If you’re not sure what should grace your table this Thanksgiving, why not get inspiration from video games? There, it doesn’t hurt if your eyes are bigger than your stomach, recipes only take seconds to make, and you don’t have to clean up afterward! Here are video games’ most feast-worthy foods guaranteed to elevate this year’s dinner – and a few of the more dubious digital dishes you should avoid.
Mulberry Seafood Salad – Odin Sphere Leifthrasir
Unfortunately, I’m told you must have some greenery in a “proper meal.” So, what better healthy Thanksgiving feast option than a salad where the veggies are drowned out by appetizing seafood and berries? It’s so good, it’s not even available as a recipe. You unlock the chef’s creative genius it by eating seafood salad three times. This appetizer will bestow a huge experience boost as well as increase your max health.
Coleslaw Salad – Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
There is a lot of great-looking food in the Yakuza series, but not many fit into a traditional Thanksgiving meal. What makes the coleslaw salad a great choice is that its name implies healthiness. I mean, it is a salad, right? A lovely, mayonnaise-slathered salad.
Mutton Stew – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I am a sucker for a good, hearty stew, and it turns out Geralt is, too. One comforting bowl regenerates the highest possible amount of vitality of any food. Can you imagine how crowded your dining-room table would be this Thanksgiving if your soup could heal wounds?
Mushroom Stew – Minecraft
This pixelated treat is all the rage in Minecraft, and – while I don’t deny the healing benefits – producing it is a bit questionable. To craft mushroom stew you need a bowl and a mushroom…and that’s it. What are you doing to this mushroom? Milking it? Has anyone ever seen mushroom milk? You’d think that no one would be interested in the glop you can squeeze from a fungus, but in all fairness, milk only became a common drink after someone decided to consume the liquid that came out of a cow.
Avoid: Trash Can Apples – BioShock Infinite
Really, any produce is questionable if you find it just lying around, but if you have the option to pick it out of the trash can, probably just avoid it altogether. In the game, this particular piece of fruit comes in fresh and rotten varieties, and it is very hard to tell the difference.
Sweet Potato – Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Muramasa: The Demon Blade lets you cook a sweet potato by wrapping a yam in leaves and setting them on fire. A+ for easy prep. On a busy Thanksgiving, any dish that takes such little time and effort and still comes out delicious is a blessing.
Stuffing – Stardew Valley
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of cooking recipes in a farming simulator. Pam won’t divulge her secret stuffing recipe until you have seven or more hearts of friendship with her. If you won’t teach someone to make a dish until you are borderline in love with them, it has to be amazing. In fact, this recipe is two Thanksgiving dishes in one since one of the three ingredients is cranberries.
Bread – Persona 5
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a good roll. Persona 5 has a lot of varieties of bread on offer, including the totally-not-worth-the-effort bread from the school store. Full disclosure, I may have some hard feelings after the salesperson repeatedly gave me attitude because it wasn’t Friday. If you want to pass over the low-hanging fruit, go for the bread chain, which can only be found in dangerous circumstances, like after completing a difficult request or in a treasure chest in a Palace. The effort is totally worth it though, since one bread chain fully heals every member of your party.
Meldacio Meat Pie – Final Fantasy XV
You really can’t go wrong with anything Ignis cooks up in Final Fantasy XV. Every pixel looks positively mouth-watering. The Meldacio Meat Pie boosts magic, attack, and maximum health – it’s also Prompto’s favorite meal. If you really do want to include it in your Thanksgiving meal, you can! There’s a real-life recipe that recreates this scrumptious dish.
Meat-Stuffed Pumpkins – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Last year’s game of the year introduced players to an amazingly fun cooking mechanic that rewards exploration, both in the world and in the kitchen. Autumn’s best gourd, the pumpkin, is grown in Kakariko Village, the not exactly well-hidden home of a ninja clan. Somehow eating the squishiest parts of the gourd confers toughness. If you stuff it full of meat and throw it on the cooking fire, it will transform into a worthy Thanksgiving side dish.
Mashed Potato – Guild Wars 2
One of the most common Thanksgiving sides, mashed potatoes are surprisingly rare in video games. The unprocessed tuber and baked potatoes pop up a fair bit, but a good heaping of proper mashed potatoes? They’re practically nowhere to be seen. Thankfully on this Thanksgiving, Guild Wars 2 can handle all your virtual need for the delightful smashed starch
Avoid: Dog Food – Wolfenstein Series
Wolfenstein serves up one of the most undesirable food offerings in all of video games: dog food. Wolfenstein 3D’s low-resolution bowl of brown mush was reimagined in The New Order as a graphically detailed bowl of crunchy bits. If I have to tell you to avoid consuming puppy chow, your Thanksgiving dinner may already be beyond saving.
Plain Plump Bird – Red Dead Redemption II
Thanksgiving isn’t called turkey day for nothing, and Red Dead Redemption II lets you celebrate the right way. Start your meal like the pilgrims, by shooting or running over a turkey. Once that’s done, all you need to do is rest at a campfire and roast up the main course in your feast. If you want to spice up your meal, there are mint, oregano, and thyme variations in the game.
Kaiser Turkey – Monster Hunter: World
If you’d rather have a squad of cats cook your turkey, head over to the canteen in Monster Hunter: World. The cooking cutscene’s presentation is unrivaled, and the Palico chefs provide only the best of culinary experiences. To relish the exquisite turkey dinner, all you need to do is go out and fight a monstrous enemy. Why let a fight to the death keep you from a delicious meal?
Turkey – Castlevania Series
If it’s the old classics you’re craving, look no further than the turkey in the Castlevania series. You get the sense that someone in the castle is big into munchies, to the point where they have tucked away foods in the walls. Turkey provides a copious amount of health, bested only by steak.
Roasted Ham – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine
Variety is key to a great feast. You may have guests that prefer a good ham over the turkey, and that’s fine. Luckily, the Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine DLC expanded the menu to include the roasted ham. The sun-soaked land of Toussaint takes its feasting seriously, and if it can grace the table of the discerning Duchess Anna Henrietta, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser on your Thanksgiving.
Avoid: Grilled Radroach – Fallout Series
This culinary experience is not ideal for one major reason: You’re eating the flesh of a giant, mutant roach. Just because it won’t radiate you after you’ve grilled it doesn’t make it okay.
Avoid: Trashcan Chicken – Streets of Rage
Just to hammer home my earlier point, don’t eat food that comes out of the trashcan. That’s a major faux-pas for a feast. On top of that, chicken – while also a bird – is not turkey.
Sweet Roll – The Elder Scrolls Series
Keep a close eye on these after you bake them, because these treats have a reputation. You know what I mean. These pastries are so popular, Bethesda made an official video on how to make your own.
Stardrop – Stardew Valley
Here’s the in-game description for this fruit: “A mysterious fruit that empowers those who eat it. The flavor is like a dream… a powerful personal experience, yet difficult to describe to others.” How can you pass that up?
Chocolate Cake – Portal
Erroneously, you’ll hear people say that this tantalizing chocolate cake, smothered in rich chocolate icing and topped with fresh cherries, is beyond your grasp. Don’t believe them – GLaDOS wouldn’t lead you astray.
Butterscotch-Cinnamon Pie – Undertale
In testament to this pie’s deliciousness, it soothes a child who finds himself in an underground realm populated with monsters. And what’s not to love? It’s butterscotch, it’s cinnamon, and it’s pie – everything delicious, all wrapped up in one dessert.
Sweet Potato Souffle – Don’t Starve
Souffles are not easy to make. They are delicate, they are touchy, and they take concentration. Despite that, Don’t Starve – a game about surviving in the wilderness – has a souffle. What could possibly make it worthwhile to make this fancy French dessert under those circumstances besides it being just unbelievably enjoyable?
Avoid: Baker Family Special – Resident Evil 7: Banned Footage Vol. 2
The Jack’s birthday DLC game mode has you running all over to satiate the titular birthday boy’s appetite. Most of the offerings are fit for a party. However, the Baker family special – despite its fancy name – is created by combining garbage and sugar. No amount of desperation absolves serving that to your guests.
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19 Video Game Foods Fit For Your Thanksgiving Dinner (And 5 That Are Definitely Not)