Taters and Thyme

Author: Cuthalion

Nominator: Inkling

2007 Award Category: Genres: Romance

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: No shocking scenes, but a few details about giving birth are mentioned.

Summary: When his fifth child is about to be born, the midwife (Lily Proudfoot from my saga Before I go to sleep) sends Sam into the kitchen, to ease his nervousness by cooking a good meal. And while chopping meat and plucking herbs, Samwise Gamgee counts his many blessings...

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Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 10

In fanfic it's tempting, and all too easy, to approach hobbits' love of food in a cliched, stereotypical way--the cheap shot about mushrooms, the easy gag of a "light snack" that takes a paragraph to describe. Heck, I've done it myself! But in this lovely little piece, Cuthalion has given us something much more complex and satisfying. Her hobbits demonstrate a truth found in all the best stories and films about food ("Babette's Feast" and "Tampopo" come to mind): that when prepared as a labor of love, it gives sustenance to soul as well as body. There are so many wonderful details to be savored here: the delightful scents of sizzling lamb, aromatic herbs, and sun-warmed soil; the capable yet tender midwife brushing flour off Sam's brow, the easy way the hobbits take over each other's cooking, or place by the bedside. My favorite passage is the scene in the herb garden...the sensations and Sam's emotions are so vivid! The story concludes in a comforting blur of warmth, love, new life, food and sleep, all mingling to form a picture of domestic bliss that filled me with a powerful urge to immediately cook something or plant an herb garden. The feeling passed and the herbs will have to wait until next summer now, but I'm still dreaming about it, thanks to Cuthalion.

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil  ✧  Score: 10

You've made me hungry, a true sign of a good hobbit story! As always I love your Lily, so sweet and caring while still keeping business-like and doing what needs done. And poor Sam, shut out of the room for the first time! I'm not sure if it's a translation decision or a whoopsie, but the line in which Lily says she will ["put the cake in the oven"] threw me for a moment since I'd been drooling over thoughts of a pear *pie*, neither of which are technically the same as the sort of strudel-type dish or tart I think you probably had in mind. (It's funny how strongly food can bring people together once they figure out what they're eating! :) ) The most powerful moment of the whole piece, which is saying a lot for such a short but jam-packed story, was Sam's trip to the garden. The relief he felt there on his knees in the dirt resonated with me as both a gardener, a cook and a die-hard Sam lover. The undertones of parenthood and care-taking are so subtly woven into this story it really only just struck me how much they move the narrative: his feelings of responsibility toward Rosie as her time comes and his distress at not being with her, his memories of his own mother teaching him to cook, how Lily steps into those shoes once the little one arrives; all are vital to the story, but in such a quiet way. Yet another wonderful hobbit tale from one of the most talented hobbit writers I've had the pleasure to read!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

A tale with our beloved Sam, the wonderful Lily Proudfoot, and Rosie having yet another baby, with Sam finding peace while cooking. A wonderful tale, and a superb look at Shire life.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

This was really nice, mixing both interesting descriptions of the preparation of the meal as well as believable contemplation by Samwise as he waits for his child's birth. Nice work.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

Another appearance by Cuthallion's OFC Lily, the midwife--she would, of course have been a frequent visitor to Bag End! Sam's a bit nervous this time around, so she sends him off to the kitchen to cook! And a recipe fic!! My joy is complete! I adore recipe fics!