I've rifled through several cookbooks for inspiration. I've researched British cheeses. I've researched what sorts of nuts are indigenous (or at least have been cultivated in Britain for a long enough time to be suitable). I've rejected some ideas (trifles, treacle, possibly even steamed puddings) as too modern or simply not hobbity enough.
I'm torn on Lancashire hotpot, which may seem too modern because it's a casserole, but is full of yummy baked meatiness and topped with potatoes and just says "hobbit" to me. Apparently it dates back to at least the 19th century, which puts it in the correct time frame, though Lancashire is quite a bit north of Warwickshire, the inspiration for the hobbity lifestyle. But then I'm also likely to serve Cock-a-Leeky soup, which is Scottish and therefore even more northerly.
I'm going to be leaving the lamb's kidneys out of the hotpot, though, because we're dealing with an American audience here. I don't think any of my guests will be huge fans of organ meat. Matt thinks I should rename it "Shire Hotpot," and maybe I should.
Today I drew up a very rough potential menu as a starting point:
bread & butter & jams or marmalade
tea & coffee
(sausage stuffed shrooms?)
apple cinnamon oatmeal (absolutely killer)
cold ham and chicken
bread & butter
apple salad? brandied apples?
stuffed mushrooms here (chestnut)?
Lancashire hot pot?
pies - mince, blackberry
AND SO NOW... Let the recipe testing begin.