Cook the Books and Food ‘n Flix Post: Food from the Hunger Games

I’m taking another break from my OCD Recipes Revisited to participate in another two of my manias:




Would you believe it?    These two great online foodie clubs are pairing together this month.    CTB club members are reading the novel and FnF members are watching the film and some of us are doing both.

The hosts for CTB are  Rachel from The Crispy Cook, Deb from Kahakai Kitchen, Simona from Briciole, and Heather from girlichef.   They are  a well-read, literary, gracious group of foodies, I tell you!     Please check out the club.    We don’t sit around reading cookbooks or the typical foodie memoir, either.       Case in point—this month’s selection was The Hunger Games.   (Yes, you read that correctly.)    Heather does double-duty and is also hosting Food ‘n Flix this month.   I believe this companion posting is her brainchild.

When I first saw that this would be a selection for CTB, I sighed and rolled my eyes.    My nephew read this book.   I saw tweens and teens reading this book at school.

Seriously, we are reading adolescent literature now?

Then I picked it up.    I picked it up and couldn’t put it down.

I was amazed I loved it so much (and I am reading the second in the triology now).

I was amazed about the amount of food in this book (especially since most of the characters have lived life on the verge of starvation).

I was amazed about how many times I thought (without too much of a stretch), “Wow, could this really happen?”


As I read, I highlighted the food:

  • Gale’s hunting “exploits” of shooting the bread (p  7).
  • Prim’s lovingly prepared goat cheese and basil (p 8).
  • “Hearty bread, filled with raisins and nuts” (p 31).
  • “Chicken and chunks of oranges cooked in a creamy sauce laid on a bed of pearly white grain, tiny green peas and onions, rolls shaped like flowers, and for dessert, a pudding the color of honey” (p 65).
  • “Mushroom soup, bitter greens with tomatoes the size of peas, rare roast beef sliced as thin as paper, noodles in a green sauce, cheese that melts on your tongue served with sweet blue grapes” (p 76).
  • “Eggs, sausages, batter cakes covered in thick orange preserves, slices of pale purple melon….hot chocolate” (p 86).
  • “Stews made with tender chunks of lamb and dried plums.  Perfect on the bed of wild rice” (p 113).
  • “Cream and rose-petal soup” (p137).
  • “Roast beef and peas and soft rolls” (p 353).

I know I have missed a few delicacies from the capitol.

But, for this post I kept coming back to the food of District 12—simple food, comfort food, food of love.   And, the food at the capitol was so beautiful (and garish at the same time) that I didn’t think I could pull it off.

I came back to the loaf of bread that Peeta throws to a desperate and starving girl, those perfectly fine loaves that he singed so he could offer them to Katniss and her family.    This gift of food marked a turning point for Katniss and Peeta both.    This offering would be shown in flashbacks often in the film as we learned more about Katniss and Peeta’s acquaintance in District 12 before the reaping.

Peeta’s Gift of Bread (“Hearty bread, filled with raisins and nuts”)

2 t. active dry yeast
1 1/4 c. water (120 degrees)
2 T. local honey
2 T. grape seed oil
1 c. old fashioned oatmeal
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. sea salt
1/4 c. milled flaxseed
1/4 c. sunflower seeds (roasted but unsalted)
1 T. chia seeds
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. dried fruit (raisins or dried cranberries)

Place yeast, water, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer and let set until foamy.  (About the time it will take you to complete the next few steps.)

Place oatmeal in a food processor equipped with the blade and process for about 1 minute or until meal-like.  (It should resemble whole wheat flour.)2013-01-02 14.57.44

In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together ground oatmeal, flour, salt, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds.  Set aside.

Place the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer and add oil.   Carefully add flour mixture to the yeast mixture while machine is running.   Spoon in flour mixture a little at a time.

Add nuts and dried fruit and continue to knead with the dough hook (about 5-10 minutes).

Pour dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes).

Before the first rise.

Before the first rise.

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Before the second rise.

Punch down dough and shape into a round.    Place in a WELL-OILED round stoneware pan or on an WELL-OILED cookie sheet.   Cover with cloth and let rise again (about 45 minutes).    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   (The dough will flatten out a bit.)

When bread has risen, bake for 35 minutes or until golden and done.

Let bread cool slightly before removing from pan and then let it cool (out of the pan) on a wire rack.

Slather with butter and enjoy.

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This is a perfect bread for breakfast. Just cut a wedge and go!

This is definitely a dense and hardy bread.

2013-01-03 09.20.07

You can see all the nuts, seeds, and berries in this bread.

Yes, this was another contest hopeful.   The first time I made it, I used poppy seeds and sesame seeds along with the flax seeds.    My sister deemed it “Bird Seed Bread.”  I hope I have improved on it with the nuts and berries but perhaps I have made it even more bird seed-like?!?

Thank you Heather for hosting both CTB and FnF this month.

For all my Cook the Books posts, click here.  For my Food ‘n Flix posts, click here.   These are such fun clubs, I hope you will check them out and participate.

The next book for CTB:

Chasing those winter doldrums away, Rachel, The Crispy Cook takes us back to Sicily with her pick of The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri. Rachel says, “Our very first Cook the Books pick focused on Sicily (we read Lily Prior’s novel “La Cucina” and I propose we return to the “scene of the crime” by reading the first book in Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano mysteryseries by author Andrea Camilleri. “The Shape of Water” is the book and in it, the scrupulously honest Inspector searches to uncover the facts behind the death of an engineer that local bigwigs, including Montalbano’s police chief, don’t want investigated. However as the rear cover blurb on my copy of the book notes, “Picking his way through a labyrinth of high-comedy corruption, delicious meals, vendetta firepower, and carefully planted false clues, Montalbano can be relied on, whatever the cost, to get to the heart of the matter.”

The next film for FnF:  February: Kahakai KitchenToday’s Special




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