Tag Archives: Gourmet Game Night

Dominoes and Treats at the Palace

It has been SO much fun spreading the word about the release of my latest book, Gourmet Game Night, because the basic premise of the book is all about having fun. I like to think that previous books I worked on had their merits: tasty reliable recipes, interesting stories and perspectives on foods and cooking. But this one is different. When I bring up games with folks, more often than not their eyes light up and they smile, telling me about the standing euchre date they have with neighbors every other Saturday. Or the on-going cribbage battles with their sister. Or the group of friends they’ve been playing poker with for the last few years.

It makes my job as an author doing gigs to promote the book a much more fun one than it ever has been in the past. Case in point: a mini domino tournament that the Tom Douglas gang is putting on for me at Palace Kitchen in downtown Seattle. Thursday evening May 13, part of the restaurant will be set aside for folks to play dominoes (likely the Mexican Train version of the game) while nibbling on samples of a few recipes from my cookbook (Green Pea and  Mint Spread with Crispy Pancetta, Herb Marinated Shrimp, and Lamb and Olive Kebabs). Plus they’ll be stirring up one of the cocktails from the book too, yummy Orange Negronis, available at the bar that night. Come join in the fun!! Tickets are $10 to cover the snacks, and books will be available that night as well, all the info you need is here. Of course, I’ll be happy to sign those books that night too. It’s going to be a really fun evening.

Many thanks to the folks from Blue Highway Games who will be on hand to run the tournament and provide their general game-playing expertise. That shop at the top of Queen Anne was part of the inspiration behind the book. I figured that if a couple guys who used to be in the electronic gaming industry were turning their attention to retail of old-school board games, there had to be something to this trend of unwinding with friends and family around the table, not electronics required. Hope to see you next week!

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It’s Game Time!!

Anyone else out there love both food and playing games as much as I do? I sure hope so. Because today’s the official release date of my new cookbook, Gourmet Game Night. It’s the ideal book for that niche of humanity that lives in that overlap of the foodie crowd and the gaming crowd. And I’ve launched a companion web site as well, at www.gourmetgamenight.com. Check it out!

The general premise of the cookbook is a simple one. When you’re playing games, there can be a lot going on. Dice, cards, fake money, dominoes, Cranium clay, game pieces in circulation. You want to keep your food on the tidy side so that those accoutrements of playing games don’t get covered in Cheetos dust and pizza grease. And you also don’t want to distract from the game play by having to put down your cards to pick up a knife and fork to eat along the way.

So I dreamed up this world where playing games and eating well go hand in hand. Fingers never get messy, because everything’s served in small dishes, on picks, between mini slices of bread, or are just pop-in-your-mouth fully edible. And the game momentum continues uninterrupted because the food sits to the side on a small plate, ready for one-handed eating while you ruthlessly collect high rents from your Monopoly opponents.

Along with the 80 or so recipes, I also provide lots of tips for hosting game nights, from considering what types of games to play, to favorite small dishes and picks that make mess-free eating a breeze. I have some menu plans in there, too, whether you’re two couples playing hearts or a crowd playing a bunch of different games.

And did you know that there’s an ever-increasing array of games being released with food lovers in mind? From Foodie Fight to Wasabi!, there are plenty of “gastro-games” on tap today, a number of which I profile in the book as well. If you’re looking for a game shop near year, I have a starter list of a dozen or so in the book. On the web site, I hope to continue increasing the listings to help connect game players with great shopping options near them. Is there one in your area that I should add? Let me know!

Though I’ve written (or co-written) a dozen cookbooks before this, Gourmet Game Night stands out as unique among them. It’s perhaps the most personal, growing organically out of realization that the way we host game nights at our house might be a bit out of the norm and maybe others would like to learn some tricks for making great food game-friendly. I found myself interjecting doses of family history in the book’s introduction, memories of playing Tripoley when I was a kid, and carrying a mini cribbage board on backpacking trips.

And the book’s already garnered interest from a number of different types of media outlets. It’s been featured in USA Weekend and Health magazine. I’ve been interviewed by Faith Middleton from Connecticut Public Broadcasting (for future airing, not sure what date) and will be live on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius the morning of March 3. The book’s been chosen as the March selection for Barnes & Noble’s Food and Drink Book Club! I’m due to be doing an online Q & A with book club folks on March 10.

But I have to say that this review of the book on a gamer’s blog Guilt Free Games warms my heart about as much as anything could. I felt pretty confident that among the foodie crowd there would be a subset of folks who like to play games too. But was it equally true that among the hard-core gaming crowd there would be some interested in eats beyond the usual convenience and fast-food fare? If this review is any indication, the answer is “yes”! He and his wife even ventured to try the wild mushrooms tartlets, happily finding the goat cheese “wasn’t as gross” as he thought it would be (thrilled to help introduce folks to something new!). And I’m glad, too, that my obvious proclivity for more mainstream party games (dominoes, Wise & Otherwise, Balderdash, Scrabble, Blokus) didn’t dissuade this hard-core gamer from appreciating what the book has to offer to game players of all types!

So, are you an avid game-player too? I’d love to hear what your favorite things are to play when you have friends over for a fun unplugged game night at your house. Unwind, reconnect and bring on the fun.

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Filed under Cookbooks, cooking at home, food and family