Of Elven Diet

Discussion in '"The History of Middle-earth"' started by Mithrellas.Dagoranna, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. Mithrellas.Dagoranna

    Mithrellas.Dagoranna Heiress of Ecthelion of the Fountain

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    What do elves eat?
    Because I have ever read that they eat salad. But they eat meat too.
    Do they have cookies?
    Do they have breads?
    Do they have candies?

    Can you list some of the elven diet?

    Where do they get their food supplies?
     
  2. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Zombie elves would eat brains :p:D.

    Idk, but I'm interested to see responses here.
     
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  3. Mithrellas.Dagoranna

    Mithrellas.Dagoranna Heiress of Ecthelion of the Fountain

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    By the valar, I was excited that someone has answered my question that fast. But when I read your answer, I was speechless. Accurate. I thought you would give me a serious answer. But thatsI fine. Thanks for answering!
     
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  4. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Elves eat food :D

    I can't recall Tolkien ever going into that much detail here, outside of lembas. They drink wine and mead according to the early-ish poem The Lay of the Children of Hurin, and...

    "... and goodly meats
    there burdened the boards..."

    In The Hobbit, the smell or roast meats smelled out (sorry couldn't think of a good verb there) from Thranduil's forest feast. Some think the Green Elves of Ossiriand did not eat meat, as they sent messengers to Finrod, complaining that Men were: "hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends"

    Lembas "journey bread" was made for those who had need to go on a long journey in the wild, or for the hurt whose life was in peril. "Only these were permitted to use it." The Eldar say they first received lembas from the Valar for their succor upon the Great Journey, made of a kind of corn which Yavanna brought forth in the fields of Aman. In Middle-earth the Eldar grew it in guarded lands and sunlit glades (check your maps and guess I guess), gathered its golden ears by hand, and from ear to wafer none were permitted to handle this grain save the Yavannildi, the maidens of Yavanna.

    Source: Of Lembas, The Peoples of Middle-Earth

    Can't recall if Tolkien ever mentions cookies or candy, but now I'm hungry in any case.
     

  5. Starbrow

    Starbrow Tolkien Fan

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    The elves of Mirkwood drank wine, butter, and apples.
     
  6. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    They drank butter?? :eek:
     
  7. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    After a lot of wine... maybe ;)
     
  8. Starbrow

    Starbrow Tolkien Fan

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    Must be the wines of Dorwinion.
     
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  9. Prince Ashitaka

    Prince Ashitaka Member

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    did it mention explicitly that elves eat meat? If so where? I don't recall it mention they eat meat exactly.

    I remembered when reading Silmarillion (can't remember the chapter or page number) that the elves would go off riding and go hunting.

    I doubt they would be hunting vetagbles. So this makes me think that they eat meat. Maybe only the green elves are vegetarian and possibly the Noldorin elves were meat eaters
     
  10. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    I agree that it seems like elves should be vegetarian. I am basically vegan myself and think eating dead animals aesthetically does not fit with the elves, BUT of course, most people historically wouldn't agree with that.
     
  11. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    In The Hobbit chapter Flies and Spiders, it's said of Thranduil's folk: "... but the most splendid sight of all: they were eating and drinking and laughing merrily. The smell of the roast meats was so enchanting that..."

    In The Lay of the Children of Hurin, Thingol's table included mead, wine "... and goodly meats there burdened the boards..."

    Granted the Lay is an early-ish source, but in the early 1950s revision to the long prose Fall of Gondolin (Unfinshed Tales), Voronwe suggests, in my opinion at least, that when his waybread is spent, he'll eat what can be hunted: "But we must husband it until great need; and doubtless an outlaw and hunter may find other food ere the year worsens" Tuor responding: "But not in all lands is it safe to hunt, be the game never so plentiful."

    I guess somene could argue a bit with even that much, considering great need, but...

    ... then there's Flotsam and Jetsam in The Two Towers, where: "The Three were soon busy with their meal; and the two Hobbits, unabashed, set to a second time." The meal was wine or beer and "first-rate salted pork" (or rashers of bacon,) "no green stuff" and "butter and honey for your bread" It's suggested later (by Legolas) that Legolas doesn't partake in the smoking, but I see no reason to think he didn't eat the pork.

    I'll stop arguing with me for now, as that's all I can think of at the moment! But to my mind, generally speaking, Tolkien's Elves eat meat (even if, possibly excluding the Green Elves of Ossiriand).
     
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  12. Starbrow

    Starbrow Tolkien Fan

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    Why do people think that the Green Elves didn't eat meat?
     
  13. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Some interpret the following passage as a suggestion (at least possibly suggesting) that the Green Elves of Ossiriand did not eat meat. These Elves sent messengers to Finrod, asking him to bid the new-comers (Men) to return or go forward: "For we desire no strangers in this land to break the peace in which we live. And these folk are hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends, and if they will not depart we shall afflict them in all ways that we can."

    Section 11, Of The Coming Of Men Into The West, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, War of the Jewels (chapter 17 in the constructed Silmarillion).
     
  14. Prince Ashitaka

    Prince Ashitaka Member

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    I was literally going to post that passage. I was trying to find that in Silmarillion but you beat me to it ;)
     
  15. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    I'm fast today... 'cause I ate all my veggies :D
     
  16. Rána

    Rána Wayward

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    So many Elves are referenced as being great hunters. Somewhere there's a description of the House of Oromë as having skins and pelts all over the walls and floors. I suppose it's ambiguous as to whether the creatures they came from were fair or fell. Either way, it seems that there are groups of Ainur and Elves that delight in stalking prey... the nature of the prey doesn't change the fact that they enjoy assuming the role of a predator.

    I don't practice any dietary restrictions because I don't place greater value on the life of an animal over the life of a plant. Plants move, they respond to stimuli; they can detect light, sound, and pressure; they can "smell" chemical compounds that are released by their neighbors. They're more aware than they're given credit for. When Yavanna was distraught by the dominion that the Children would claim over her creations, she turns her attention more toward the plants because animals have the ability to flee or defend themselves. If anything, it seems like it would be more fair to eat an all-meat diet instead of picking on defenseless plants (although plants are far from defenseless... but they're certainly less equipped than the animals).

    I celebrate the life-cycle and being an omnivore, I'm genuinely curious by individual vegetarians and vegans about where they draw the lines and why they decide to draw them where they do. To my mind the lines between plants/fungi/insects/animals get pretty blurry... I value human life above all other life, then I value all remaining life the same. I have to figure that there are Elves that feel a similar way.

    I think Aulë's words, "Nonetheless they will have need of wood," sum it up pretty well. All of the Children are hewers of trees, the interpretations I take about the Green Elves being the "unfriends" of men are about the rate at which they are harvesting more than the harvesting itself. I can have all of the reverence in the world for life, but I have to participate in death if I want to continue my own life. We all do. Then when I die, the molecules of my form will be broken down and find new life in countless new shapes of plants and animals. It's all part of the cycle and life and death; when you really start exploring the boundaries it's difficult to decide where death ends and life beings (and the reverse).

    I guess that's my long-winded way of saying that I'm not willing to use so broad of a brush to define the diets of Elves, it feels more likely that there's variance among the Elves similar to the variance among us.
     
  17. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Ah I didn't ever catch that before, interesting passage.

    I'll take the short answer to your question - I think you're right! That any line drawn between types of life must ultimately be arbitrary. I don't think you can make a "moral imperative" to eat or not eat certain things, but I personally get spiritual satisfaction in my own life from not eating animals, although the reason I stopped eating meat was for personal preference. That being said, I'm sympathetic toward homesteading or natural living of any kind, going to ideally subsist on my own land via permaculture one day.

    I have many long answers if the short one is lacking in some way :). I appreciate how well-thought out your post is.
     
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  18. Rána

    Rána Wayward

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    I have a lot of guidelines I use day to day. I try to live a plant-based, pescatarian lifestyle and I specifically try to avoid the parts of animals that filter toxins. But I also believe in being adventurous and trying new things and all of that... so I violate my own guidelines constantly. There are a lot of challenges in providing quality meat to billions of people. The industrialized process isn't pretty; I believe limiting consumption raises the standard.

    More to the Elves, I think that it does depend largely on individual cultures. A group that has access to the land needed for agriculture might view eating animals as unnecessary. I would think that a nomadic group of Woodland Elves would be more dependent on meat, most of the sunlight is gathered by the trees and it isn't always easy to forage for edible plants. I could see them being disgusted with the felling of trees where regions with a high population density of settled Elves might rely on timber for shelter. I don't know the processes of Elvish ship-building, maybe the trees gift them sturdy limbs for their masts. But it'll take a lot of wood to ship all the Elves of Middle-earth to the West.

    I've been wondering about the candies though. Honey and fruit are the only sources for concentrated sugars? I'm sure some tasty sweet treats were devised by all of the Free Peoples but they would've resembled the things people made before sugar cane and corn syrup took over the world.
     

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