Lord of the Rings Lembas
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Credit: New Line Cinemas

Chosen One of the Day: Lembas, the Luna Bars of high fantasy

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Jun 24, 2019

Visiting the cereal bar aisle at your average American grocery store while hangry is akin to staring into the void. What, pray tell, am I even supposed to be aiming at? Biscuit-encrusted jam slabs that will give me a sugar crash to go with the sugar high? Loosely conjoined conglomerations of nuts and dried berries that will supposedly satiate me while also getting shards of nuts in my teeth and gums? A breakfast item advertised as “red velvet”? (I’m pretty sure that last one is the right answer.)

It’s at times like these that I wish, nay, yearn for the simplicity of lembas, the elven waybread of the Tolkien legendarium. Originally baked by the gods of Middle-earth, this humble bread is able to power even the mightiest of men for days. “One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man,” Legolas tells us in the cut commercial for it from The Fellowship of the Ring (to the chagrin of Merry and Pippin, who have eaten an entire sleeve each of the stuff). It even used to be packaged as prettily as any Luna Bar: wrapped in silver leaves, with a little white wax flower to seal the leaves shut. Elves: the original packaging geniuses. It’s even biodegradable!

A lot of recipes will have you render it as shortbread, but its description makes it sound like the inexplicably delicious love child of hardtack and communion wafers. Honestly, if it came in one of those huge plastic tubs like cheese balls, I think it would fly off the shelves. Though maybe they need to update the branding — maybe a little millennial pink to go with those biodegradable leaves?

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