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Every now and again on World of WarCrafts, we like to include recipes that are real-life versions of some of Azeroth's tastiest dishes. These recipes were originally a column called Well Fed Buff that was incorporated into World of WarCrafts because let's face it -- taking an in-game item and creating it out of the game is a pretty crafty thing to do! Well, today we've got a chef after our own heart -- Niki Casselberry, aka Edenvale from the guild DunderMifflin of Anvilmar (US-A), chef extraordinaire and author of The Gamer's Fridge, a blog dedicated to recreating tasty dishes.
But it's not just WoW that The Gamer's Fridge covers. No game is safe, as recipes from Lord of the Rings and Final Fantasy have also worked themselves into the mix. Sometimes sweet desserts, sometimes a hearty meal like the one pictured above, each food creation includes a recipe so those at home can recreate the recipes for themselves. An avid gamer, Niki was kind enough to agree to sit down and chat about her blog, WoW, and of course, delicious food!
World of WarCrafts: Hi Niki, and thanks for chatting with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Niki: I'm married to my guild leader. (I like men with power. Heehee!) We've been married for over 10 years. I was a baker/cake decorator in a grocery store, which is where I picked up knowledge and skills to go with my passion. Now I bake for friends, parties, fundraisers and weddings and I do demonstrations on cake decorating or baking for organizations.
I have been an avid gamer since I played L.O.R.D (Legend of the Red Dragon); it was a door game for BBS's. Does that count as an MMO? Maybe just an MO. You could only make a certain amount of moves in a 24-hour time frame. I can remember waiting for it to hit midnight so I could play again!
My guild is DunderMifflin on the Anvilmar server. I love every aspect of this game. You will see me in battlegrounds, world events, raids old and current, dungeons, leveling alts and hugging small woodland creatures for achievements.
How did you get into WoW?
I played Warcraft II long ago. In October 2006, my husband says, "I heard about this online game and downloaded the 10-day trial. I think you will like it. It's called World of Warcraft." "What, Warcraft! I haven't played that game in years." So I made a character and two days into it I said, "We have to get this game." A few months later, my poor spouse, forgetting what I looked like, got a second account so we could play together. You will see us together all the time leveling alts, raiding, dungeons, world events and battlegrounds.
My first toon was a night elf rogue, and I remember doing the pick pocketing quest in Teldrassil when I fell off the tree branch. That is a three-screamer of a fall! I had time to stop screaming, look around, take a breath and start screaming again. Then I was in wisp form going around and around that damn tree trying to figure out how to get back, until I stumbled upon this crazy pink glowing tree! When I appeared in Darnassus I was washed in relief. Why does the crazy pink tree portal look different than any other portal?
So we have to ask: What inspired you to do a blog about ... well, in-game food?
Cooking and baking has always been something that I did, a hobby when I was bored or felt creative. I don't know why I never combined the two before. Blogging about Warcraft and baking -- it's my two favorite things! It's like artwork to me. I can't sing or draw or paint or dance, but I can bake!
How do you come up with your recipes?
I browse the list of foods in WoW and select what I want to make next by inspiration. Then I search the internet for similar recipes and add and omit ingredients to get it the way I want it. A lot of my recipes are combinations of several recipes, or I use one recipe as a base to my creation.
Do you have taste testers? What do they think of the fact that you're making food taken from a video game?
I do! I already have a reputation for good baking, so if I hand a family member something they generally just eat it with trust. Once I explain the video games ties (or at least try to), I do get that blank stare that gamers are accustomed to when we try to explain MMOs. I am handing them a Conjured Mana Cake, but I do believe I had them at "cake." My husband is my main taste tester and loves that it's WoW food he's eating for dinner. He is my favorite fan.
Do you have a favorite style of food to work with?
Cookies! I love making cookies. Cookies are special to me; my mom and I would make them all the time while I was growing up. After I had gotten married and moved away, making cookies was a reason to get together. It was our thing that we did together, and since she passed away, I really miss that. When I bake cookies, I feel closer to her, and for a few moments she's not really gone.
What's your favorite recipe so far?
Bellara's Nutterbar was delicious. I have made them several times since that post went up. The Kaldorei Spider Kabobs were yummy, too. I have so much fun doing this blog that even if it comes out badly, I'm still happy. I'll post the botched attempt and list it as this is what happens when you cook it too long, don't cook it enough, answer the phone or log in to WoW and forget completely that you had something in the oven!
Are there any recipes in WoW that you've put your foot down and won't try?
I would try anything. I am intimidated to try Dirge's Kickin' Chimaera Chops because it is the only epic recipe in game and the real-life recipe should be epic, too. I am forever on the hunt to find the perfect recipe for it. I do have a recipe I won't ever try again: Cookie's Ramlette. Please, learn from my mistakes and don't do it. It went to gross and beyond.
Any advice for aspiring chefs out there?
Relax and breathe. I don't buy cloth potholders anymore because I keep catching them on fire. No one does anything perfect. You are going to make a lot of mistakes, but half of them will be edible mistakes and that, my friend, is a win! Email me if you are having trouble or comment on my blog. I will see it and love to help you through it.
Do you do any other Warcraft-related crafts?
I made a YouTube WoW video named Call You Out -- it's a parody of the Paul Simon's song Call Me Al. It is about chat trolls in battlegrounds like Alterac Valley. I've also written a few Warcraft-inspired articles for the website My Five Best.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I'd like to give a shout-out to my guildmates. They have been supportive and inspiring to me with this blog. They have become great friends as well as teammates.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Niki!
If you'd like to see more of Chef Casselberry's Warcraft goodies, check out The Gamer's Fridge for a host of delicious video game-inspired recipes. World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including arts and crafts, fan art, WoW-themed recipes, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.