The hungry games: Hit trilogy already has a cookbook tribute - but could you stomach fried squirrel, Dutch oven tree rat and groosling?

When an aspiring young adult fiction writer moonlighting as a chef found herself engrossed in the Hunger Games trilogy, the initial appeal had been the compelling story line and strong female protagonist.

But when Emily Ansara Baines noticed the myriad food references and decided to try and recreate a loaf of raisin and nut bread described in the story, she couldn't help but investigate further.

Now the New Yorker has published The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, a playful tome of over 150 recipes taken from and inspired by the popular fictional trilogy written by Suzanne Collins.

Hunter: The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook was written by aspiring novelist and chef, Emily Ansara Baines who trawled all three books highlighting every morsel of food or dish mentioned

Hunter: The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook was written by aspiring novelist and chef, Emily Ansara Baines who trawled all three books highlighting every morsel of food or dish mentioned

The author told 'Suzanne Collins left a great [food] road map. I don’t know if she likes to cook but she described a lot of the food.

'I bought new copies of each book since I didn’t want to mess up my own and then went through with a highlighter marking all mentions of food, even an apple on a tree.'

The eager foodie had no formal training and so found the project especially 'fun' and 'creative' as she pondered how to re-imagine a fried squirrel dish and considered whether to stay faithful to the descriptions.

When it came to wild game, where the dish called for raccoon or tree rat, Ms Baines did her research and trawling culinary sites and game cooking forums, discovered many solutions.

The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook
Emily Ansara Baines with her cookbook

Delicious! The author tried to cook squirrel but then settled on substitutions like chicken and turkey for dishes like Fried Squirrel, Dutch Over Tree Rat and Groosling

Though at one point she ordered a squirrel, when it arrived dead in a box and not even skinned she concluded a substitution like chicken would be acceptable.

She also recalled: 'Some required more exploring than others, [for example] the groosling doesn’t exist but in the book it says it looks like wild turkey. Stuff like that I had to hope I was as true as possible.

'I also made sure [to keep in mind] that for the poorer districts, who probably couldn’t afford it, not to use rich ingredients while with the capitol I could have more fun with those.

'I took liberties and hoped I was right!'

And for the gastronomically minded fans of The Hunger Games that buy her book, the author has thoughtfully included a reference to the exact volume and chapter in which each dish features.

Ms Baines' debut recipe book has been such a success, she is now working on The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.


The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook


Yields 1 large bundt loaf

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease one regular-sized bundt pan.

2. Mix flour, 1 cup white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly by hand for at least 3 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix until crumbly.

4. Pour half of the wet flour mixture into prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar/butter mixture evenly on top of flour mixture; pour rest of flour
mixture over topping. Smooth batter and remaining topping over it. Using a knife, swirl topping for a marbled effect.

5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Bread is finished when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to rack to finish cooling.


The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook


Yields 25 servings

  • 5 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 25 large basil leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil to taste


1. In a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Place a spoonful of cheese mixture onto each basil leaf. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.


The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook


Yields 6–8 servings

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup amber-colored honey
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup dried apples, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg


1. In a small bowl, whip the cream and fold in the sour cream and honey. Set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the remaining ingredients. Sauté for about 10-15 minutes or until apples have softened but are not mushy.

3. Divide apples into pretty bowls and spoon the honeyed whipped cream over the top.


The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook


Yields 2 servings

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 (1½ - 2 pound) wild turkey breast halves


1. Combine the vinegar, water, paprika, salt, lemon pepper, and marjoram in a glass jar and shake to blend.

2. Place the turkey breasts in a large Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the turkey and carefully seal the bag, removing most of the air. Refrigerate for about 1-2 hours.

3. Build an indirect fire in a kettle grill or water smoker and add 3 or 4 water-soaked apple-wood chunks to the fire.

4. Remove the turkey breasts from the marinade and place on the indirect-heat
side of the grill or smoker (discard remaining marinade). Slow smoke at 225°F for about 1½-2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the breast meat registers 165°F-170°F for well done. The turkey will retain a slightly pink color from the slow smoking and the wood.

5. Slice and serve.

The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to "Groosling" - More than 150 Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games Trilogy (F+W Media, December 2011) by Emily Ansara Baines is available from Adams Media Bookstore