A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Food Network: Cook or be Cooked is a cooking simulation game that shows players the basic movements of cooking. It gives players a good appreciation of how much work and multi-tasking is required to create a meal, and can be used as a starting point to get kids cooking and helping. Parents also need to know that this is a relatively short game and the 30+ recipes translate into about 12 meals because a dish like bacon and eggs count as two recipes.
What's it about?
FOOD NETWORK: COOK OR BE COOKED is a cooking simulation game where players learn the basics of cooking. Players will move from simple breakfast dishes such as Over Easy Fried Eggs and Skillet Bacon to a full dinner meal such as Turkey Meatballs in a Marinara Sauce and Penne Pasta by selecting ingredients and playing mini-games simulating cooking motions. There are several game modes including Solo cooking, Hot Potato (where you pass the Wii remote & nunchuck to the next player, allowind up to 4 to play), and Cook-off (where two players compete for the most points).
Is it any good?
For the total beginner, Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked takes the player on a tour of the kitchen, from gathering ingredients to multi-tasking to prepare a dish like Pan Seared T-Bone Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and Steamed Asparagus. Some recipes, such as Mashed Potatoes, need prep work to boil the potatoes before they can be mashed. Players must figure out how to cook multiple dishes at once so that they can all be served at the same time. In this simulation game, every action is done in real time. The game does not allow the player to stop a process if they realize they started it too early. It does however, allow speeding up a process -- such as shortening the baking time.
While the game does familiarize the total novice with a kitchen, including where food items are stored, including pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, it does not touch on dangers and safety procedures in the kitchen. It does however, give players a good feel of what it takes to put a meal of a meat and two sides on the table, and the recipes are real Food Network recipes and provided in the manual for players to duplicate in their own kitchens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about gender stereotypes. Why is it that so many women do the family's cooking? Why are so many celebrity chefs men?
Families can also talk about the difference between a simulation game and actual cooking. There are do-overs in a real kitchen and things you can do should you make a mistake in a recipe. Parents can also use the game as a starting point in teaching their kids to cook.