Are you a gamer? I’m going to assume you said yes because you’re reading an article on a page called “Retro Gaming Magazine”. I’m also going to make certain other assumptions about you. You need to breathe. You need to sleep (no matter how much it interferes with your speed run practice). You need to go to the bathroom (again, no matter how often it interferes with your world record attempt on Contra). But along with all those annoyances, you’ve got to eat. That means there’s one accessory you and every other gamer like you needs: a slow cooker. No, listen, hear me out…
I know, I know: cooking cuts into time that could be spent rescuing the princess, or solving the mystery, or upgrading the walls of your current base to metal-reinforced concrete to better survive the zombie apocalypse. Some might say that’s what microwaves are for, and yeah if you live all alone and never have real-life interaction with the rest of humanity, that’s just fine. But gaming is a social activity no matter how much Facebook tries to replace ‘social’ with ‘click on some shit to bother that guy six states over into sending you a bale of hay’. Chances are, if you’re a gamer then you at least get together with other gamers once in a while. And when you do, what do you bring?
Chips and soda, right? I know, me too. Dew and Doritos are the two major food groups of social gaming, and they’re awesome. But anybody can hit the store and pick up a Code Red and Cool Ranch. Even if you miss this week’s get-together, someone else will bring the junk food. Suppose it’s at your house though? What will you serve? How about a nice, awesome home-cooked meal.
I know, I know, I hear the arguments already. “But Michael, I can’t cook to save my life!” “Yeah, like I’ve got time to slave over a hot stove.” “I don’t even cook for my spouse, why do you think I can suddenly whip things up for my gaming buddies?” Listen, I’m right there with you. We’re all part of the same clan, you and I. I can ruin Pop Tarts. I get PTSD-by-proxy every time Gordon Ramsay verbally vivisects someone for wrecking the risotto. But like everything in the digital realm, cooking has a cheat code. It’s the slow cooker, and spending money on one is a much more responsible investment than letting EA nickel-and-dime you to death with DLC in the next Madden iteration. So here’s what you’re going to do: you’re going to get yourself a slow cooker, you’re going to score an instant upgrade to your charisma, and the next time your buddies get together for a World of Warcraft raid, some other unimaginative spawn-camper can bring the pizza rolls–you’re going to roll up with an enormous pot of the best damn chili they’ve ever tasted. Here’s what you need to win at life.
First you need a slow cooker. While there are brands out there who would love for you to spend the entirety of next year’s gaming budget on them, you can tell them all to eat lead. You don’t need the Hummer of slow cookers, you need something you can get for under twenty dollars at Target or even less than that at a second-hand store. Once you have that, you’re on easy street.
Second, you need ingredients, and it turns out chili is almost as cheap as a copy of Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt on the NES. Here’s your shopping list:
1lb of ground beef, 1 can chili beans in sauce, 1 can corn, 1 can diced tomatoes with green peppers, 1 can sliced potatoes, 1 can chili (any brand), 2 packets of spicy chili seasoning, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 1/4 cup of dried onion.
Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until it’s nice and crumbly and cooked throughout–nobody ever made friends via food poisoning. Open all your cans, drain the water out of the potatoes and corn, dump all of them into the slow cooker. Dump in the ground beef, the onion, and the black pepper and stir it all together. Top it with the shredded cheese. Put on the lid, set your slow cooker for low heat, cook it for four hours, give it a good stir around the two hour mark, and…
…you just made a pot of unbelievably awesome chili! Game night will never be the same, thanks to this one simple gaming accessory you can’t buy at any GameStop.