Bread is a food made from various types of grain. It has been a staple for many cultures throughout history and plays a symbolic role in The Hunger Games trilogy.
Each of the twelve districts of Panem has their own unique variety of bread. Each bread's shape, composition, and flavor is influenced by the district's industry and location. The districts whose breads are revealed in the narrative include:
- District 2 (Masonry): Dark and rectangular wholemeal roll.
- District 3 (Electronics): Bite-sized, square shaped rolls.
- District 4 (Fishing): Salty, fish-shaped bread. Made with seaweed, giving it a green tint.
- District 11 (Agriculture): Made with dark ration grain. It is crescent shaped and sprinkled with seeds.
- District 12 (Coal Mining): Two kinds of bread are mentioned- "flat, dense loaves" made from the tessera grain, and "drop biscuits" (presumably made from tessera grain as well). During the 74th Hunger Games training, Katniss remarked that the Capitol's version of the latter looked better than the ones from home, even though it was made from the same ingredients.
Several varieties of bread are seen in the Capitol. In contrast to several of the poorer districts, whose bread is made from rough ration grain, Capitol bread is made from refined white flour. Different types of bread from the Capitol include:
Mellark bakery specialties
A number of unique breads were produced at the bakery run by Peeta Mellark and his family, some of which play key roles in the story.
- Raisin-and-nut bread: This is the bread that Peeta burned on purpose to give to a starving Katniss, thus setting their relationship in motion.
- Cinnamon and dill: Katniss notices these scents lingering on Peeta, and surmises that they must be from the breads he had baked that day.
- Cheese buns: Apparently Katniss' favourite, as she was kept supplied with them by Peeta following the 74th Hunger Games and subsequent Victory Tour.
Role of bread
- "Panem" (or simply "pan") is Latin for "bread", and forms part of the infamous Roman political phrase panem et circenses , or "bread and circuses": The people of the Capitol essentially gave up their autonomy and humanity in exchange for food and entertainment when they allowed the statement of the Hunger Games, therefore this name is very appropriate.
- In his first appearance, Gale holds a loaf of bread with an arrow through it and says, "Look what I shot".
- Peeta's name is a homonym for "pita", a type of Middle Eastern flat bread.
- In the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss discovers a loaf of bread by the Cornucopia. She picks it up as soon as the Games start, but loses it during the struggle with the boy from District 9 when she was trying to obtain the backpack.
- Katniss receives bread from District 11 shortly after Rue's death. The bread was originally meant for Rue herself, but after her death, it was instead given to Katniss.
- To gain Katniss' trust, Bonnie and Twill show her a cracker with a mockingjay on it.
- The amount and type of bread that is given in the arena during Catching Fire serves as a countdown for a start of the rebellion. Bread seems so innocent, yet was used in communication between mentor and tribute for the start of a rebellion in the 75th Hunger Games.
- In his interview, Peeta compares the tributes to their districts' bread with Caesar Flickerman. He also points out all the districts' breads to Katniss when they are having lunch.
- The District 12 marriage tradition ("The Toasting") is a literal meeting of bread and fire, which serve symbolically for Peeta and Katniss in the novels.