Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Foreign Ways

Author: annmarwalk
Nominator: Branwyn
2007 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Gondor or Rohan - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Other Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: When Eowyn first seeks to introduce some Rohirric customs to Ithilien, she finds an unexpected ally in Mag the Cook.


Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

Mag the cook is indeed a cook at heart, willing to taste-test anything. And also, an apparently adventuresome young woman once upon a time, willing to be lured into taverns by strange blond strangers with no Westron who want to stand her and her best friend drinks. It all turns out well, however, and Mag gets to add another few culinary items to her list of enjoyable things to eat. Eowyn, newly arrived from Rohan, and eager to accustom her Gondorian staff to Rohirric fare provides an entertaining reminder to Mag of that earlier encounter, which Mag handles with grace and a bit of a white lie, but Eowyn is delighted with her enthusiasm. Plus, Mag can now enjoy certain Rohirric delicacies once again, secure in the new knowledge of how to make them herself, thanks to Eowyn. A cute bit of cross-cultural interaction, Ann!

Reviewed by: EdorasLass -- Score: 6

Mag is wonderful here (as she always is), with a gastromomic sense of adventure that, amusingly, her friend Nall does not share. I like the way Mag is immediately intrigued by the unfamiliar drink, and how, even though there is little shared language between her and the Rohirrim, she still manages to wiggle the recipe out of them. I also like the glimpses of the dynamic between Mag and Nall, [I sighed, but there was little I could do: though she was my closest friend, she needed to learn to be responsible for herself], and how understanding (if perhaps reluctantly so) Mag is of Nall's whimsical nature. While I must admit that [kumiss] does not sound in any way appealing to me, it is lucky that it was appealing to *Mag*, for it allows her to find common ground with the new Lady of Ithilien. She says [I did so like Lady Éowyn; I found her pragmatism an excellent foil to my lord Faramir’s dreaminess], which is undoubtedly true, but I can't imagine that Eowyn wouldn't like Mag, especially when she is so enthusiastic about learning more about foods of Rohan.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A heart-warming (and stomach-warming!) paean to the multicultural bridges forged by love of interesting foods. Mag the Cook is a beguiling, credible OFC who has appeared in several of the writer's stories, and is delightful as the narrator in this piece, interacting with Eowyn in the early years of the Fourth Age. And the culinary snippets and tips are well-researched, and only add to Mag's considerable charm.

Reviewed by: Mechtild -- Score: 4

I love stories that portray Éowyn sympathetically, and as the character I know from LotR. This is one of them and I thank you for that. Another thing I liked was how it piqued my interest in things I don't know about. This *kumiss*—is it a real drink? That is, a drink found in non-Middle-earth? Mag's tantalizing depiction of this drink and its making has persuaded me to look it up. I raise my glass to the coming together of Rohan and Gondor—in the marriage bed and in the kitchen.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 4

Just Lovely! I could so see Mag feigning ignorance to bond in a way with Eowyn. I do think she would like to explore new recipes, and Eowyn's experience with Rohirric cooking would seem like an adventure to her. The described memory, too, was highly entertaining - I could see it happening all too easily. Nice writing all around, Ann - it earned a good chuckle from me.

Reviewed by: phyloxena -- Score: 3

Mag the cook has this comforting, no nonsense voice you recognize. She is a great original character, with lots of personality, very faithful to the canon. And I love people who try new foods!

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 3

This is a nice little story. Getting some familiar food in a foreign land is really important, I can say from my own experience. I like the way you describe Mag's experience in the tavern.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Ah, our Mag learns how to ferment mares milk, and compliments her new mistress by asking about making other Rohirric delicacies she remembers from her youth. Calls to mind my favorite Sutcliff tales! Thanks for the reminder.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 3

Mag has such an open mind! And her enthusiasm must have done a lot to reduce Eowyn's feelings of being a rather unsophisticated outsider. I love the memory of Mag's first introduction to kumiss.