Monday, April 2, 2012

Table Discussion - The Hunger Games

love coffeeWelcome to my virtual kitchen!!  
Pull up a bar stool and join in the discussion!!

Today I've brewed a delicious coffee - I've ordered Gevalia coffee in the mail for years (I heard it was "freshest" that way!) This Karoma Estate coffee from the Dominican Republic is absolutely amazing. You'll love it!!  It's very smooth with gentle depth, mildly acidic.

Karoma EstateAnd to go with today's discussion, I've baked fresh bread.

Have you made bread from scratch much?!  It's sensitive stuff. Even if you have a break-maker, it helps to know the character of bread as you add & adjust ingredients.  Unlike other recipes, bread recipes need to be adjusted based on weather, humidity, temperature, etc... so bread & I get along rather well. (If I have to follow a recipe exactly, I'm pretty much in trouble.)

Basic White Bread 
        1 cu.   warm milk (you can substitute water, but it must be warm - not hot, not cold, WARM!)       
2 T     honey or raw sugar or agave (sugar wakes up the yeast!)
  1 1/2 tsp   yeast

Let the first three ingredients sit while you prep the rest. Watch for the foaming that says you've awoken your yeast!!  (My kids love saying "yeast" - it is an entertaining word.)
        3 cu.   Flour  (half white, half wheat is Ok - all wheat requires more liquid and babysitting.)
        2 T     Oil
        1 tsp   Salt  (salt kills yeast if it comes in contact too early, but you need it for flavor & short-term preservation.)

If you have a bread machine, it's so easy to select a setting and walk away, letting your bread make itself. Smells so delicious!!!  If you don't have a bread machine, you mix these ingredients thoroughly with a bread mixer attachment or by hand (think: gently!) and let sit 'til it rises double in size. (1 hour-ish) You want the consistency to be slightly sticky and very soft.  Knead it (punch & roll & punch & roll vigorously lengthening the stringy fiberous yeastiness) and let rise again in a pan or rolls or something 'til double (1/2 hr-ish) and then bake 'til done... probably at 350-ish for 30-ish mins. It's done with the outside is crusty & the innards are not doughy.
Don't you love all my "ish"s?!  Usually I get into a lot of trouble in the kitchen for my "ish"s, but with bread, we get along very well.  My first rolls could not be broken open with a pick-ax, but bread treats most first-comers badly, so I kept at it.  Besides, they were hilarious to throw. They made a stupid smacking sound against the wall. Memorable.

Some imagination is required, but I think this is acceptable among book lovers, no?  You can whip up your own coffee & bread or just *deep breath* pretend... and on we go:

For discussion today, the most recent craze, The Hunger Games!

I made it to see the movie this past weekend.

I happened to see the movie with FOUR people who have NOT read the book (seriously?!) and then gathered to critique it with someone who had LOVED the book and had lots to say about the movie, too. All relatives, so I listened carefully.

What is most interesting to me is... I felt the same about the movie as I did the book - I love it and hate it at the same time. I haven't really heard that report - love/hate - and I've really kept hush about it... but my Dearest (Cool, Man) agrees with me on nearly every point. (So many reasons we got married!!) So, I told him I'd vent, which made him feel better!

Hunger Games is a great story. I was very happy with Katniss and I loved her actions and thoughts. Not only is she believable and logical, she's brave and fast. I really like her... in the movie, as in the book.

When my sis-in-law, Ang, burst out about how very much she enjoyed the entire series, we dug into WHY? I pointed out that Katniss has such limited choices. Her circumstances are so harsh and the just constrict tighter as the series progresses, Ang agreed - agreed enthusiastically. She likes that part about the series, whereas I squirm.  I don't like how Katniss embraces these limitations, her character changes under the weight of them. And although the progression is completely logical, it's very painful to watch. (I thought.)

Together?The other main difference between Ang & I (which my dear Cool, Man agrees with me on) is the difference between Peeta and Gail. One of the reviews I read, Tiffany @ Book Cover Justice, mentioned loud swooning tweens over Peeta. I watched with a silent bunch, which was nice, but I still struggle with Peeta.  (As in the book, so in the movie.)  It's just that,

Peeta's great but...

 * He grew up "soft" and "rich" even in such a poor district. (He knew how to make good bread, though. Hmmm...)
 * He says so little to Katniss before popping this "I've always loved you" thing, which to me is so lacking in backbone. How can he announce it to the world before he tells her?!
 * Then he continues his lack of communication, which is supposed to be ok because he's so darn NICE.
 * He can barely take care of himself in the game. His best skill is hiding.
 * And although he's very intelligent, he consistently defers to Katniss or Haymitch or whoever.  Even if his main motivation is to help everyone else, his laid-back approach at carrying out his plans always rubs me backwards.

Maybe it's simply that I like Gail better? "Simple" Ha!  Gail doesn't make great choices over time and Peeta proves wiser. Still... what Gail & Katniss have at the beginning of Hunger Games is to me sweeter than what Peeta and Katniss have by the end of the series.

In fact, the end feels like a strong dose of resignation to me. Like, "if the world's going to be this sucky... fine!" Like The Last Unicorn's sad contemplation over regret. *sniff*

And between the beginning and the end is a WHOLE LOT of me digging in my heels with a fading scream of "Nooooooooo....!!!!"

So I have two rather large questions.  And, of course you can vent about the movie or Peeta vs. Gail or whatever. In fact, if you reviewed the book or movie, add your link to it so we can come check it out!!  Plus... it's kind of fun to think of all the little things that had to be cut out of the movie just for time's sake.  Like the whole MUT thing wasn't expanded on as much, although, I didn't mind not seeing human eyes in those evil mut dogs at the end!!!

How do you feel about the sad side of the Hunger Games? 

On one level, there's the concept of kids killing other kids, which is plenty big. But on a deeper level, Katniss & her mom & other characters swallow the sadness with deep resignation. Do you feel this improves the story with added depth? Or does it bother you like it does me?

Do you enjoy the romance in the Hunger Games?

Do you like Peeta right from the beginning? Does it bother you that Katniss rescues him repeatedly? Or does that add to their relationship? Are you sad when Gail is so obviously left behind because of experiences? (Or am I presumptuous to say "obviously"?!) If you do love Peeta right from the start, what exactly endears you to him? And do you think Katniss is a character that would be attracted to that, too?

CoffeeI would like this to be an open discussion, so please be nice!!  Even if you want to strangle me for not tripping to get to Peeta!!  If you click the "subscribe by email" button by the comments, you can get all the comments in your in-box so you can follow along with other people's responses to your thoughts and respond again. If you post your own discussion, link back to let us know!!


  1. Great post!

    I do love Peeta. I can't help it. It's the sweetness in him, the desire to protect Katniss at all costs, and his charm. I think Katniss likes him because he's stable. Amid all the chaos around her and uncertainties, he is always there, always calm, whereas Gale just jumps right in and is loud and strong and calculating. Katniss and Gale are too much alike to be together. And I think Katniss does love Peeta, starting from their time together in the cave. I think she ends up with him because she loves him, not because she has no other choice. I think she resists him so long because she hates not having options, not that she doesn't love him.

    I'm going to have to think on the other points. There's a lot going on in this post! I will say that I do love the books, though certainly not every moment in the books, and was very happy with the movie. I'm glad they didn't do too much with the mutts also, I would have been upset to see them cut something else short just for that. I thought Jennifer Lawrence was great as Katniss.

    Lastly, I can't believe you found four people to go to the movie with that haven't read the books!

    1. Ha! I know, right?! I felt lucky to drag everyone there so soon after it opened!! (sheesh!)

      I totally agree with you here:
      "I think she resists him so long because she hates not having options"

      And maybe my whole irritation is around those options, always shrinking, too, as the series progresses.

  2. Great post! I was actually in the midst of reading this when you comment on my movie review. ;)

    Anyway, I don't have the same hang ups as you do about Peeta. I know many who do, though. I'm just really easy to please, I guess. When it comes to love triangles, I always go with the one the author intends. I have such a hard time with the other person that most of the time, I wish they weren't even a part of the series. In Gale's case, I do like him as a character, so that's something. But, for whatever reason, I just like Peeta more. I don't know why. I just do. I really need to find out why because it'd interesting self-reflection. Hmmm...

    As far as the sad part of the book/movie, I think it's very poignant. I think it parallels our world well. While we don't have games like these where we send children to their deaths, we do have gruesome atrocities like this that involve both children and adults in our world and it seems as though people are okay with it. They don't care; they're happy to live life because where they live they don't feel the pain; they even find it entertaining at times. It's heart-wrenching and horrible. And, honestly, while I see the atrocities, I don't know what to do about it. I don't know if there is anything I can do, so I feel just like the Capitol citizens enjoying my own life while people are slaughtered every day.

    1. Yes, thank you!! I think your world point is very close to what my mid-schooler's teacher told me as to why she thought Hunger Games appropriate for pre-teens. And I forget that when I want to protect them from all horror - real or invented.

      Plus... I can't believe I didn't check the spelling on Gale!! I usually go with the author & I'm with you on triangle's, as far as wishing the non-choice wasn't even there!

      I'd be curious to hear what you think after your self-reflection!! :-) If somethin' comes to you!

  3. I think the series is a great comparison of how the United states could easily end up like Rome. It is not a far stretch to go from reality tv and mma/wipeout to the hunger games. Panem is not an accidental name. I like the characters and the plot. Some of her literary techniques drive me nuts like luls in the middle of chapters and action at the edges.

    1. Hi Jon!! :-D

      That is a crazy idea thinking of watching killing games in place of Wipeout! Probably nothing in these books is "accidental", which rates them high with me. Do you think Suzanne Collins meant her story as a warning?

  4. I've covered some of this in two different posts.

    I don't like picking between "Team Gale" and "Team Peeta" because, for me, The Hunger Games was never about the love triangle - it was about Katniss and her fight for survival. I think reducing the story to a love triangle does it a disservice, and the main focus gets lost with everyone cheering for either Peeta or Gale. Why aren't we cheering for Katniss? I wrote more in depth about this in Team Katniss: The Only Team in The Hunger Games"

    I also reviewed the movie, here. I think Katniss' limited choices are tragic, but it makes her choices have that much more significant.

    1. :-) Great point about Katniss and her story not being about the guys at all. What is the love of triangles anyway?!

      Your movie review really breaks down the different parts, which I really like. President Snow seeming too cuddly and not quite menacing enough was too bad. I like your thoughts - thx for the links!!

    2. I totally agree Kelly. The entire time I read the book, I never once though "ugh love triangle". In fact, I still don't even think it's a love triangle. However, I have not re-read the books in over a year, so maybe I just wasn't as up to date on how annoying love triangles could be back then.

      I don't remember how I felt about Peeta in the book. I actually plan to reread the books sometime soon just so I can have a better feel for them again since it's been so long, but for the movie..I was so upset at the actor they cast for Peeta. I thought it should have been reversed, Peeta playing Gale and Gale playing Peeta. But I frigging *loved* all of the actors/actresses in the movie. I thought their acting was really great.

      I actually disliked a few things in the movie the more I sit and think about it, but overall I really loved it.

      - I didn't like the camera!
      - I didn't like how they changed the Arena. (I don't remember too much, but I do remember the arena being way cooler in the books, and the lake! the lake wasn't even in the movie and it was a huge part of the book as I recall)
      - I didn't like Haymitch in the movie. I was actually pretty excited for him, and he did a fine job, but I felt like he wasn't like Haymitch in the books. He was a watered down friendly version.

      I think that's all I disliked in the movie...I wish I could throw more in related to why I love the books! I just remember reading them and then ordering the second and third the same day I finished the first, overnight shipping and being thrilled to read the next two. It took me two days to read all three books. And that was only because I had to wait for shipping! :p

    3. :-) I have these on my computer - I downloaded 'em one right after the other. Really fast reads!!!

      Great point about the camera. I was sitting right under the big screen and had a headache for hours afterwards!! Totally forgot that.

  5. Thank you for your post. It put my thoughts perfectly into words. I did not like Peeta in the first book, although he grew on me as they continued through the series. However, the ending of the 3rd book put my off the series because it didn't leave me feeling good. Not that I expected a happy ending considering the storyline, but the resolution only left me unsettled and that bothered me.

    I did attend the midnight showing of the movie and enjoyed it, although I missed the finer details of the book that were taken out of the movie. The two changes that bothered me the most was how Katniss got her mockingjay pin and (this is silly but...) the wolf mutations weren't referenced to resemble the tributes killed earlier in the game. Besides that, I'd say the movie was well done, considering that a book and a movie by the same name should never be compared to each other, for the book most likely will always be SO MUCH BETTER!!!

    1. I know... we shouldn't compare, maybe, but they did well enough on the movie for us to WANT to compare, which is saying a lot!!

      Great point about the mockingjay pin. We didn't even meet that girl, the mayor's daughter, in the movie. And she is quite the big player later on! Wonder what they'll do about that?

      Like Kali said, reading the books so fast, one after the other, it's hard for me to separate them into three. So... that unsettled feeling, it's like with me, even remembering this first one. And I really wanted to figure out why.

      How fun to make it to the midnight showing!! (So much hype on this movie!!!)

    2. Yeah, my dad was trying to ask me what happens in the second and third, and I'm like "I don't know what happens IN the second or IN the third, I only know what happens AFTER the first. The second two blend together in my head!"

  6. PS, I've made bread before!! And I don't have a cool machine, and the last time I made bread my arm was sore from the day before and it SUCKED. I was begging my BF to come help me knead it and he said since IIIIIII wanted to bake, IIIIII had to do it. Well none for him.

    I will totally invest in a kitchen aid just for delicious easy bread mixing! After having made dough four times in the last week I can safely say I am DONE doing it by hand, and I am so glad I can have a machine do my hard work!! :)

    1. FOUR TIMES THIS PAST WEEK?!?! I must've smelled it all the way across the country, or something! Um... WHY did you make it so many times last week?! Did you get a good batch? Did you use the same recipe over and over? I mean... some details, girl, you can't just casually say that!! Lol. Making bread turns into a project once, let alone four times.

      Kitchen aides are wonderful for so many reasons!!!!!

    2. The first time was just to see, the second time was because of how amazing the first was. The third and fourth were for a family get together! :D

      I used the same recipe each time, and it turned out pretty good each time. Of course, the first time was not the *best* but I do not mind eating yummy home-made bread to determine how long until I perfect it!

      I was actually going to ask for a kitchenaid for christmas, but I ended up going with a sewing machine instead. This year though...this year for sure. ;D

    3. I don't mind eating homemade bread to perfect recipes, either!! My first attempt was absolutely inedible, though, so I'm either jealous or embarrassed. In my defense, we did try to grind our wheat from seed and it wasn't too fine & I think we were working with chicken scratch (or nearly) so maybe it wasn't my fault.

      Are you sewing this year, then?! I signed up for this great (free) quilting class and, uh, lost the inspiration. (Again.)

    4. I haven't done any actual projects yet, I have two really good books that I'll be following soon. So far all I've done is perfect sewing in a straight line so I am the go-to girl for hemming things! :D

      When I got the sewing machine I went all crazy and bought patterns and material for dresses, and I was so nonchalant about my sewing skills. Oh yeah, I can make a dress over winter break, definitely. Oop...The best I can do is "alter" dresses, but hey it's a start!

      Also, it wasn't the first time I made bread! I made lots of bread last year over the year, and the first thing I ever made dough for was poppyseed rolls, and yeah...the entire middle of it was gooey from being too thick and the sides globbed out. I was still proud, because it tasted OKAY besides the gooey middle, it just looked terrible! I'm quite the little baker of my house though. My step-dad was complaining during my winter break that I was making him gain weight, so I had to put a limit on my baking for a bit. Probably also why I went so crazy baking the past month.

    5. Awesome! I have lots of patterns, too. Lol.

      I feel much better about my bread attempts knowing you're proficient. Phew! Now I'm just jealous you made so much of it last week - while holding yourself back!!!

  7. Funny, I didn't get one bite on the US - Rome parallel? Strange.

    I enjoy making a loaf of bread every now and then. The kitchenaid whips up a batch so fast that it is totally not worth using the bread machine. Besides I like the look and the smell of the bowl of dough rising under a towel in the kitchen.

    As for the book and the movie, I can't help thinking the most predominant feeling I got from it was repeatedly wishing something else would happen. I wished Katniss could show love, I wished that Peeta would be a Rock and that Gale would be a breeze. In the end I am quietly boycotting book 3 because book 2 bugged me bad. Probably because I am not much of a fiction reader. I read enough to have an opinion about a book though... woot!


    1. I don't know HOW you boycott 3 with the cliffhanger ending in 2, quite honestly, but 3 frustrated me the most by far, so great choice (I guess?)!

      What about Rome?! I'm guessing you're referring to the Gladiators, right? And how Wipe-out is nearly like Colosseum viewing?! So... like, it's a small step to toss criminals into the Wipe-out arena and then take away the soft, squishy stuff?!?! Am I close?!

      I'd like to see you whippin' up some bread. :-D Do you get much time in the kitchen being married to a chef?!

  8. After I got over the "What the hell I just read", I mean, the blurb of the book, my friend lend me HG, so I was quite skeptical.

    So, I started reading it & what really -really- got my was the Political/Social situation. Much more than Gale or Peeta or Katniss Sister. (Well, yeah, I was also Super FAN of Katniss...) The power & the difference Capitol vs Districtas. How they managed to control the starving, angly people by fear.
    I didn't really cared about their "personal lives".
    I know, I should have known in THAT moment I was ging to study something to do with politicas...~

    The thing is, after that, is Gale. He's, like, the friend. JUST that. I don't thing that Katniss whould have opened herself to any kind of 'relationship' in a normal situation. With Gale or anyone. He's one the greatest basass boy I've ever read, but for Katniss that wouldn't have been enough to risk.

    & then there's Peeta. The opposite of Gale in EVERY way. But, I guess he knew he was in a total loss -befor & during the games- so, he was like "I am going to die, so what the hell. At least she's going to know I love her, even if she THINKS is a farce, that's enough", right?
    Katniss & Peeta have thought about each other since... always. Whaeter they knew it or not.
    &, well, Katniss thiught it was a lie, even if inside she was like "Dafuq!? Are you freaking kidding me" Too much for a told lie.

    1. That's kind of funny about the Political side of things getting your attention like that!! I'm reading The Quaker State Affair, which is all a mix of political games + strategies between USA & China. Very exciting. Probably a book you'd really like!! Lol

      Maybe you're right about Katniss with Gale AND with Peeta. She probably wouldn't have gotten into any sort of relationship at all, except Peeta was so bold and kind every step of the way. I had concluded that she was attracted to Gale before the lottery, but circumstances drove them farther & farther apart. Which is much sadder.

      Did you review The Hunger Games?

    2. Oh, no. Probably I did like a million wannabe reviews… in my head. That because I started writing down things after I read the book. Sadly my books are sorted ‘After-before/goodreads’, unless I’d re-read it. BUT, bring more coffee & we can argue ALL about it!

      Ha, my dad came home for Semana Santa (how weird… um, Holy Week, that’s it) & we went to see the movie. He was like ‘they are NOT going to die, right? They CAN’T! The gov’s going to… jaja, told you!’ I just gave him a quizzical look.

      &, well, what can I say? I have a political vein that just proves my wierdness~ Hey, that book you're reading, you'd say it has international politics stuff, then?

    3. Oh yea!! I think you'd like it a lot! It's kinda movie-drama action stuff, but there's some really big ideas cushioned in the drama. I'd love to discuss it with you!!!! :-D

      Check out the review on The Quaker State Affair!!

    4. I read the review! 5*'s awesome. I'm totally reading it~, THANKS!

  9. You know, I was a strict Peeta girl when I read the books. I liked Gale but really liked Peeta. Then when I saw the movie I found myself liking Gale a lot more than before. Maybe it was because the actor did an amazing job and I completely believed him. It will be fun to see if I switch sides in the next movie. I'm glad you finally got to see the movie! I just lent the book to my niece and told her if she finishes it that I will take her to the movie. Like I need an excuse to go see it again lol. Thanks for linking back to my review! By the way, I'm loving the new banner and button!

    1. That's awesome!! :-D

      Great incentive for your niece to get to the movie, plus you gettin' in again!

      Thx... so funny how the Bloggiesta mini-challenge was on toning down while I worked my tail off to beautify-up!! Lol. Such is life!

  10. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Gale and Peeta are talking and they say that Katniss will choose which ever one can't survive without her. . . and the way obviously Peeta. I liked Peeta for allowing Katniss to help him, but I've never really preferred one over the other.

    I just didn't get a feel for Movie-Gale, maybe he will have more screen time in the next film

    I have a recipie for butter so I'm going to make the bread to go with it. It looks so good !

    1. YUM!!! What's your recipe for butter?!

      Yea... great point. Katniss is all about taking care of others, isn't she? And Gale doesn't NEED her like Peeta really does.


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