Cookbook Challenge: “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook”

It’s not very often that I get novelty cookbooks, or that I expect anything amazing to come from them, but this recipe was the exception. I was gifted this book for Christmas one year and I have only made one recipe from it prior to today, and all I can say is that I wish I had explored this quirky cookbook sooner. I chose to make the Heavenly Onion & Dill Bread because I needed something for sandwiches in the morning and was hoping to use the extra loaf to go with a soup recipe. Since this recipe makes two loaves, I thought it would work out perfect.

As soon as these came out of the oven, I realized that I had just made the best loaf-style bread ever. They looked gorgeous, smelled amazing, and were the perfect texture inside and out. It’s understandable why the recipe title has ‘heavenly’ in it. It was damn-near impossible to wait for a loaf to completely cool before slicing pieces and gobbling them up. No butter needed! Today, I am entertaining the possibility of making this bread in triple batches (six loaves) and freezing for future use. It’s THAT good.

Okay, here’s the weird part… there’s cottage cheese in it. Hopefully that doesn’t deter anyone from investigating further, but some people get hung up on these kinds of things. The best part is, when I told my taste testers that I put cottage cheese in the bread, they didn’t believe me. There are no traces of white curds or anything looking like that at all, just soft-on-the-inside and crusty-on-the-outside, delicious bread. (The larger white things on top of the bread in the photo are salt grains.) One negative side to this recipe was that the flour measurement was wayyyyy off. I had to add 2 and 1/4 cups of extra flour because the dough was a runny mess. I’m not sure if it was a typo, but if anyone should decide to make this, slowly add additional flour by a 1/2 cup at a time, until it is a soft, pliable dough. Other than that, I can’t say enough good things about this bread and no matter what happens to this cookbook, I will hang on to this recipe forever.

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*A few things about the book itself:

It’s a pretty cool cookbook and the recipes look like the author put a lot of thought into every one of them. They are all accompanied by a reference to a chapter in one of the books in the trilogy. Also included, are ‘Tips from Your Sponsor’, which are helpful cooking tips and/or history related to the dish. True to the movie, the author has tried to ‘keep it real’ by featuring recipes with raccoon, rabbit, partridge, pheasant, dove, and other types of meat that are reminiscent of surviving off the land, like Katniss did in the movie. This is a great cookbook for anyone who loves Hunger Games and loves to cook. What this is not, though, is an easy-breezy introduction to cooking, or the greatest recipe collection for vegetarians. My biggest complaint is that there are no pictures of any of the dishes, not even a sketch. That is a big turn-off for someone like me who wants to see the final product. Many of these dishes are also made with indulgent (expensive) ingredients like heavy cream and bacon, and somewhat harder-to-find exotic ingredients, such as yucca, toyon berries, Japanese knotweed, and rock tripe.

If you can look past most of these quirks, or are a die-hard Hunger Games fan, you can find a copy of this cookbook on Amazon. (This author also has an unofficial Downton Abbey cookbook that could be fun to try as well.)

The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines


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