlic as well. I think as you’ll like it fine. Now, if’n you’ll see to it as the rice there is ready to cook, I’d be much obliged. It goes right fine with rice, it does, although Mr. Frodo preferred it with somethin’ else as they call noodles, there in Gondor. He never cared for rice much, not my Frodo.”


Elanor Gamgee-Gardner Fairbairn had to have been the prettiest bride that Tom had ever seen, dressed in that gown of tea green silk. And as her father danced with her afterwards her face glowed so with happiness that Tom was certain she’d managed to pass up even her aunt Goldy on the day Tom and she’d been married by Mr. Frodo.

All praised the food served at the wedding feast, and as Tom had his third serving of the sliced beef that had been marinated in the foreign oil and spices, he saw a rather tall, slender Hobbit who appeared somehow familiar speaking with Elanor beneath the Party Tree. The two of them danced a turn there in the dappled light under the golden leaves of the Mallorn, then the strange Hobbit bowed in a courtly manner to the young bride, kissed her tenderly on the top of her head, above the crown of primula blossoms and elanor flowers she wore, before he left, although afterwards Tom could never say for certain which way he’d gone.

--~0~--
BULGOGI
Grilled Marinated Beef


Bulgogi is one of Korea's most popular beef dishes that is made from thinly sliced sirloin or another prime cut of beef (rib eye). It is usually marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic, onions, ginger, and sugar for two to four hours to enhance the flavor and its tenderization. Bulgogi is traditionally grilled but broiling or pan-cooking is common as well. Whole cloves of garlic, sliced onions, and chopped green peppers are often grilled or cooked at the same time. It is often served to non-Koreans as a first taste of Korean cuisine.
This dish is usually served with a side of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy vegetable, which is used to wrap a slice of cooked meat, often times along with a dab of ssamjang, kimchi, or other side dishes, and then eaten as a whole.

Korean 101: Bul is the Korean word for fire and gogi is meat, therefore, it translates into fire meat. However, it's not quite spicy in taste but somewhat on the sweet side.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

• 1 lb thinly sliced beef (sirloin or rib eye)
• 5 tbsp sugar
• ½ cup soy sauce
• 2 buds finely chopped garlic (can be crushed but remove buds before serving)
• ¼ tsp salt
• 5 tbsp Mirin (sweet sake, optional)
• 2 tbsp sesame oil
• 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
• 1 cup split green onions
• 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (optional)

COOKING DIRECTIONS

1. Mix all ingredients except carrots. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
2. Cook over medium high heat until meat is just short of desired completion.
3. Add carrots and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
4. Serve with rice.

Recipe from TriFood.com http://www.trifood.com/bulgogi.asp

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
Sep. 30th, 2015 10:06 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful. I never thought about how Sam spent Elanor's wedding day, or how difficult it would have been to be missing Frodo so. The ending is lovely.
blslarner
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:18 am (UTC)
I so imagine that both Sam and Rosie were involved in preparing the wedding feast, although with the twelve children they ought to have had lots of help, of course! But they'd want something special and exotic on that day, or so I'd think. And I like to imagine that a special guest was allowed at least a moment to delight in Elanor's joy that day.

Thanks so very much, Shirebound.
nancylea57
Sep. 30th, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
The recipe sounds good, but the story is so very believable. Seems something that the One would let happen for all the good that they represent. Softly, queitly, and discretely, just this side of dreamlike.
blslarner
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:20 am (UTC)
How beautifully you've caught it, Nancylea! And I rejoice to have you comment on this! Thank you so!

And I love bulgogi, which was first made for me by my brother's wife. How I miss her!
lindahoyland
Oct. 1st, 2015 12:54 am (UTC)
What a lovely glimpse of Elanor's wedding.
blslarner
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:20 am (UTC)
Thank you so, Linda! I hope it was indeed a beautiful day for all of them.
febobe
Oct. 1st, 2015 01:40 am (UTC)
*CRIES*

As usual, my dear, you have brought me to tears and wrenched my heart right out of my chest. This is a beautiful Frodo-filled fic even though he never speaks and appears so little (and I wouldn't have it any other way - his appearance is so magical here b/c it's not the least bit heavy-handed) - and it is only a master who can make the fic Frodo-fabulous with so little actual appearance by him. I've read fics where Frodo was completely present for the whole thing that didn't have a third this much Frodo heart. And it's also just a beautiful fic in its own right - a lovely look at Sam and Tom, and a gorgeous image with Elanor, and a RECIPE (which I now want to try!) too!

This is now one of my favorite fics of all time, and to be among the birthday folk included in the dedication is beyond all joy for me. :) Thank you SO SO SO much, sweetheart. <3 This is spectacularly gorgeous.

Hugs and thankiesnugs,
Febobe <3
blslarner
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:23 am (UTC)
On this day I'm certain Frodo would have been on the minds of all who knew and honored him, and that those he loved would have been on his mind, too, particularly this lass who was almost as much his child as she was Sam and Rosie's.

My older brother's beloved wife was from Korea, and I am glad to honor her memory in this story.
periantari
Oct. 1st, 2015 03:37 am (UTC)
I love the dialogue about Frodo and how they're still thinking about him all these years and about him dancing and about him being hurt.
And lovely description of Elanor being the prettiest hobbit lass there is!
And yes, bulgogi is very good dish... glad you shared it!
blslarner
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:26 am (UTC)
I've written the story of the dress of tea-green silk, so I thought this time we should look on Elanor and Fastred's wedding from Sam's POV--and somehow Tom took over! Frodo must have been present in the memories of all who'd known him, I'd think.

And I LOVE bulgogi, which I tend to eat with french fries as I can't abide rice. I'd make a very poor oriental person, I fear. Heh!
periantari
Oct. 3rd, 2015 03:35 am (UTC)
That's so funny you don't eat bulgogi with rice! But french fries are awesome anyways. :)
Yes, i think the green silk dress description really stood out for me in this tale. Really lovely and bittersweet story. :)
talullahred
Oct. 1st, 2015 04:58 am (UTC)
The recipe is yummy and I loved the dialogue and Sam's thoughts on it all.
blslarner
Oct. 1st, 2015 06:28 am (UTC)
I was glad to find a way to offer a recipe for bulgogi to so many people. And I so appreciate that you loved the story. Thank you so, Talullahred.
(Deleted comment)
blslarner
Oct. 9th, 2015 09:43 pm (UTC)
I am so glad that you enjoyed it, Mews. Thank you so!
hours_gone_by
Oct. 1st, 2015 05:04 pm (UTC)
Mmm, bulgogi!

I love the conversation between Sam and Tom, so sweet and so sad all at the same time.
blslarner
Oct. 9th, 2015 09:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, Bulgogi! I am so glad that my late sister-in-love introduced it to us! And I never imagined that young Tom would take over this story! Thank you so!
nessrealta
Oct. 1st, 2015 07:21 pm (UTC)
What a lovely, wonderful story! I enjoyed it very much!
blslarner
Oct. 9th, 2015 09:45 pm (UTC)
I am so glad. Thank you so!
addie71
Oct. 2nd, 2015 01:14 am (UTC)
Ah, poor Sam. How hard not to have his Mr. Frodo there for Elanor's wedding. Beautiful story.
blslarner
Oct. 9th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC)
I agree so with you, Addie. Thank you so!
dreamflower02
Oct. 2nd, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
Frodo's friends would always miss him dearly when special occasions came up. Especially something like Elanor's wedding, his presence would be felt. I love the subtle ambiguity of the "tall stranger".

The recipe sounds yummy too--doesn't look too spicy for me.

If you don't use the Mirin, do you substitute some other liquid?
blslarner
Oct. 9th, 2015 09:52 pm (UTC)
I like to imagine that Lord Irmo was allowed at times to bring Frodo home from time to time, and especially for special days such as this. I didn't want to clobber people over the head with his possible presence, but felt he might at least have been noticed by someone other than just Elanor.

I have difficulties with especially spicy foods, having a digestive system designed by Sauron himself, I suspect. Heh! But I have no problems with Bulgogi at all. It's one of my favorite oriental foods.

I'd not see the Mirin in Bulgogi recipes before this one, but bought it to try when I make it again--maybe next week, if I'm lucky. I don't think any other liquid beyond what is stated in the original recipe is necessary, however.

Thank you so!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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