Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cook or Be Cooked

Last night I saw a commercial for the Food Network’s new video game Cook or Be Cooked. It’s designed for Nintendo Wii, and you can play in multi-player mode or alone. There are over thirty recipes to cook from and Susie Fogelson, a Next Food Network Star judge, and Mory Thomas, a Food Network Chef, are there to guide you along your virtual culinary experience. You get the opportunity to slice and dice, stir and mix, and fry and bake, and then have Susie and Mory taste and critique your food.

Now, I love all things food, but this just seems a little ridiculous to me. I have to wonder who exactly is going to play this game. Can it really that fun or satisfying to play? Is it for people who don’t have kitchens or can’t afford to buy ingredients? You can’t even make your own recipes—you have to follow the ones created by Food Network for the game. You also don’t get to be in a cool environment like Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium. Instead, you’re just in an average kitchen. Didn’t video games used to be about fantasy and adventure not everyday things you can do in your home?

What makes cooking exciting is not just selecting ingredients, planning meals, slicing vegetables, and turning on the oven—it’s more about the scent of the food cooking, the warmth rising from the stove, and, of course, eating what it is created and sharing it with others. Cook of Be Cooked may be able to help some people learn some basics about cooking, but it could never really teach how to cook. Part of cooking is relating to the food—something a video game could never recreate.

I suppose it’s not all that different than watching other people cook and eat on TV, but at least when watching food shows you can get inspired by other cooks and get ideas for creating new dishes. I personally can’t wait for the next hot game coming out for Nintendo Wii—Clean or Be Dirty where you get to mop the floor, scrub the tub, and clean up after your Cook or Be Cooked meals.

You can check out the official site for the game here:

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