Fine, I’ll admit it. I totally got into the Hunger Games. In a big way. I figured it was just another trendy teen book so I resisted it forever. I ended up taking it as a plane book, forgot to read it on said plane, got bored a couple weeks ago and decided to skim through the first chapter and see what all the fuss was about… fast-forward to 2am , and I was desperately devouring the last few pages! I just had to know what happened to Katniss and Peeta. Whatever, at least I’m not into Twilight, right?
So when the Hunger Games-themed cookbook came out, I jumped. My two passions in life — food and Hunger Games — together?! Done. (Fine, HG isn’t my passion, but it sure felt like it during that three-hour period when I read it cover-to-cover. KATNISS!) Ahem. Anyway, here we have it, The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines. I think it’s pretty funny how much they’re required to emphasize the “unofficial” aspect.
Alright, so, real talk: this cookbook is really contrived. I will concede that I am a bit older and more experienced in the culinary realm than its target demographic, but some of these recipes are straight-up ridic. We’re talking “Hazelle’s Beaver Stew with Rosemary Potatoes” and “Banquet-Baked Mountain Goat with Artichokes, Tomatoes, and Fresh Herbs” (ingredients: “2 pounds wild goat tenderloin or round steak,” yeah, probably the round steak, I haven’t seen any mountain goat at my farmer’s market lately). Oh, and even “Grilled Tree Rat with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce.” Seeing as how most of these recipes are pretty simple and made for young cooks to try out, I don’t think suggesting TREE RAT is really the most realistic path to take, Emily Ansara Baines.
Also of note are the cooking suggestions included with each recipe, hilariously entitled “Tips from Your Sponsor.” And, perhaps the best part, a little description under the title of each dish explaining how any recipe, even something as simple as cookies, ties in with Hunger Games. My favorite example:
“A twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie, this cookie is similar to Katniss’s spirit — mostly dark, with patches of light throughout.”
Hahaha, WHAAAAAT. Stop. Just stop. I mean, I know it’s probably hard to fill an entire cookbook, but come on. Anyway, who am I to judge until I’ve at least tested some of these recipes for myself, right? My initial impulse was to make Katniss’ favorite lamb stew (an obvious yet necessary choice) but I didn’t have enough time and wanted to make something before the movie premiere today. I decided on brownies: