One thing we’ve learned over the years is that hungry gamers are grumpy gamers. We’ve also learned that a good food experience makes for a better night than an utterly forgettable one.
Food for Thought is a series where we talk about food at the table.
Where Does the Time Go?
You may have noticed that there haven’t been Food for Thought posts in the past couple weeks. Part of it was due to my home being full of fever and plague. Part of it was my partner in crime doing Important Things in the World which took her away from her computer. As it happens, this can be a problem when trying to provide food for the game table as well. Life just gets away from you and the next thing you know there’s a table of gamers being distracted from their kobold hunting because tummies are growling louder than their prey ever could.
Here are some ways to bring food to the table when there’s barely time to get the game going.
Sometimes, picking up the phone for delivery is just the easiest thing to do. Everyone can pitch in a few bucks and let someone else worry about making the food and bringing it over.
Don’t stick to well-known franchises, though. While large franchises are certainly going to deliver, it’s likely that you have local restaurants who will do delivery or pickup. Check out restaurant directories, poke your head into local restaurants as you’re walking the dog or ask around your co-workers. You might find some cheap and tasty alternatives to the big name franchises.
Sometimes it’s not that you don’t have time – it’s that you have the time during the wrong part of the day. Maybe your mornings are completely open or you have the entire evening free the day before. Thankfully, you don’t have to make food right before game.
Desserts and snacks tend to keep well when made in advance if you’re going to make them from scratch instead of buying them. Cupcakes and cookies are generally easy to store for a few days, though if you have the fridge space a pie or cake can be just as easy to throw together. Heck, cupcakes and cookies can count as snacks and then turn into dessert with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet.
If it’s the main meal you need to prepare, you can use a slow cooker. Slow cookers give you the option of setting up food early and walking away from it during the day. A slow cooker stew can go a long way and it’s easy to supplement with a loaf of crusty bread you can pick up on the way home. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can still make a casserole whenever you have the chance and freeze it. Just toss it onto the counter to thaw before the game and pop it in the oven to reheat.
Build Your Own Adventure
There are a variety of dishes that you can build on the fly rather than cooking beforehand. When I’m in a hurry, I like pick up salad components. Start with the greens of your choice and have a variety of other veggies, like peppers, tomatoes, sliced red onions and cucumbers. You might also consider fruits such as mangoes or avocados. For protein, consider nuts (I’m partial to walnuts and pecans for salads), hard-boiled eggs, cheese (I recommend a mildly spiced gouda) or a roasted chicken from the store. Dressing is as simple as a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, though you can certainly roam the dressing aisle of the super market while you’re picking up everything else.
Words from the Peanut Gallery
When you’re short on time, what do you do to try to stretch out your time? Do you have any favorite recipes that take little to no time at all?