Of Dwarves and Dinner

Cook once, eat twice (or thrice). That’s my primary strategy for feeding a horde of hungry hobbits (er, boys).

I love leftovers, especially when I’m extra tired. So tonight—after a long day of running errands and working on my book—I was looking forward to converting the leftover roast, carrots, onions, and rice from Tuesday’s dinner to easy soup. So resourceful, doncha think?

Only one problem: The refrigerated rice had spontaneously generated a science-experiment-worthy ring of black mold all around the pot. Ewwwww. What’s more, I discovered that no one had eaten ANY of the meal Tuesday night . . . while I was away roaming Middle-Earth with Bilbo Baggins and 13 dwarves.


Image courtesy of David T. Wenzel.

You see, the roast HAD to be cooked on Tuesday (“use by” date looming), but that was the only night my oldest son Forrest and I could go to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He had already seen it with his girlfriend, and I had already seen it with my 3 younger sons, but we wanted to watch it together.

Forrest is my number one Tolkien fan. At age 11, he would regale any unsuspecting repairman who entered our home with obscure Tolkien lore, and at 21 he can explain—in excruciating detail—not only the differences between the books and the movies but also their sources in Tolkien’s lesser-known works. Encouraging my children’s interests is really important to me, as is making memories together. I wrote about both of those things in my upcoming book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms. Plus it made a good excuse to see the movie twice.

But I digress. Before I left home to meet Forrest at the theater, I had Perry (17) put the roast in the oven and arranged for Andrew (18) to add the carrots and onions and cook the rice later. They’ve done it dozens of times and are very self-sufficient in the kitchen (another strategy in my book). They and my youngest son, Thomas, would feast on roast while Forrest and I nibbled on popcorn at the theater. Or at least that was my grand plan.

I have no idea what Andrew, Perry, and Thomas ate on Tuesday night, but tonight we all had not-very-filling beef-and-vegetable soup without rice.

But you know what? One wasted pot of rice and one not-so-satisfying batch of soup were, after all, a small price to pay for a memorable evening with Forrest, who will soon be leaving home. I have no regrets. However, next time I won’t wait 48 hours to look at the leftovers.

P.S. – Perhaps next time I should use potatoes instead of rice. As Sam told Gollum, “Po-ta-toes. Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew…”


  1. Maggie Hogan says:

    This made me grin — especially your remark about taters! I love your philosophy in both the kitchen and memory making arenas ❤️❤️

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with Maggie. And even this event is a memory-maker!

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