Well Fed: An introduction to our MMO kitchen and MOP’s new Well Fed column


Hello fellow MMORPG lovers and food enjoyers alike! Welcome to Well Fed! If you listened to the end-of-year podcast from Bree and Justin, you know that this MMO food article project happened to come up in conversation as a tease. So I figured I would perhaps try to set the stage for what brought this idea on, what I’m hoping to do with this column, and why I snatched on to the idea.

First of all, I want to make it very plain that despite what I feel like are some reasonable skills in cooking, I’m by no means a professional chef, nor have I been trained in the culinary arts. I consider myself a good home cook, but not a chef; the distinction does matter in my view. That said, I like to believe that being a home cook gives me a bit more of an eye towards what would be perhaps considered “normal” eating standards. I suspect fine chefs would have far more refined – and by extension somewhat narrowed – tastes.

As for the purpose of this article series… well, everyone has to eat, I love the expression of adoration via food, and I really like to share the things I love with others. This all comes together in my mind. Of course that doesn’t mean I’ve been working on this idea for a long time. As a matter of fact, the inspiration for this series sprang forth from a random conversation and a gift.

Sticky honey roast from Genshin Impact with cheddar risotto, from a recipe by Chef Mar

If anyone has been following me on any kind of social media, you know that I can be one of those insufferable goofs who shares photos of food almost all of the time. So to say that I enjoy cooking and presenting and sharing finished dishes is an understatement. But even so I’ve never really had the idea to make that a writing focus simply because I didn’t really feel like I was qualified to bring my voice into the fold – I refer you once again to the lack of formal education once again.

But then during work chat, MOP’s Bree and I kept talking about some of the MMORPG and gaming-related cookbook things that would come up in our news feeds now and again. The time we were awed by the photography of the RuneScape cookbook springs to mind, but then we also brought up the fact that Final Fantasy XIV has a cookbook as well. And the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that the marriage of MMO gaming and food was a bit more frequent than I perhaps expected. For example, there have been numerous recipes adapted by Chef Mar from Genshin Impact. Plenty of pop culture and gaming IPs have their thumbs in the culinary pie so to speak.

It all finally came to a head when I was gifted a very lovely copy of the aforementioned FFXIV cookbook. That combined with encouragement from work colleagues and family sort of led me on the path to coming up with the motivation to finally make this something from a vague idea that I kept shooting down because of self-doubt to this honest attempt at making it happen.

So what do I intend to do with this space, anyway? What am I going to do that’s different from other food writers? Well, focus on MMOs! Like I said, I want to share this love.

Food has been a very deep love language for me from a very young age. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother. I loved getting out of the house and helping her with the grocery shopping. As much work as it ended up being at times, when I had to live with her, making food for her was intensely rewarding. And it’s rewarding to feed the small family I have with me now. Basically, if I give you something to eat, I genuinely care.

Second, I really love how MMORPG crafting kind of makes a cookbook not too mad of an idea. There are in-game classes that are all about cooking or making drinks, and I really kind of want to bring more of those into the real world. I want to explore the assortment of recipes that spring forth from gaming, pop culture, and MMOs, and try to figure out where buying an official cookbook means paying for the IP stops and where honestly good and fun cooking begins.

Finally, as I said, everyone has to eat. And I’m hoping that I can keep things as simple and approachable as I can. That might restrict me in terms of what recipes or experiences I can write about here, but I would rather make sure this touches on as many people as possible.

I want you all to come on that journey with me. As many as I can. One of my first habits in sandbox MMORPGs is to become the pastoral farmer or the provider of materials and goods and food. So why not express that in the real world? I like to make people feel good with my cooking and feel the emotions I put into my dishes; why not try to grant everyone I can a proper Well Fed buff?

I appreciate that this reads a lot like self-indulgence, and perhaps in a way this kind of is, but I’m looking at it like shared indulgence. I’m eager to provide my thoughts about official cookbooks, unofficial recipes, fan interpretations, and maybe if I get creative or confident enough, share my own created things. Of course I’m more than happy to hear what you all have to say as well, so if you have thoughts about this idea, nebulous as it might seem, I encourage you to provide them in the comments.

Next time around, I plan on cracking in to that FFXIV cookbook and providing some of my impressions. I’ve already flipped through it a few times and have some initial thoughts, but really they’re probably best gathered by attempting some of the dishes and drinks hiding within. I look forward to being your digital culinarian.

Everyone has to eat, and that goes the same for MMORPG fans, so why not get Well Fed? Join MOP’s Chris Neal for a look at real-world cooking through the lens of MMO, multiplayer, and nerd fandom as we share recipes, thoughts, and finds from this cozy corner of the internet.
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