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Khazad-dûm Report: December 4, 1999

1999 Khazad-dûm Reading and Eating Meeting
Reported by Eleanor M. Farrell


Faithful members of Khazad-dûm, the San Francisco Bay Area discussion group, met on December 4th, 1999 for our annual Reading and Eating Meeting. Held each year in the Last Homely House of Redwood City, abode of our secretarial team Amy Wisniewski and Edith Crowe, the REM frequently serves as an unofficial start to the holiday season, as well as a festive gathering of friends who enjoy both food and books. This year proved no exception.

The edible offerings were numerous and varied — entrees of lasagna, turkey divan and beef in wine sauce were accompanied by bread, cranberries, sushi, and (of course) several different forms of chocolate. Mary Kay’s rich but light saffron panna cotta admirably topped the dessert course. Cider and juices, hot or sparkling, kept our throats nimble for the round-robin performance of the second purpose of our party.

Not surprisingly, many of the chosen excerpts followed a food theme. David chose the feasting scene (during which each diner must eat his words) from Norman Juster’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth, while Berni read the description from Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (the first of J.K. Rowling’s series) of Harry’s first meal at Hogwarts. Pat contributed two droll sections from Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, one involving Irish stew and the other cheese. Ellie read excerpts of the awkward dinner conversation in Stephen Mitchell’s retelling of The Frog Prince, as well as a short story by Hildifons Took, “Dragonet,” involving beer crimes in Shire taverns. Mary Kay’s potable theme contribution was an essay by Dave Langford from Fanthology describing some youthful experiences playing Fizz Buzz (a beer drinking game).

Cats are another popular topic of Khazad-dûm discussion; Amy read two stories from Bedtime Stories for Cats by Leigh Anne Jasheway, regaling us with the adventures of “Katpunzel” and of Alanis and her Magic Belly.” Betsey contributed a millennial-themed poem by Ogden Nash; Frankie chose two descriptive passages from a Highlander novel.

Juster and Rowling were popular authors this year, with two readings each; Lisa chose the section where Milo and his companions jump to the island of Conclusions as well as a passage from a Harry Potter book. Tolkien was represented via Edith’s selection of one of the Father Christmas letters. Finally, Betsey honored our hostesses with Tolkien’s description of Bilbo and his companions’ arrival at the Last Homely House from The Hobbit. Sated with food and literature, we bid each other goodnight and Happy Holidays.