240: A Gamer in the Kitchen

A Gamer in the Kitchen

Cooking is time consuming, enraging and frequently dangerous. But if you have a mind for details and an obsessive focus on self-improvement, you may find the hobby a natural fit. Rob Zacny explains how gamers and cooks have more in common than you may think.

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Wow, I really liked this article! I for one love cooking. It gets boring for me to have to cook the same thing over and over again. My boyfriend loves hamburger helper, but some days I'd rather cook a nice shrimp alfredo (from scratch) or grill pork chops with mac-n-cheese, baked beans and broccoli.

Yes, I could see how the average gamer could become a great cook. I know that I have obessed over certain recipes and have tried over and over to perfect recipes. Even with box dinners, I will add my own little twist to them so they aren't all boring and samey. Gamers hate boring and samey, well people hate to eat boring and samey!

You've inspired me to go make a breakfast of fried eggs, grits and heck maybe some toast!

I loved this article. I just recently started cooking and can relate. I am already remaking dishes and trying to get flavors "just right"

I'm going to start cooking! I like food, I'm fat (but not "eats 10 pies a day" fat), I like gaming, I like to experiment, have an eye for details, and this sounds like a great hobby.

TO THE KITCHEN!

*comes back 10 minutes later*

Shit. The house is on fire.

I've always liked cooking, but it is a joy for myself mostly. I have almost no sense of smell and to taste the food I make, I must spice it heavily enough that I might be the only person who can enjoy it.

Really great article, I like how you brought together these two worlds that seem totally different. It's nice to see another gamer who likes to make everything from scratch.

I love to cook. This just happened a few years ago while I have enjoyed gaming all my life. what really inspired me to cook was watching Good Eats on Food Network. Alton Brown's new book is probably the thing I most highly recommend for gamers who want to start cooking. It has all the science of cooking and tells you what kind of equipment to buy so you can get the most use out of your gadgets.

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Eats-Early-Alton-Brown/dp/1584797959

Well, that explains my A in... "cooking class"*!

Good read.
I haven't read an article in ages, then this tickled my interest.
I'm glad it did

*It's not really a cooking class, it's more like Home Economics with cooking as the main subject
In Swedish it's "Hemkunskap", which directly translates to "Homeknowledge"

Great article! I don't cook much myself, but I've always wanted to cook more. This really inspired me! Thanks!

Seeing as I am aspiring to be a pastry chef I'm kind of glad that someone pointed out this correlation. Now I have even more reason to play video games until the day I die!

I pretty much try not to experiment too much since I have very little equipment to cook with and fairy little understanding of taste. I'm hardly ever fussy with what I eat, I could enjoy high quality sushi as much as a corn-beef sandwich with some mustard. I wouldn't say the food I cook is bland, its good stuff but definitely not something I would serve other people. I've learned to love cooking since I started University, I might take some lessons sooner or later!

The most frustrating thing is changing oven types though. Everything I learned came from cooking on a gas stove and this apartment has a glass top electric stove. It's like switching to a controller where the buttons all burn eggs.

Yeah, I haven't heard real good things about those. Really don't like hearing that they have a tendency to melt copper-bottomed pans.

It's not just a gas vs. other heating methods thing. Every oven and stove is a little bit different, and it takes awhile to get used to any of them. I'm a pretty die-hard gas loyalist, but I've come to appreciate how well my electrical heating coils can keep temperature steady in my pots. My old gas range would just burn-out when the flame was too low, pumping my apartment full of gas.

Ovens seem to be a curse for me, though. My old one wouldn't keep a steady heat, and my new one loses about 150 degrees every time I open it. Maybe someday I'll have one that doesn't try to ruin my life.

GREAT article!

I'm much more of a cook and baker these days than I am a gamer, and for one main reason you mention: This joy and accomplishment is something that is enjoyed with others. It's nice to know I'm not alone out there.

I totally agree, I'm actually in culinary school right now. Its hard as hell, but so rewarding. And all those hours of Zelda are paying off lolz.

I generally prefer baking to cooking (which works well since the bf likes cooking but not baking), but some of my most fun times with a couple who we're close friends with is going over to their place and all of us working together to make a nice dinner. It's fun, it's social, and we can make something more complicated than we'd be able to do individually.

I love cooking! My college dorm is severely lacking in kitchen facilities, but once I get my own place, I plan to cook all the time. Many of my friends are content to subsist on frozen foods that taste as bland as the packaging they come in, but I cry: "No, sir! No! Try really making something for once and taste just how much better it is!"

I will admit I take a few shortcuts here and there (buying tomato sauce for pizza, spaghetti, etc), but that's more due to my shortage of funds than anything.

I've also often thought about the overlap between the patience and persistence gaming takes compared to cooking. It was great to see this explored in greater detail. Wonderful article!

I work in a smorgasbord-type restaurant, and one of the highlights of my time there is discussing various videogames with the cooks downstairs. Not all the chefs play videogames, but the ones who do are quite passionate about them, and prove to be very knowledgable (except for Phil, to whom I recommended Fallout 3, which he played for under a week before returning it, complaining about it's lack of action...), each in different aspects of videogaming (ie. modern games, older games, different genres, etc).

It's interesting to hear someone make an valid connection between gaming and cooking, and the similar mindset between them.

"You never really expect to be tossing a part of your body into the trash on a Wednesday afternoon."

Well, unless you are Mick Foley...

I love cooking. I am still very much a paint-by-numbers cook - I use things like bottles of sauce (curry, Jamaican jerk, pasta) mostly for speed and convenience. But no Prego for me, it's a good quality sauce, and I always try and jazz it up more. I have made my own curry, and while it's great it IS time consuming. I've learned to appreciate a well-sharpened knife, and the care it takes to keep it so. I used to really rely heavily on recipes - one reason I didn't cook beyond simplicity was once I decided to cook X, I would hunt down dozens of recipes, trying to find the one I thought was best. I would occasionally alter the ingredients (most often for spice - many recipes that say 'spicy" mean "spicy for someone who is a wuss about spices". For someone who routinely cooks with Jerk sauce (none of your dirty thoughts), its pretty mild), and that was as much as I did. Recently, I started taking all the stir-fry and Asian cooking ingredients I had (we have a really good Asian grocery nearby, and I love curries and stir frys and the like), and just started tossing them together. Worked out well - word to the wise; even if you think you are a spice veteran, a little bit of Chili-Garlic paste goes a LONG way. We think we know spices here in NA, but those Thai and Chinese - they have forgotten more deadly spices than we know.

tscook:
The most frustrating thing is changing oven types though. Everything I learned came from cooking on a gas stove and this apartment has a glass top electric stove. It's like switching to a controller where the buttons all burn eggs.

Oh, it's so true. The stove in my apartment apparently only has two settings (off, ALL THE WAY THE FUCK ON) and I can still cook better on that than the electric range at my grandma's house. I hate not being able to see immediately how much heat I'm getting.

A lovely article. I'd never seen the connections before, but it makes sense.

I often find myself getting frustrated when preparing dinner with my dad when I'm back home--often enough, I never really get to do very much. It's a bit like he's hogging the game.

Guess I can't argue with that. Everyone in my family who can cook plays video games, even my granny, who plays strategy & city builder games for 8 hours a day.

I cook for a living and have been gaming for years and the only similarities I've noticed is the problem solving aspect,how to move almost robotically forward building knowledge based on making mistakes.
Also I find the hand eye co-ordination gained from gaming helps maintain the pathways between hand and brain.
Other than that cooking for a living is fucking hard.Gaming is enjoyable,so maybe I just dont want to see any similarity..but maybe my perpective has been blurred over the years.

Cooking isn't really something that interests me, but I definitely liked this article. Nice.

It's comforting to know there are other gamers that share my passion for cooking. So many subsist on fast-food and packaged meals, which I find incredibly depressing. You lose so much in that lifestyle, most notably flavor, variety, and health.

That, and a wiser man than I once said "If you want to land yourself a girl, you're going to need to learn how to cook up some bait."

Is it just me, or would this article not look out of place on a website actually dedicated to cooking? Regardless, it was very well written, and I never realised how similar video games and cooking can be (given the right attitude, of course).

SonicKoala:
Is it just me, or would this article not look out of place on a website actually dedicated to cooking? Regardless, it was very well written, and I never realised how similar video games and cooking can be (given the right attitude, of course).

Oh,this article would most definitely fit in such a site. I think the key here being the nature of the Escapist itself. While people tend to call it a gaming site, its really all about the gamer. And though I had always thought there was a shared set of skills in gaming and cooking, I never quite realised the correlation in how playing your favorite game does feel like catering your own Christmas party.
I've always felt this nagging sense that gaming is just some form of me trying to be a rebellious young woman, but I can't ignore the sense of satisfaction that you can get from games- which I had reserved only for activities of production out of bias.

BRAVO Great article,
I'm a foodie gamer and agree whole hartedly :)
I love cooking almost as much as I love eating and i'm always looking for tips and improvements to my existing repetoir.

I do however balance the practical with the obbsessive, for example whilst one celebrity chef described his Sunday roast ritual and his Brining process for the chicken took place over about 3 days!
Whilst I'm sure the results are something special, I'll usually restrict myself to sub 1 day processes.

I often spend an entire Sunday preparing and cooknig a Roast to prefection which is then devoured in under a half an hour but it's worth it!

I think home made Fried Turnip Paste is the only thing I'll dedicate more than a day to and that's making enough bulk to make it worth it.

My god I'm hungry now.

You must be as good with knives as a friend of mine who got stabbed.In my brief experience of making salads,home made bread,steaks and various local dishes I cut myself once because I was trying to bend a piece of iron from a can in two and it jumped and sliced my middle finger.Cooking is a slow and careful thing for me at least and it's gonna be done whenever it's fucking done and it will taste good but I'm not gonna rush and cut myself.

Also fuck me for necro-threading xD.

Great article, I can totally relate! I love to cook and I love to game. Fortunately I live with my girlfriend now and I always have someone to impress with my cooking, not to mention her family and friends. They're not so impressed with my Starcraft ranking, after all.

Also I find they both share a management quality. RTSs make you constantly check several things at once, make decisions for different times, whilst focusing on the main battle. Not unlike cooking!

 

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