Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 20, 2012.

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A cookbook based on food from the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien's world!

Medium Rare And Back Again:  A cookbook featuring food from the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

(Update:  We hit our first two stretch goals, and we'll have professional photographs and interior artwork for the book!  Since we're pushing toward $25,000 (45 recipes instead of 30), I'll be adding more recipes as we get close to it.  So even if we don't quite get to $25,000, your contributions will help expand the book regardless!

Also, Additional Rewards (mugs, shirts, etc.) and how to modify your pledge for them, are near the bottom, or you can check out Update #4.)

Have you ever dreamed of what Bilbo's pork pies actually taste like?  Does Sam's coney stew sound wonderful?  Do you share Gollum's affection for sushi-grade fish?  If Balrogs had wings, what would they taste like? 

If you, like me, have ever spent long afternoons wondering about these important questions, this is the project for you.  With the help of my friend, Corey Olsen (also known as the Tolkien Professor, and author of the recently-released book "Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit"), I aim to write a 30-recipe book, which I will release in both print and free online versions, with recipes, pictures, cooking tips and tricks, and witty commentary from both Corey and myself on where these recipes originate from in Tolkien's works.  The online version will be available for anyone, anywhere - not just my backers but free for anyone to use!

Some of you are familiar with my food blogging at Dillicious, which has already featured a number of Tolkien-themed dishes.  Others of you have attended Corey's Tolkien movie marathons and had some of the Tolkien-themed food we've prepared there, and to those for whom this is the first time we've "met" - welcome! 

What will you do once funded?

I aim to spend, for the initial funding goal, roughly a month and a half in early 2013 researching, cooking, photographing, and writing at least 30 recipes.  These recipes will cover different parts of Tolkien's world - light and delicate Elvish recipes like lembas bread, stout roasted Dwarven fare, hearty Hobbit pies and stews, as well as a few oddball recipes like Balrog Wings.  Those that I've already blogged about - I'll be doing refined versions of those, as I've learned how to make them even better since then! 

But outside of the recipe book's online and print versions, I'll also be making recipe cards, offering recipe advice over Skype, arranging Tolkien Skype chats with Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen, giving V.I.P. passes to future Tolkien movie marathons hosted by Corey's Mythgard Institute, and for exceptionally generous donors, offering cooking classes, and preparing Dillicious meals! 

All in all, between testing and developing the recipes, buying the food and other materials, and the cost of working on the photography, writing, and publication - as well as producing the books, t-shirts, mugs, and other rewards for you, the generous people who are making this possible, I am aiming for an initial goal of $10,000, but if we raise more, see below for what additional funds will produce!

Are there additional rewards?  What if I want some of the other rewards but there's not a reward tier that includes the exact combination that I'd like?

If you'd like, for instance, to support the project at the $50 level, but would also like a dozen of the various recipe cards.  Choose the $50 tier (either by selecting "Back this Project", if you haven't yet pledged funding, or "Manage Your Pledge" if you've already pledged.  Increase your pledge by the amount of the Additional Rewards (full list at the bottom of this page).  Once we're funded and the Kickstarter campaign is over, I will send you a survey where you can select which Additional Rewards you'd like included in response to your pledge!

Sam's Pork Pies
Sam's Pork Pies

What if you overshoot your funding goal, Heath?

It's my opinion that overfunded Kickstarter projects should continue to offer more, so here are some "stretch" goals that I'll offer at various overfunding levels - if we surpass these during the campaign, I will continue to add more!  The sky's the limit here, so even if the project is funded to one level, please don't be shy about spreading the word to your friends and families! 

  • $14,000 - Instead of doing the photography myself, I will hire a local photographer to do the camera work!  I can make decent photos myself, but having a pro do it will be significantly better quality!
  • $16,000 - I will hire some of the artists who have done some of the web artwork for The Mythgard Institute to do the background artwork for both the print and online versions of the book.
  • $25,000 - Instead of 30 recipes, I will expand the book to 45 recipes, and will acquire some more varied place settings and dishware that look authentic to the sources of each dish.
  • $35,000 - I will expand the book even further, to 60 recipes.  
  • $40,000 - I'll film a 4-episode Youtube video series on cooking 4 of the most popular dishes from the book, hiring a local video crew to handle the filming and production.
  • $45,000 - I will make sure the book has Kindle and other e-reader formats in addition to being available as a web site.
  • $55,000 - 4 episodes?  Bah, let's do a full 12-episode series!
  • $70,000 - I've already begun the process of finding out what it takes to start my own foodmaking business, for sale locally.  If we get to this level, I'll make some of the cookbook foods available in the Boston area (though I may need to name them properly in order to avoid trademark worries), and hopefully some will be available for mail order as well!
  • $??,000 - If we start to sniff this territory during this Kickstarter campaign, I promise to add more and more fun and exciting rewards no matter how much is pledged!  I have a lot of foodie and cookbook plans and ideas beyond the initial set of goals here! 

What happens if you don't meet the funding goal?

Kickstarter will fund the project if 100% or more of the funding target is met - with whatever money is pledged!  If we don't reach 100% by the end of the funding period, the project won't be funded at all - that's just how things go for Kickstarter projects.  Let's smash through the $10,000 level quickly, then see how many stretch goals we can push through and what other fun frills we can add!

Also, if we don't meet the goal, you get your money back - Kickstarter only takes funds for successful projects!  So don't worry - you'll only chip in if the project is a go!

Seared Sesame Tuna Bites (Gollum would called them "ruined")
Seared Sesame Tuna Bites (Gollum would called them "ruined")

Heath, $25 is a lot for t-shirt!

Yup - the shirt (see below), and the other rewards, are thank-yous for pledges that help me fund the project.  This, like every Kickstarter campaign, is first and foremost an effort to raise those funds, and the rewards are what I will give back to my supporters in appreciation!  Plus, I'll do my best to make sure the t-shirts, books, and other physical rewards are of good quality! 

Additional Rewards

The following Additional Rewards are available to anyone who has chosen to support the project at the Faramir level ($15) or any higher reward tier.  Designs for the mugs, t-shirts, and aprons will be forthcoming within a week or two, long before the Kickstarter ends, so stay tuned!  Note:  all additional reward prices include in-U.S. shipping and handling; international shipping will be $5 more for recipe cards, and $10 more for aprons, shirts, and books.)

  • Recipe cards (+$1 each - a survey asking which recipes you want will be sent out after the campaign ends)
  • Mugs (+$15 each) - U.S. shipping only, please!)
  • T-shirts (+$25 each - a survey asking which size(s) and color(s) and design will be sent after the campaign ends)
  • Aprons (+$30 each - a survey asking which size(s) and color(s) and design will be sent after the campaign ends)
  • Additional copies of the cookbook (+$30 each)
  • Additional signed/thank-you-noted copies of the cookbook (+$60 each)
  • Additional signed copies of Dr. Olsen's "Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'" (+$60 each)

Thanks To:

  • Nick Smith, for his work filming and editing the video.
  • Corey Olsen, for his encouragement over the years and his huge support of this project.
  • My parents, Noel and Sue Dill, for teaching me to cook from a young age, as well as for lending their fine-looking kitchen for the filming.
  • All of the kind friends who have been helping me assemble this Kickstarter, who are telling all their friends about it.
  • Kelly Aleshire, for his wonderful artwork.
  • And YOU!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

What challenges might arise here? Well, I'll have to make sure to make a varied set of recipes that stay true to the Tolkien literature. That's going to take some research and collaboration with Dr. Olsen. Also, if I'm able to reach the appropriate stretch goals, I very much hope to make the artwork fitting for each dish. With some luck, I will be able to hire someone for the photography; I have a number of local friends who are quite talented in that respect. Food photography is very challenging; I'll need to find someone to do it right.

Another challenge will be getting 30 recipes out within a month and a half. I know that sounds easy, but just from my blog posts, I know that doing a recipe can take up to 8 hours, just in research, preparation, photography, and writing. For this cookbook, I'll need to do even more work per recipe, so it's going to take a lot of work and possibly several tries each.

Also, I'm still not quite sure what recipe I'll be using for the lembas bread, but I promise to take it very seriously - though I do not promise that a single bite of it will sustain you for days on end - I'm not an Elf; I can only do so much!

FAQ

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    Goldberry: An enthusiastic "Thank You", both on my blog Dillicious, as well as in the cookbook itself - both online and paper books! Your support is making this project possible!

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    Gaffer Gamgee: All rewards from the Goldberry reward tier, plus you get to vote for three recipes that will be included in the book!

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    Faramir: All rewards from the Gaffer Gamgee tier, plus a pair of swanky refrigerator magnets - one featuring art from the cookbook, and one featuring art from The Tolkien Professor's site! Please note - international shipping will necessitate an additional $5 shipping cost.

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    Treebeard: All rewards from the Faramir tier, and I will mail you a set of 10 good-quality recipe cards, 3" x 5", of ten of the recipes (of your choosing) from the book. NOTE: This reward is not included in higher-pledge rewards. Additional recipe cards may be orderable after the book is finished.

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    Tom Bombadil: All rewards from the Faramir tier, plus: You get to submit a recipe suggestion (within reason, of course - *grin*) to the recipe contest! 3 of the top-voted entries will be included. Suggestions will be taken via an online survey soon after the Kickstarter is successfully funded. Your suggestions may be anything - a name for the dish, a reference from the books, an ingredient - let your imagination run wild!

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    Gollum: All rewards from the Faramir tier, plus: A print copy of the book, mailed to you! Please note - international shipping will include an additional $12 shipping cost.

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    Boromir: All rewards from the Faramir tier, plus, once the cookbook is finished, a signed 8" x 10" glossy photograph of your favorite food picture from the book.

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    Merry and Pippin: All rewards from the Treebeard tier, except that I'll send you 3" x 5" recipe cards from *all* of the recipes in the cookbook - no matter how big the cookbook grows thanks to your pledges!

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    Thorin Oakenshield: All rewards from the Faramir tier, plus a pair of Dillicious Kickstarter t-shirts - designs forthcoming! You'll get to choose sizes and colors and designs after the Kickstarter is successfully funded, via an online survey.

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    Bilbo Baggins: All rewards from the Gollum tier, and I'll sign your copy of the book, with a personalized thank you for your generous help! Please note - international shipping will include an additional $12 shipping cost.

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    Galadriel: All rewards from the Bilbo Baggins tier (including the signed cookbook), plus a signed copy of The Tolkien Professor's recently-released book "Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'" (Corey will sign his book, I'll sign mine - that's how we roll.)

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    Gandalf: All rewards from the Bilbo Baggins tier, as well as a 30-minute video Skype Q&A session with me! I'll be happy to share some foodie tips and tricks, answer questions about the cookbook and/or the literary sources for the recipes, or anything else your culinary mind might want to chat about! We'll find a time to do so in the first half of 2013.

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    Aragorn: All rewards from the Galadriel tier, plus a 30-minute video Skype Q&A session with Corey Olsen, the Tolkien Professor! He'll be happy to talk with you about all things Tolkien!

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    Legolas: All rewards from the Galadriel tier, plus a VIP ticket to the upcoming Mythgard Tolkien movie marathon, to be held in eastern Massachusetts this summer! You'll be able to meet with both Corey and myself, see the backstage preparations for the meal, and talk Tolkien! Please note: the date of the marathon is not yet set, but the marathon will be on a Saturday, and we are planning to hold it in either late July or in August.

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    Gimli: All rewards from the Galadriel tier, plus I will write a blog post, and record and produce a 6-minute video, of the making of one of your favorite recipes - maybe you have a family favorite, or a treat that you'd like to share with the world? I'll be happy to give it the Dillicious treatment, with effusive thanks to you for your support and for the recipe idea!

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    Samwise Gamgee: All rewards from the Legolas tier, but with a total of 4 VIP tickets to the upcoming Mythgard Tolkien movie marathon! Please note: the date of the marathon is not yet set, but the marathon will be on a Saturday, and we are planning to hold it in either late July or in August.

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    Frodo Baggins: All rewards from the Galadriel tier, but with a total of 2 VIP tickets to the movie marathon, plus I will gladly host you and a friend, along with Dr. Olsen and the other patrons of this tier, for a gourmet 5-course meal the day before the Mythgard movie! We will coordinate about dietary preferences and so forth, so that I may create an enjoyable meal worthy of your generosity! Please note: the date of the marathon is not yet set, but the dinner will be on a Friday evening, and the marathon will be on a Saturday, and we are planning to hold it in either late July or in August.

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Funding period

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