I’ve enjoyed cooking for my gaming groups for any number of reasons. But the main benefit, I think, is that cooking and sharing a meal before or during your game session enhances the shared experience. It’s a bonding activity which in many cases mirrors a similar activity by the characters in game; I don’t think any of us have made it through a campaign without our characters spending some time sharing food and drink in a pub, tavern, or inn.
Sharing food has been a big part of what I have missed about gaming together. It’s great that we can still game virtually with the help of virtual meeting spaces and online table tops. But it sure would be nice to bring that shared meal experience back to the table, even just a little bit.
So this is my idea, and I am sharing it here in the hopes folx might pick it up, refine it for their group, and run with it. Talk amongst your group and pick a simple recipe that everyone will enjoy. You could then have each person go out and grab the ingredients separately, but it will likely be more cost effective to have one person buy the ingredients all together, then distribute what’s necessary to each group member. Once everyone has their ingredients, set some time at the beginning of your virtual meeting to all cook the dish at the same time, then eat a meal together.
The trick to making it work, I think, is to pick a dish that has simple ingredients and can be cooked in a relatively short period of time. This isn’t the time to bust out a slow cooker recipe, much as it pains me to say. But there are any number of dishes that involve five or six ingredients that could be prepped and dropped off for folx. These dishes are usually very simple to prepare, perfect if you have people with differing levels of cooking skill in your group. Over time you could have each group member suggest and distribute ingredients for a different dish each session, with everyone chipping in to a communal pot for ingredient purchases.
It goes without saying, I should hope, that you cover any folx who may be hardest hit financially; no one should be left behind in this, neither should a big deal be made of supporting each other.
I know it isn’t a perfect solution. But hopefully the act of you all cooking the same meal together at the same time can bring back some of the feeling of a shared meal before your game. Plus, the better cooks in your group will be there to help and answer questions for the less experienced. The big thing to remember is, have fun with it. Cook your food, share your jokes, poke fun at how each other’s dishes turned out (without being mean). Heck, turn it into a mini-cooking competition, with the best looking dish getting some small in game prize. Do whatever you want to make the experience a good one for all of you.
To get you started I have provided a very basic recipe below, for one mug microwave brownies. All the ingredients can be combined in such a way that you just need to add water and microwave, so your entire gaming group can quickly and easily enjoy dessert together. This is perfect as either a starter dish, or as a simple add-on to go with a main meal. If you need a vegan or celiac version, a quick internet search will provide.
One Mug Microwave Brownies
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- 3 tablespoons flavorless oil (canola oil/coconut oil/sunflower oil)
- 3 tablespoons water
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons chocolate chips
- In a microwavable mug (roughly 1 cup measurement) mix together all of the ingredients.
- Mix in the chocolate chips.
- Microwave for 45-60 seconds. (Timing is based on a 1200W microwave so adjust your time accordingly). Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Eat!
If you use this idea I would love to hear from you, especially if you have a cool, simple recipe to share. Please hit me up on Twitter and let me know what your group cooked up!