Dwarvish Customs by Alfirineth

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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.

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