Review + Recipe(s) – Famine and Feast

I am suspicious by nature, particularly about hype and advertising. Show me a book that "everyone" is talking about, and you'll have to force me to read it.
I know by this point you've heard a lot about the movie The Hunger Games, and you may be wondering if the story is getting too much publicity. The answer is no. The trilogy by Suzanne Collins is worth all the attention it's getting, and I am really looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend.
If you are still unfamiliar with the plot at this point, The Hunger Games imagines a futuristic world where 12 districts are controlled by a Big Brother-style government. Each district must hold a lottery to choose one boy and one girl to fight to the death in televised combat. The home district for the winner will be rewarded with feasts and wealth, a much-needed relief for the districts that are struggling with crippling poverty and hunger.
When Katniss Everdeen's young sister is chosen to compete, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She is taken to the capitol city to be groomed and trained for the competition by a strange team of coaches and stylists. Unwilling to be a pawn in this ongoing chess match between the government and its people, Katniss decides to find her own way through the competition without losing herself, literally and emotionally.
Collins' trilogy describes a harsh and often brutal world, while at the same time shining a light on our own. It's a clever riff on our obsession with violent video games and reality television, and a lesson in dictatorial governments.
Even if you see the movie this weekend before reading the book, be sure to read the trilogy at some point. They are quick-read and compelling books that will grab you and drag you right into the 12 districts. Just ask my husband. When I finally convinced him to read the books, he read all three in about four days, a personal record for him (just kidding, Matt).   (Scholastic - 2008)

Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games
It seems ironic that a book with "hunger" in the title would inspire a cookbook, but food is a central part of the Suzanne Collins books. After all, when you have so little food, the composition of your next meal can become all-consuming.
Emily Ansara Baines was so inspired by the descriptions of food in The Hunger Games trilogy that she decided to try to recreate every dish. Her new book, The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, offers 150 recipes, including the lamb stew with dried plums that is a favorite for Katniss.
Recipes run the gamut form the breads made in Peeta's family bakery to the roasted parsnips that Katniss' sister loves. And, luckily, Baines substituted some ingredients, like putting chicken in place of squirrel.
Recently, the Huffington Post ran a review of the book and showcased lucious photos of the editors' picks for the top 12 dishes. Click here to view the slideshow.
To see four of the actual recipes from the book, click here to go to the Daily Mail's review of the cookbook.

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