Published March 22, 2012
This Friday, “The Hunger Games” opens in theaters across the world. We’ve decided to celebrate by cooking up our own version of dishes described in Suzanne Collins’ popular trilogy. While the title may give off the impression that the characters go hungry, which of course they do, "The Hunger Games" still manages to craft a cornucopia of culinary highlights. From Katniss’ “last supper” stew to the forbidden taste of Panem chicken, we’ve found flavors for all our favorite food-related scenes.
"I wanted to offer a food component to celebrate the pop culture phenomenon," said recipe designer, Ricky Eisen, who is the founder and president of Between the Bread, a Manhattan catering company. "I took inspiration for the ingredients from the book - the goat cheese Prim made using her goat's milk, the feasts Katniss had in the Capitol - and used those to create recipes that related to the story, while still incorporating my own cooking style."
Katniss first tried this stew on her way to participate in the Hunger Games. She loved it so much, she ordered it as her final meal before stepping into the Games to fight for her life. Before trying stew, Katniss had only eaten bread and squirrels she hunted illegally. While you probably won’t be foraging for squirrel meat before you try Herbed Lamb Stew, it will fill you with a hearty richness that will leave you wishing you were hungrier.
"What's impressed you the most since you arrived here?" I rack my brain for something that made me happy here. Be honest, I think. Be honest. "The lamb stew," I get out. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audience has joined in. -Katniss, The Hunger Games
Katniss’ sister, Prim, owns a black and white goat named Lady. Katniss rescued Lady for Prim on Prim's birthday. She saved Lady from being butchered and restored her to full health so the goat could provide the family with milk and cheese. Here is a recipe that pays tribute to Lady and the sustenance she gave Katniss and her family.
One of the goats, a white one with black patches, was lying down in a cart. It was easy to see why. Something, probably a dog, had mauled her shoulder and infection had set in. It was bad, the Goat Man had to hold her up to milk her. But I thought I knew someone who could fix it. -Katniss, The Hunger Games
Underdogs, Rue and Katniss, develop an important alliance while sharing a meal of groosling. So this recipe could really cover more than one scene from the Hunger Games, that is, if we decide to substitute chicken for groosing, a fictional game hen from the world of Panem. Another important scene is when Katniss first tries chicken, a forbidden delicacy in the starving ghettos of District 12.
Chicken and chunks of oranges cooked in a creamy sauce laid on a bed of pearly white grain, tiny green peas and onions... I try to imagine assembling this meal myself back home. Chickens are too expensive, but I could make do with a wild turkey. I'd need to shoot a second turkey to trade for an orange. Goat's milk would have to substitute for cream. We can grow peas in the garden. I'd have to get wild onions from the woods. -Katniss, The Hunger Games
Spoiler alert: When Katniss and Peeta eat nightlock berries, they are ready to sacrifice themselves rather than give in to the Capitol's demands that they kill each other. This cocktail is a delicious mixture fresh berries and berry-flavored vodka. We’ve also included a non-alcoholic recipe just in case the kids want to join in the celebration. Happy Hunger Games.
I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta's hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. "One." Maybe I'm wrong. "Two." Maybe they don't care if we both die. "Three!" It's too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to my mouth, taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. -Katniss, The Hunger Games
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