Frodos Dreme
Recipe by Astrid Winegar

HOPE is the theme for June, and I have an easy, summery recipe to share with you.

The simple, delicious taste of a beautiful fresh strawberry and pure heavy cream—two ingredients combine in a bowl to produce an almost spiritual, or even Platonic, representation of what food should be. Near the end of Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, the wistful Sam talks with the almost-broken Frodo about memories of the Shire: “they’ll be eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?” By this point, the two are at the foot of Mount Doom and Frodo is nearly spent: “No, Sam. I can’t recall the taste of food… nor the sound of water… nor the touch of grass. I’m… naked in the dark. There’s—There’s nothing. No veil between me and the wheel of fire. I can see him… with my waking eyes.”

I’ve also named this recipe for a wistful, elegiac poem included in The Tolkien Reader. Though called “The Sea-Bell,” Tolkien writes (in his invented history of Middle-earth, “The Red Book of Westmarch”) that “a hand has scrawled at its head Frodos Dreme.” Tolkien concludes this poem was not written by Frodo, yet it reflects “the dark and despairing dreams” of his final years after the destruction of the Ring and his return home.

So, while strawberries and cream in the film trilogy seem to represent a melancholic yearning for home, peace, and contentment, Tolkien instead closes the text of The Lord of the Rings by utilizing strawberry and cream imagery to express utter happiness and hope. The Shire reveled in beauty and birth, and the “fruit was so plentiful that young hobbits very nearly bathed in strawberries and cream.” Besides apples and dried fruit, berries are also very popular in Middle-earth; strawberries being the most popular.

You can always serve a hobbity dessert by putting a few fresh strawberries (sliced, quartered, halved, or whole, depending on their relative size) in a bowl, sprinkling on a little sugar if you like, and pouring a tablespoon or two of heavy cream over them. That’s not much of a recipe… so I figured a new version of a “fool” would be an appropriate way to present this classic combination.

Strawberries and Cream (a.k.a. Frodos Dreme)

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ cups heavy cream

Reserve 6 or 8 small berries for garnish, if desired. Wash the remaining berries; stem them. Cut in halves or quarters and place all in a 3-quart saucepan. Turn the heat on high just until they start cooking, then lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes. Stir frequently; remove from heat. Mix in the ½ cup sugar and let stand 1 hour. Puree in a blender or processor, then place in a covered container. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

In a large bowl, combine the cream and 2 tablespoons sugar. With a hand mixer, whip the cream until fluffy, but not too dry. Layer with the strawberries in pretty glasses or dessert dishes as a parfait. Or combine the strawberries in the large bowl with the cream and mix gently with a spatula, making sure to leave some differentiation between the two components, as shown in the photo. Wash the garnish berries and leave the stems on. Cut a vertical slit in each and place on the rim of each glass or dish, if desired. Refrigerate until serving time. Cover and refrigerate leftovers; this lasts for a few days in the fridge. Serves 6-8.

Strawberries and Cream (a.k.a. Frodos Dreme)

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup plus 2 . . .

Astrid Tuttle Winegar

Author, Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls