The Hunger Games has taken the world by storm and even though a friend of mine labelled the story as “tween girl” sensation I had to find out what all the hype was about. I was flying home from Edmonton on Sunday so I picked up the book and well I couldn’t put it down. I was stuck deep after the first chapter and didn’t put it down til I was done; Suzanne Collins words captivated me and kept me turning the pages even though I was tired from spending a fantastic 48hours with my family. In particular one passage really caught my attention, the main character Katniss Everdeen is served a meal beyond her belief and raises many thought provoking questions about food and life… I’ll let Suzanne Collins’ magic shine.
…The top splits and from below rises a second tabletop that holds our lunch. Chicken and chink of oranges cooked in a creamy sauce laid on a bed of pearly white grain, tiny green peas and oninons, rolls shaped like flowers, and for dessert, a pudding the color of honey.
I try to imagine assembling this meal myself back home. Chickens are too expensive, but I could make do with a wild turkey. I’d need to shoot a second turkey to trade for an orange. Goat’s milk would have to substitute for cream. We can grow peas in the garden. I’d have to get wild onions from the woods. I don’t recognize the grain, our own tessera ration cooks down to an unattractive brown mush. Fancy rolls would mean another trade with the baker, perhaps for two or three squirrels. As for the pudding, I can’t even guess what is in it. Days of hunting and gathering for this one meal and even then it would be a poor substitution for the Capitol Version.
What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?
In just one short page Suzanne Collins summarizes the way most of us live in Western society. Food is always available. For most of us we are completely detached from where our food comes from and how it is prepared. We take it for granted. What if, like Katniss, our sole daily purpose was to collect food for our survival? For our family’s survival? How would we spend the allotted 24hours in a day we all have? How would we prepare for the changing of the seasons? Of course we don’t have to answer these questions anymore, but these were the questions that plagued all of our ancestors on a daily basis. We all depend on food for survival and if we can take a small glimpse into the past we will have the opportunity to change our future.