I'm going to stop pretending I have anything coherent to say and make lists instead.
Things that make me :D
1. Sauron is way more interesting than he gets credit for.
2. Orcs are fun, especially when jeering at each other.
3. Related, I rather liked the movie version of orcs, but only LOTRO let me play with them.
4. When talking about a visit to Galadriel, Gandalf says:
Thence by strange roads I came, and messages I bring to some of you. [...]
‘“To Gimli son of Glóin,” she said, “give his Lady’s greeting. Lockbearer, wherever thou goest my thought goes with thee. But have a care to lay thine axe to the right tree!”’
‘In happy hour you have returned to us, Gandalf,’ cried the Dwarf, capering as he sang loudly in the strange dwarf-tongue. ‘Come, come!’ he shouted, swinging his axe. ‘Since Gandalf’s head is now sacred, let us find one that it is right to cleave!’ (p. 503).
:D :D :D :D :D
5. Related, the way Gandalf screws with Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn before revealing himself; that wasn't very nice. :D
6. I love dwarves but don't think I could write one well. There's learning in the trying, I suppose.
7. Ents are super-awesome, of course. Quickbeam is such a hothead! Matches his name.
8. Once a friend asked me what I thought of Theoden's chanting of the ancient poem (Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?) at the last charge at Helm's Deep in the movies, to which I say: I don't recall all of the question, but I think that was an excellent place to put it. The setting and circumstances maximize the longing and tragic undertone of the poem.
9. I forgot how often Sam and Gollum bickered! Clearly Sam is jealous that Gollum is getting all of the Master's attention, hahahahaha. :D
Things that make me :|
1. One thing the movies did was teach these people the virtue of brevity. :p
2. You see as little of Eowyn as Arwen, at this early stage. I'm starting to wonder how these people procreate when there are clearly so few of the opposite gender anywhere in Rohan!
We're making applesauce again. Somewhat randomly, this made me wonder how hobbits might make applesauce - and how elves would do it differently. And I thought, hm, hobbits probably didn't have vanilla or cinnamon handy - maybe they'd use allspice, or something more local...ish? And perhaps the elves would have access to vanilla beans and cinnamon, since after all Cirdan's people are sea-faring, and there's no reason they couldn't have traveled far in trade at one time - or Gondor, or someone.
Or is there? (<--- a real question, for the record. I have no idea.)
I should look into this. Hobbit recipes and Elf recipes could be interesting to try puzzling out! Just for fun, mind you. As I have not read nearly enough of the additional material to say anything intelligent, I may as well default to saying things that might be tasty instead. I don't think that's at odds with books in which hobbits are major characters. Checking out the opening chapters of The Hobbit might be a good place to start, now that I think of it, since Bilbo has to make a whole lot of food in a hurry, and I know he says something or other about ingredients. I also recall that later he was disgusted by the idea of hunting to eat and having to prepare one's own kill, because as far as he knew, meat came from a butcher, all wrapped nicely and such.
So anyway, it'd be interesting to pay attention to what sort of food they definitely have access to. Corn has been mentioned a lot during this stretch in Rohan, so my initial thought that the list might be restricted to "old world food" isn't necessarily right.
I've seen recipes pop up on middleearthnews now and then, though the only one I recall was lembas; I've seen a few recipes for that, but have never agreed with any of them. I think there's a site dedicated to this sort of thing, though, so I'll dig around. They might have citations, which would save me a lot of time.