Personally Training Myself: Cooking

About a month ago, I read Kyle Orland’s superb Games for Lunch column entry for Nintendo’s Personal Trainer: Cooking. He seemed pretty satisfied wtih the overall experience so when I was thinking of ideas for my birthday (Jan. 19), I figured it was an easy choice to add it to my list. I end up with far more games than I can play to completion throughout a year, so I’m always looking for things that are either a.) different enough that I don’t mind if it sits there for a bit before I get to it or b.) game related books or other junk.

Tonight was the first test of Cooking, with a US recipe for Fried Chicken. The software allows you to pick your recipes by pretty much any way you can think to categorize food, but probably the most fun way to choose is to pick a country and go from there. To make it easy on myself, I chose the US since I’d probably have most of the ingredients on hand already and would have a good idea how it should taste.

I made a huge mess, but ended up with some pretty great tasting fried chicken! The relatively simple recipe called for Cayenne Pepper as one of its spices, and that added some nice heat underneath the batter. My first go at the batter was a disaster and I think either the recipe was a little off or I simply put too much flour in there. It was nowhere near “smooth” and I had to chuck it. Some really cool features of the software are video clips for various cooking techniques and hands off control for moving through the steps. Unfortunately as Kyle noted in his column,  the DS “hears” you making all sorts of noise in the kitchen so you have to turn off the voice recognition or the cooking steps will be over before you start!

Now that I’m finished everything (shopping, prep, cooking, eating, cleanup), I think I’ll be happy to try it all again sometime soon. There’s an abundance of good looking recipes to choose from and having those videos really came in handy to see how to chop parsley properly and cut the chicken for cooking. I took the DS shopping today and the built-in shopping list for my recipe was very handy. Plus I could check to see if I had all the cooking utensils I’d need right there in the recipe.

The whole experience was a little more satisfying as a learning tool than using a book, and even though my DS needed to be cleaned up afterward, it was all worth the effort. If you’re looking for something a little different that’s videogame related but not just another game to throw on the pile, check it out.

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