Back in my bad old raiding days we would start runs at 6pm Pacific, which meant as guild leader I would really need to be online and ready to rumble by at least 5:45. Raids went for 3 hours, and usually had a hour afterward of decompression, chatting, helping folks with the guild bank, doing daily quests, and so on. The result was that 2 to 3 nights a week I was in front of my computer with very little opportunity for a break from about 6-10pm.
These are also prime dinner hours. At the time I couldn’t cook (and wasn’t interested in learning how) and it’s not like I had a lot of time for cooking anyway. Dinner was usually picked up on the way home in the form of fast food and gulped down while inviting people to the raid, or something I could throw into the microwave over the mid-raid break. (Yes, some nights I was the typical gamer who ate pizza pockets.)
Right after I quit raiding and quit WoW for a while, I suddenly had all this free time in the evening. I started teaching myself how to cook. Cooking quickly became my relaxation activity — throw on a movie, pour a glass of wine, and knead dough, or chop onions, or stir risotto. Along with a love of cooking came a greater awareness of what I was eating, and while there is certainly still cruddy food in my life I put a lot of value on cooking my own delicious, healthy(-ish!) stuff.
Fast forward a few years to today. I am still diggin’ the heck out of WildStar, and the group content is so much fun. We have a bunch of folks who live in an EST zone and have to be in bed at a reasonable time on weeknights, some of whom have become part of my regular dungeon/adventure group. Not only that, but also I’m levelling as part of a duo, so I can’t really get away with my usual odd hours of play.
The result is a conflict between dinner and gaming. Prime WildStar time is between 7 and 9. If I wait until after playing with my friends it’s usually too late to do any proper cooking and I’m already starving anyway. If I eat before playing with my friends I’m basically coming in the door from work and heading right to the stove.
It’s clear that if I’m going to keep this whole appointment gaming thing up on a regular basis I’m going to have to actually start planning my meals with speed and flexibility in mind.
Anyway, here is a recipe for a quick and healthy dinner that you can eat while running a dungeon with about 10 minutes of prep:
Yummy Dungeon Night Peanut Butter Dip
1/4 cup of peanut butter
fresh minced garlic to taste (I use like 3 cloves because I love garlic)
a tablespoon or two of fresh minced ginger
the juice from half a lime
3-ish tablespoons of rice vinegar (white vinegar works okay too)
a pinch of sugar
crushed red pepper flakes if you like spicy
Throw everything together in a little dipping bowl and mix thoroughly. Add vinegar or water until you get a good consistency and flavor. Let it sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, or even covered overnight. Grab bowl of dip, grab a bag of pre-cut mixed broccoli and cauliflower crowns (you could cut your own too, but I’m lazy). Eat everything! You get protein, fat, and fibre. Yum.