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Scribblings  by Baylor

Morning calls too urgently to wait for breakfast. It is better to shove crumpets and muffins into pockets and sausage into your mouth and bolt out of the smial and across the fields with Pippin at your heels. Breakfast is better in the air of the new day, augmented by berries you pick on the path. They stain your fingers and Pippin’s face and you think their sweet taste must be the flavor of summer itself.  The grass is damp with dew and the muffin crumbs onto your shirt and all the world was made just for you, just for this day.
Second Breakfast
Second breakfast is good for listening to adults, and sitting across from your mum and watching her face as she talks to Aunt Hilda. It is good for eggs and bacon and toast and watered-down tea that makes you feel grown-up. It is unhurried and warm and heartening after the bustle and buzz of breaking the day has worn off. You mind your manners and sit up straight and ignore Berilac when he nudges your leg under the table with his foot. Your mum smiles at you in approval, and then winks in conspiracy as she slips you the last sticky bun.
For some bemusing reason, elevenses are Pippin’s favorite meal. You think perhaps he just likes the word. Or maybe because elevenses most often are taken in the kitchen, and sometimes standing up. There is no need for plates or silverware when one can nab a little of this and a dab of that, tucking it quickly into your cheek before dropping the next culinary treat into your pocket. Elevenses are quick and varied and casual and you are back to the business of the day in no time. Pippin licks his fingers and smiles up at you and says, “What shall we do now, Merry?”
The masses of lads and lasses who reside at Brandy Hall take luncheon in the Children’s Hall, running alongside the main kitchen and out of hearing range of the adults in the dining hall. This is just as well, as it is a riotous affair that commonly involves overturned plates, spilt drinks, a weeping child or two, and sometimes a tussle. There is a great deal of commerce, ribbons traded for glass beads and slingshots for tops and biscuits for tarts. Luncheon is less about food and more about secrets and pacts and afternoon plans, and that suits everyone just fine.
The finest tea is served at Bag End. The tea and pastries themselves are of no higher quality than those served at Brandy Hall, but the event is so splendidly special that it has its own flavor. You eat at the kitchen table and Cousin Bilbo pours from the kettle himself. You are allowed to sit right beside him, across from Frodo, who is in charge of supervising Pippin, and while you eat he speaks to you just as he would a grown-up. He listens seriously to everything you say and when you look across the table Frodo is smiling at you while Pippin sticks his fingers into the jam.
Sometimes, the future Master takes supper in the dining hall, but more often, he takes it in his apartments with his wife and son. This is the best way to have supper, just the three of you about the small round table in front of the fire. Da’s voice is low and rumbling and Mum’s is warm and murmuring and it doesn’t matter, really, what is said when it is enough just to hear them. You do not know, yet, that there is anything grander in the world than this, and you have not learned, yet, that this is in fact the best thing of all.
Midnight snack
It is Frodo who has taught you that sweets taste best when they are burgled, and then eaten together in some secret place, heads close together, giggles stifled and manners abandoned. You are careful not to wake Pippin when Frodo gently shakes your shoulder, and the two of you sneak silently to the kitchens as only young hobbits bent on mischief can sneak. You think it is the splendor of Ruby’s cake that makes these excursions such a delight, but someday you will know that this sweet joy is the taste of friendship.

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