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Cooking Guide DS Review

24/02/2009 Family Domestic Gamer Review
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Cooking Guide DS

Cooking Guide



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Finally a proper DS cooking tool, I've been working my way through a few DS cooking style games for the last few months. When I finally got to this one I was really impressed with it.

No gimmicky games this time, just recipes and a really useable shopping list. Now you really can just fling your DS in your handbag (or back pocket - sorry guys!) before hitting the supermarket. They really seem to have thought of everything with this game.

There are numerous ways to search for your preferred dish; by name, country of origin, number of calories. If, like me, you are often left with a random selection of ingredients at the back of the larder, no need to panic, you can search for recipes containing what you have in the house. (Although searches for multiple ingredients would have been even more useful I think).

So Thursday night, no food shopping planned until Friday, I have a sad looking chunk of Chorizo in the fridge. I write Chorizo in to the search box (handwriting recognition tool!) and up come three recipes containing Chorizo. One of which is a lovely looking Spanish stew called 'Lentejas'. The only other ingredients required are lentils (of which I have a packet lurking in the back of the pantry - who doesn't!?), potatoes, garlic, onion and breadcrumbs. Easy peasy!

Your very own chef friend talks you through it, with a rather nice voice I think.

This game is really intelligent, letting you change the number of portions of each dish you want to cook. A lot of cookery books these days seem to have massive quantities of food with most recipes catering for 6 or 8 people, fine if like me you have a hungry family to feed, but no good if there are just two of you. Up or downsizing recipes is always problematic things done always work if you triple all the ingredients for example.

After the ingredients list, you get an overview of the recipe, so you can quickly judge its difficulty. At first I thought these were the cooking instructions, a bit hard going for anyone who doesn't know their 'simmer' from their 'boil'. Thankfully after you've decided that this is the dish for you, it moves on to a more in-depth step-by step recipe. Your very own chef friend talks you through it, with a rather nice voice I think. The instructions are wonderfully clear and easy to follow with further help on tricky techniques. The whole recipe can be navigated by voice recognition, which saves your DS from food splatter (especially true if you are anything like my husband in the kitchen!)

For real novices there is a handy cooking A-Z section with info on everything from different utensils to chopping techniques. There are even videos showing you how to fillet a flat fish. How many cook books can do that!!? Particularly useful was the 'How to roll a California roll' (sushi to you and me), which I have never got the hang of. There really is no reason to fail with this!

If I could marry this with Jamie's What's Cooking I'd been in DS cooking heaven. (Or just marry Jamie; I guess he's already taken!)

After you have made your dish you can stamp the calendar and keep a record of what you've cooked and when you've cooked it. I can see I've already made the same soup three times - oops!

The only game I can compare this to at the moment is Jamie Oliver's What's Cooking. Although this is much more functional to use, I prefer the style of Jamie's recipes than these. I can see that they are trying to go for international appeal and be authentic by giving you a taste of recipes from each country, but it feels that they have concentrated too much on getting a few dishes from each country, rather than finding dishes that are really nice in their own right.

For example Australia's offerings are Meat Pie and Pavlova. Not exactly ground breaking, nor are the American dishes, two of which are macaroni cheese and brownies. I have a shelf full of books with brownie recipes in and certainly don't need a recipe for macaroni cheese. Having said that lots of the dishes do look interesting and authentic to their countries and probably not something I would have stumbled across otherwise. I am happy to be proved wrong, I am just a little disappointed by the look and quality.

The recepies have the feel of one of those books you get from a cheap bookshop, where the pictures make the food look a bit shiny and congealed! This game would have got full marks from me if the recipes had been more groundbreaking, but that's what you get if you don't have a celebrity chef onboard. If I could marry this with Jamie's What's Cooking I'd been in DS cooking heaven. (Or just marry Jamie; I guess he's already taken!)

Written by Josie Campbell

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Josie Campbell writes the Domestic Gamer column.

"As quite a domesticated mum of three I love the thought that Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS lite and PSP games can have a practical role around the home and enriching everyday life but also fun to chill out and unwind with too. Here are my Domestic Gamer review, join me to read about all sorts of games, from cooking, health, and family ones too."

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