It is well known that Mayor Gamgee started his career as a simple gardener for the now departed Mr. Frodo Baggins when he still lived at Bag End in Hobbiton. When Mr. Baggins left The Shire for the secret mission that took him into the heart of the War in the South, the Mayor acted as his servant and cook, providing many other useful services along the way.
According to a handwritten remembrance recently discovered among the papers of the Baggins Archives at the Mathom-house in Michel Delving, one of the services the Mayor offered was to distract Mr. Baggins from the horrendous surroundings in which they frequently found themselves. He often did this by mentioning pleasurable memories and items of interest from Home. Among these was a rather lengthy recitation of every taters dish he could remember.
“It began when we first entered the desolation,” writes Mr. Frodo in his remembrance. “We had just started working our way through the rough and rugged land, and Sam says, ‘Taters are the wheat of the ground. You can boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew.’
“I thought that was going to be the end of it, but then he went on. ‘There’s, uh, roast taters, baked taters, twice-baked taters. Pan-fried taters, deep-fried taters, tater chips. There’s garlic taters, onion taters, scalloped taters, hashed-and-browned taters.’
“By the time we entered the Black Land and were trying our best to avoid the Great Eye of the Enemy, I thought for sure he was almost done, but he was just ramping up. ‘You got tater cakes, tater skins, tater wedges, tater slices, tater thins. Tater stew, tater soup, leek and tater soup, cheese and tater soup.’
“Round about the time we started climbing the approach to the Mountain of Fire, he had moved on to all the different kinds of things that went good with taters. ‘There’s taters and bacon, taters and sausage, roast with taters, mutton and taters. Corn and taters, peas and taters, green beans and taters, carrots and taters, taters and herbs.’”
This list goes on for some time, though Mr. Baggins admits he did not remember all of the taters dishes recited by the Mayor. “He paused for a bit while I took care of some business at the Cracks of Doom. But when we were sitting amongst the lava flows waiting for the End of the World to come, he took up his inventory again. ‘Tater puree. Tater bread. Tater salad. Vodka.’ Then, just when we were sure death was upon us he uttered, ‘That’s…that’s about it.’”
Anyone who has attended the Mayor’s Harvest-feast knows of his fondness for taters, of course. If you have not tried his Bacon-Onion Taters Supreme, we encourage you to come to the festival grounds this Thursday, where there will be enormous pots of it for all to enjoy – along with masses of butter!