January 3, 2012

Why I Celebrate January 3rd

I know.  I should probably be recapping 2011 and laying out goals for 2012.  But I've already talked about goals this year (here), and yesterday was my favorite holiday:

January 3rd.  Tolkien's birthday.

This is a holiday that I usually celebrate with my brother.  On good years, we're in the same place and can play our own Lord of the Rings edition of Scattergories.  Baring that, I call.  As neither was possible this year, I made seed cakes instead and thought of Bilbo Baggins running around pleading with dwarves not to break plates.

I read Lord of the Rings as a young teenager.  I loved it.  It's still the only novel that, when I put it down, I have to remind myself that it's fiction.  The histories and cultures felt that real.  After watching the people of Rohan, how could I not go read everything I could find on Vikings?  Now I can talk about longhouses and legal codes long enough to substitute for anesthesia.  Fascinated by culture, I read a few anthropology text books and started reading about the Maya, too.  I learned some Quenya, which sparked my linguistic interest.  The next logical step was Michael D. Coe's Reading the Maya Glyphs.  Yes, I was quite the nerdy teenager.

Tolkien didn't just provide me with a rich story.  His story made me a kinder person.  His story sparked curiosity in me about the world around me.  One of my children is named after a Hobbit, in fact.  Prophetically, he eats with one.  Hopefully, on some future January 3rd when we feast on seed cakes, he'll share my love for this story that made my world a better, richer place.

*Recipe Note: I don't have ale, so I substituted water with a bit of honey to bloom the yeast.  Also, I poured them into a muffin tin, both so they'd be easier to dish out to the little ones and to shorten the cooking time.  It made about a dozen muffin-sized cakes, which baked in about 18 minutes.  The eating took less time.


  1. Thanks! People don't usually accuse me of hobbit-ness (I'm very tall).