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DiscussionDec 1, 2020 8:00 am CT

What are your favorite cooking moments in games?

I come from families where life revolves around food. If we’re not eating a meal, we’re cleaning up from a meal or planning the next one. When you visit any of my relatives, within the first ten minutes you’ll be offered a snack, a beer, or a cup of tea — possibly all three. So as we arrive at the winter holidays, sure I’m going to be thinking about gratitude on Thanksgiving and shopping local for thoughtful Christmas gifts, and that’ll be a good time. But my real focus is and always will be on the chow.

My passion for food extends into my game tastes. Cooking can be a great match for games, either as a side quest or as the main entrée of the experience. I’m always curious to see new takes on cooking mini-games, I’ll try just about anything set in a café or a bar, and there is little I love more than a farming simulator — I would pixelize myself and live in Stardew Valley if I could.

The time spent in the Valley of the Four Winds one of my fondest World of Warcraft memories. I left my Hearthstone tied to my farmstead for a wildly impractical amount of time because I loved tending to my crops and gazing out over the jewel-like fields. And even though the zone’s dailies eventually felt like a grind, as they inevitably do, the way you learned the different NPCs’ favorite dishes and became friends by feeding them was freakishly close to how I show affection for people in the real world. It was one of the most pure, wholesome joys I’ve ever seen translated into gameplay.

Outside the Blizzard world, I recently discovered that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is awesome (yes, I’m late to the party, but I got there eventually) and has perhaps become my favorite in-game cooking mechanic. It’s equally critical for surviving boss fights and cheesing my way around Lynels. Plus Link’s little humming animation while food cooks is just heckin’ charming.

What are your favorite instances of cooking in games?

Also writing this has made me hungry. Time for a snack!

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