What’s Cookin’ on Game Night.
Even though gamers are a strange bunch of people, we do have one thing in common with the rest of the world — we still need to eat. While most gamers are satisfied with Domino’s pizza and Mountain Dew, Cynthia Nims’ presents more game friendly snacks in her new cookbook “Gourmet Game Night.” Personally, I don’t feel that you’re a real gamer until your Shadowrun book has a permanent Cheeto stain on page 153 and your Catan tiles are warped by a cola tsunami, but I was willing to let her prove me wrong.
The first few chapters of the book focus on gaming’s rise in popularity over the last decade, as well as the author’s own experience with games. Nims doesn’t seem to play as many hardcore games as we do here at GFG, but I don’t hold that against her or the book. Apples to Apples takes as much table space as Race for the Galaxy, so her recipes work just as well. Nims provides seven chapters of food that will fit neatly around your gaming table with minimal mess and intrusion.
As someone who is a hurricane in the kitchen, I appreciated how the book was laid out. After the introduction, the book provides a bevy of tips and tricks before it gets into the nitty gritty of the recipes. There is a guide to useful utensils and dishes that you can use that let the game and food rest on the table together. Stemless wine glasses are a great suggestion, and the book gives me plenty of excuses to do something with my previously useless espresso cups. The best page in these early section, however, is page 6. It provides a table of some of the easier and quicker recipes available in the book so you don’t have to scour the book for something that will work with company on its way in a few hours.
We tried two of the recipes while we played a couple of games of Pandemic. My wife made the Itty Bitty BLTs and the Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tartlets. The BLTs didn’t deviate much from what you would normally make, but the recipe does call for cocktail bread to reduce crumbs. The sandwiches were cut into smaller pieces to make them easier to hold while one hand is full with cards, but they were still larger and more filling than the finger sandwiches your mom made for you. The tartlets were more unique, and the goat cheese wasn’t as gross as I thought it would be. I would have prefered mozzarella, but the recipe seemed flexible enough that you could put any combination of food into the pastry. Many of the recipes in the book were that flexible; the important part of the recipe was always the manageability at the table.
Throughout each chapter there are sidebars suggesting new games and resources. Several of the game recommendations are for food-related trivia games, but one of my personal favorites, Wasabi!, gets a mention. Several sites and magazines are referenced to help readers find new games, and there is a list of games stores as well (including GFG’s own FLGS, Myriad Games). Aside from a great variety of food, Gourmet Game Night is great book to lure your mom’s bridge night into Ticket to Ride night.
Cookbook reviews are not something that we do a lot around here, but “Gourmet Game Night” was something we made an exception for. This book may not help people who wait until the last minute to invite people over on Fridays, but this is a great book for those who love to plan their parties all week. In fact, if you’ve dug John-Michael’s game night series this would be a great tool to get people at your gaming table. People might be iffy on trying a new game, but I don’t know as many players who would deny new food.
“Gourmet Game Night” is in stores today with an MSRP of $17.99. This review is based on an early copy of the book.