Who says games don't improve your life?

Before I picked up this err, “game”, I could only really cook 10-20 things reliably well and they were all pretty simple. Now though, all in this last week, I’ve cooked Spain-style Omelettes, smoked salmon with ponzu sauce and onions, fried garlic pumpkin, Thai-style shrimp salad and mushroom cream spaghetti. It’s also improved my omelette rice into something that tastes and looks much more palatable.

What am I talking about? Why it’s Talking! Cooking Navi for the DS!

Sure, I bet there’s something like this for the PC, but there’s no way it can as convenient, because of the portable factor. You can do things like plan out your diet for the week based on several factors, such as calory-intake or ingredients and foods you are allergic to, and have the DS point out what you’ll need at the supermarket in order to have all the ingredients on top of what you have at home.

There’s no need to even touch the DS, as it you can set it pretty far away and command it via voice, and the DS will also read the recipe to you. You can ask it to repeat directions, make its voice louder and be a little more specific or detailed if you don’t understand something. If you want to get up close, there are videos and pictures showing what you need to do for the complicated recipes where text alone might be confusing.

You can modify the recipes as well, and have the DS read what you input out loud. You can also have it change the amount you need for each ingredient based on how many people you are serving, which has been really helpful for me, as I’m very helter skelter and thus far, anywhere from just myself to a party of seven friends and family have eaten by delicous creations.

Better yet, my food actually looks like that stuff you see in restaurant photos when it’s done.

Oh man, this is so cool. You can complain all day long that it isn’t a real game (unless you think including the Game & Watch cook game makes it one) but this is so damn cool and useful, I don’t care. I’m sure there are other cooking programs for the PC that offer good stuff, but since it’s Nintendo, the company that can make math problems fun, one gets a certain amount of the benefit of the doubt. And I’m glad I gave them it!

This thing rocks city blocks!


Huh. This is actually a really cool idea. I think I would actually buy this.

Is that the game published by majesto? I think I read preview about it in Nintendo Power a few months ago. I actually wanted to try it after reading about it.

I believe you’re thinking of Cooking Mama, which is being published in the US by Majesco, and was developed by Taito. That’s more of a game-game, with a bunch of ingredient-preparing and cooking method-related minigames that go together to produce recipes that you challenge yourself to do the best at. Some people seem to really like it, but it didn’t really boil my broth, light my fire, or sugar my water.

What I’m talking about is a Nintendo product that came out last week and is so far only available in Japan. It isn’t much of a game, but it sure is fun!


so ah… Kitsune, if you were on a desert island and could choose between a lifetime supply of batteries and a DS lite versus food, willing women, satellite TV and a backscratcher… ?

I want this. I’m a pretty incompetent cook.

Err, I don’t get it…are those supposed to be other things that improve your life? Is it supposed to be something about how much I like the DS?

In any case, let’s treat your question seriously!

Disregarding food, because obviously one would want to actually live and eat rather than play games (and because then I wouldn’t have anything to use for Cooking Navi as well), the others…

“Willing women?” Eh. If you had said the perfect girl, then yeah, I’d easily trade a DS Lite for that, but by willing women I’m guessing you mean sex with any amount of beautiful women I choose? Just not into that harem type of thing. You don’t have to be a prude to know sex with random people isn’t something everyone enjoys, no matter how beautiful.

“Satellite TV?” I hardly ever watch TV in the first place, next…

“A backscratcher?” Err, the funny addition, I know, but considering my back doesn’t itch all that often and I’ve got the limber, flexible body that can come from practicing martial arts, not an issue.

So yeah, if you hadn’t mentioned food, I would have taken the DS Lite. ^_^


Too bad Japanese is so incomprehensible to me. I would love to get a copy of this in English with the same recipes. If we ever get lucky enough to get a port of this it will probably come with americanized recipes like grilled cheese or fruit salad. /cry

How many recipes does this thing contain and can you add more to it? Either manually or via WiFi?

Around 200 and yes you can make your own recipes, but it’s not Wi-Fi compatible.


While it looks neat and handy, something like this is not really great for learning to cook. I finally decided to learn to cook for real a few months ago and it has gone very well. Instead of looking for recipes and step by step information I took a more theoretical bent and I really think that is the way to go. You don’t want to learn rote instructions, you want to learn techniques, and learn not only the how of them, but the why. Don’t get me wrong, you can get good ideas from recipes, but you can’t really learn to cook from them. Once you have techniques and a little knowledge of ingredients you can start to experiment which is the point at which you really start learning how to cook.

Learn how to sear meat and make a pan sauce and you can cook yourself an awesome dinner in half an hour, and can make it all in one pan so the cleaning up isn’t a hassle either. Then you can play with different flavors, herbs, spices, etc. in the sauce and get a feel for how different ingredients complement each other. In no time you’ll be cooking things dishes that impress people.

I wish the PSP had neat little gay things like this.

Agree with this. There is a book, titled something like, “How to Cook Without a Book,” that is exactly about this. Rather than learn a recipe, cook it, etc., you learn how to saute, how to sear, how to poach, etc.

Of course, in my imaginary life I have the ability to cook cool things like a real chef. I reality, I end up boiling some vegetables, pan fry some meat, and eat. :)

As long as you deglaze the pan and make a quick sauce, you are cooking like a real chef. Sear a nice skirt steak, remove from pan and set it on a rack with a tin foil hat, drain off the excess fat, “deglaze” which means to pour some not-horrible wine into the pan, a red in this case (enough to cover at least 1/8", amount depends on the size of the pan and how much sauce you want) once the cloud of steam dissipates stir up the “fond” (the burnt bits from searing the meat), add other stuff if you want (everything needs parsley a bay leaf and a shallot), reduce by around half, maybe add some beef stock to flavor and thicken (find a supermarket that carries “kitchen basics” stocks instead of typical beef or chicken broth, huge difference) or thicken with a little cold butter, or just use the standard thickening trick of mixing a little potato/corn starch and water and adding it little by little until the sauce is just the way you want it. Season to taste (taste the sauce and keep adding bits of salt and pepper and tasting again until the sauce is no longer bland, don’t be afraid of salt, without it everything is bland). Don’t forget to pour back in all the tasty meat juice that has come off the steak in the few minutes it was on the rack while you were doing all this. Plate the meat, pour on the sauce (strain out any flavorings if you need too, things like bay leaves should get removed).

This sounds like a lot because I’m long winded (and taken to parenthetical tangents), but making a pan sauce takes about five minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to the meat to finish on the cooling rack. With a little trial and error (don’t be afraid to over season, sure, you will ruin one or two dishes, but if you always under salt out of fear you will make bland food forever) you’ll be able to make amazing sauces in no time. While it may not be Gary Danko quality, you’ll make food that could be served in any decent bistro.

I would think that there would be an audience for these types of games over here, considering how well non games on the ds have worked so far (brain age, nintendogs). The funny part is that a few months ago, I forget which preview it was, but nintendo put a bunch of joke ideas of what you could do with the ds. One of them was a cooking game, and I thought before I read that it was joke that it was real, and it sounded good to me .

Hopefully nintendo will bring it over, as they did with Brain age.

That sounds like a good tip. In that example, what would you serve that with?

I’d love a good, free, PC based cooking program… mmm!

Well, french food theory can be distilled down to the point where you can basically say that fat and wine taste good.

How else would you come up with fois gras?

I sprayed tea on my keyboard and laughed out loud at that. Thanks.

If you mean main food, it’s the meat itself. You can do this just about any type of meat. For example, last night’s meal for me was some Tilapia. I dredged it in some flour, threw about 1 tsp of butter or so and some olive oil in the pan (the butter combines with the olive oil to make a bit higher “smoke point,” so the oil doesn’t burn/smoke so much at higher heat). It is important to get the pan hot (medium-high to high heat) before you put the meat in. A good way to do it is to start the pan on low medium, put in the butter and oil and let it melt while you are prepping the meat. Then, turn it up about a minute or two before you put the meat in.

So you cook the meat, then when you are done, you do the deglaze. I’m willing (and lately have) tried just about anything because I’m so excited about the cooking thing; last night I threw in about 1/4 cup of baslamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of cream, some salt and pepper. You basically let it “boil” down until it thickens a bit. I had second thoughts, since it seemed an odd choice with the tilapia (for a white fish, a more traditional choice would be to throw in something to make a lighter cream sauce with some lemon and capers, for example), but it came out okay (for my family at least, someone else might have gagged on it).

Okay, I just posted about cooking tilapia in a game forum folder, which is a bit odd even for me.