Offering dinner allows the group to not worry about rushing home to make something to eat. It also gives the group about an hour (which is more time than you realize) to visit and catch up with the other players about what's going on in their real lives. Last Friday night, we spent the hour hearing about how one player had been accepted into a PhD program, how another had a new job but that it wasn't going well, how another's kids were doing, and what our plans for the weekend might be. In addition to just helping friends be friends, it also allows us to get conversation out of the way and focus on gaming for the rest of the evening (although that doesn't always work).
While we are just as guilty as the next gaming group in ordering pizza regularly, I make a point of trying to actually cook something if I can. Earlier in this blog I mentioned my pulled pork recipe, but here's one I just tried out Friday: Beer Cheese Fondue. You can make it in a saucepan over a stove, but it is more fun to use a fondue pot so you can move it onto a stand with a warmer and eat it around a table, rather than over a stove.
|Eating before the game|
12 oz. beer (about one bottle)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz swiss, shredded (it usually isn't sold this way--you'll have to do it yourself)
2 tsp flour
salt and pepper
a couple of dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Over a medium-high heat, simmer the beer in the saucepan or fondue pot for about five minutes until warm. Then gradually add the cheese and the flour (which provides consistency). When it has melted to a viscous consistency, add the salt, pepper, and Worcestershire Sauce for flavor.
Using fondue forks (ask someone who got married in the late 1960's or early 1970's--they got a set for their wedding, or go to Goodwill) dip vegetables like broccoli, carrots, peppers, or mushrooms, or fruit like apples into the cheese and eat. Make sure you keep the saucepan warm, otherwise the cheese will congeal and become difficult to manage.
A while back I saw a Kickstarter about a Gamer's Cookbook. I may continue to publish my recipes for game night here, if people are interested.