1. A Room of Cobbler
Little twelve-year-old Frodo froze, his second and middle finger placed inside the pan that was laid out on the windowsill to cool. With wide eyes, and his back to his mother, he slowly retracted his hand and put his two fingers into his mouth. He made sure to lick away the peach sauce from them before he stepped down off of a rickety chair with his eyes cast down.
Primula scowled, both hands now at her hips. When Frodo said nothing, and only stared at the ground in the shame of being caught, she tapped her foot twice and made a low, impatient noise in her throat.
Frodo caught her hint and frustration swiftly, his head swinging up to meet eyes with his mother, who, at the moment, looked similar to an angry troll.
“Sorry, mum,” he murmured softly, twiddling his thumbs nervously, and stepping from behind the chair.
At once Primula’s eyes softened, and she began to bend down, and said softly, “You know I’ve been working on that peach cobbler for hours. Didn’t I tell you not to touch it?”
“Yes,” Frodo mumbled, ducking his head down at his toes.
Primula looked stricken, as if his answer wasn’t what she expected. With a loud huff, she stood straight, looking up to the ceiling in bewilderment. Frodo watched her warily, waiting for his punishment.
“Then why’d you do that, Frodo?” Frodo opened his mouth to answer, but he was too late. Primula threw her hands up and said, “Well, it was going to be a surprise for papa.”]
Drogo had left for preparation for the winter’s harvest, and left for a week to help with the gathering, and while Frodo begged to come along and “not be left with the chores”, his parents argued that he was not old enough. Since he left, Frodo was missing his father sorely.
At once Frodo felt guilty. “Oh, Mum,” he said, walking to her and reaching for her arm and clutching at her apron, “I’m sorry, Mum! I can help you make another one! He doesn’t come back until tomorrow!”
She looked down at him and his blue eyes looking up at her desperately. For a moment it was completely still, and neither of them moved. Frodo tugged at her apron, and Primula laughed, and lifted her now puzzled son and sat him on top of the table.
“What’s so funny?” Frodo crossed his arms heatedly, though he was smirking, “I’m being honest!”
Primula wiped her eyes, “All right, Sweetie, you can help. But, you have to do most of the baking if you’re going to make this up to me,” she said, still chuckling. She waved aimlessly at the ruined cobbler, “Go throw that out while I slice up the rest of our peaches.”
“Yes Mama!” Obediently trotting to the windowsill, and standing on his tiptoes, he lifted the pan to throw it out in the waste. When he returned, he his mother was sitting at the table, a smile on her face as she patted the chair next to her. Many bowls and ingredients lay out on the table, and Frodo wondered how on earth she had so promptly laid them out. She handed him a bowl of sugar, flour, cinnamon – which he smelled immediately when it was in his possession – and salt. Primula had to pat his back a few times before Frodo could recover from inhaling the cinnamon.
“Now,” Primula said cheerfully, “you’re to measure all of those in certain amounts.” She handed her baffled son a large glass cup with marks along its side. “Only put in enough sugar to fill up to that first line,” she pointed to the streak, and Frodo followed her directions carefully with the tip of his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth.
Primula gazed over the sliced peaches, and her chin dropped to the floor. She hadn’t expected Frodo to have trouble measuring the ingredients, but when she saw more of the sugar on the table than in the beaker, she took the sugar from him, along with the other elements, and measured them herself. Frodo looked on with flaming cheeks; it was an expression Primula saw everyday, for Frodo seemed to always have a mishap. She smiled and sighed, shaking her head.
Frodo strained his eyes to look at her, not moving his head from its ducked position. He cleared his throat, tears threatening to spill, “Mum… I can’t bake!” He sounded frantic.
Primula’s eyes widened, her face serious, “Dear, now, you still have years to learn, and you shouldn’t have to be the best at making peach cobbler, because, when you have a wife–”
“Mum!” Frodo’s cheeks flamed an even brighter red, if Primula thought that was possible.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” her eyes glinted with mirth, “I forgot that you didn’t like talking about that.”
“You didn’t!” Frodo defied, his eyes large and eyebrows raised.
Primula giggled. “Hmm… maybe…” she said humorously. When Frodo only glared at her, she began to teach him how to keep the ingredients in the glass. By the time Frodo had finished mixing the peaches with the dry components, he was covered head to toe in powder and batter. He kneeled on his chair and bent forward over the table and gingerly cracked an egg into the bowl. The yolk spilled out and landed with a plop. He beamed and puffed up his chest, turning to his mother.
She nodded in approval. “Good, my little pumpkin.” She studied him closely and then reached out to brush down his nose. Frodo followed her finger until his eyes crossed, and uproars of laughter filled the kitchen as Primula wiped his face free of the mixture.
When at last they were finished, they were both amused to find the cobbler looking somewhat similar to a mountain, where the crust in the middle rose high above the boundaries of the pan. They agreed to tell Drogo that it was meant to be that way.
They put the desert back on the windowsill and quietly entered into the den and built up a fire. Primula seated herself in the comfiest chair, and Frodo followed her into it, settling on her lap and laying his head on her shoulder. Primula drew her arms around him and breathed in the scent of his hair, smiling. There were silent for many minutes until Frodo murmured, “I want to cook more often.”
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.