Lord of the Rings, elves and dwarves and kings and queens - a pork shoulder worthy of a medieval feasting
I must have been about fifteen when I first got my hands on Tolkien's writings. I went to the local public library one day in search of a Stephen King book - I had just finished reading The Talisman by then and wanted more from the man who came to be my favourite author not longer after - when my eyes came across a small book with a very interesting title, Tolkien's The Silmarilion. Curiosity grabbed me whole and I brought that one home with me, Stephen King being laid to wait for another day, while I was gripped by the cover that soehow reminded me of celtic drawings and celtic knots. I had read The Mists of Avalon, earlier that year, and was quite curious about celtic heritage along with King Arthur, Camelot, Morgan le Fey. In my mind, The Silmarillion looked like it might be something akin to that. How wrong could I have been!
At first it was not easy to dive into that book. I wasn't getting what I had thought I might, and I wasn't much enjoying the reading, but I persevered as that world of Tolkien's seemed to spike my imagination. As soon as I finished that one, The Hobbit was the next in line, quite obviously, filling my head with thoughts of elfs - Oh Legolas!!! - and dwarves and mighty wizzards battling dragons. And a ring, one ring to rule them all. It's not hard to figure I jumped at The Lord of The Rings the next time I went into the local library and carried home with me all three volumes of the portuguese translation of that might story. I remember reading it very fast, I remember spending all my free time - and I had a lot of that, we were smack in the middle of Summer hols, all my friends away, nothing to do but read all day - immersed in that book and in that story.
I was hooked, forever more. Hooked on a fantasy world like I had never been before, excepting for Anne McAffrey's dragon infested planet that made such an impression on me when I was only twelve - I really have her to blame for my obsession with dragons and fantasy stories that feature dragons, you know? -I was hooked on the lives of those characters, their personalities, their stories, the ways of their races. There was in me a longing for the elves' world, for the deep forests and the elven cities, there was in me a warming heart towards Aragorn who would be King of men, but in all honesty, my favourite characters, the ones who made my heart stir and sing, were Sam, and Frodo. And Gandalf, of course, Gandalf is the unsung hero of those books.
When Peter Jackson turned the books into films, I remember being shocked, quite shocked at the casting - especially Aragorn, I could not see Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, really, but Frodo shocked me quite a lot as well. Gandalf was the one I agreed the most with, as I am a die hard Sir Ian fan, and he played the part to perfection. Saruman was also straight into my good books, no one else could have played Saruman, really. Arwen and Galadriel were a bit of a surprise, although I thought at the time Liv Tyler was sure to pull that one off, as I regarded Arwen as a pretty faced elf lady with a heart of gold, and the patience of a saint. Cate Blanchett I was not so sure of - she was Elizabeth I to me and it was hard to think of her any other way. As for Legolas, Orlando Bloom was quite unknown to me but he was hawt, and Gimli... it spurred my curiosity, as Gimli is a dwarf being played by such a very tall actor!
Still, all and all Peter Jackson did a very good job, as to me he managed to bring to life all I had imagined of the world of LOTR, and the actors did an amazing job playing those timeless characters, and a huge fandom came out of the films, much bigger than the love for the books, I think. Many people read the books because of the films, and that is not so bad, I say. I was not obsessed per se with LOTR, but I did like it very, very much, and one day I happened to come across a cooking booked that was based on Lord of The Rings and had such interesting recipes in it, inspired by the elves, the orcs, the dwarves and the hobbits, along with men. Suffice to say, I bought it without a moment's hesitation, and the one dish we cooked the most out of it was a version of the "Pernil á Antiga", a roast pork shoulder. I have adapted it over the years, depending on what I have at home, but the basics of the dish are here.
And this right here is my latest rendition: (adapted from the book "A Cozinha do Senhor dos Anéis" by Ana Costa Cabral)
- 1 pork shoulder
- 1 garlic bulb
- 4 cloves
- 5 dl red wine
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- four potatoes
- 2 sweet potatoes
- four tomatoes
- olive oil
- bay leaves
- dark soy sauce - just a dash