PDA

View Full Version : What Do I Feed My Players?



Drenn
2010-12-05, 06:46 PM
I'm a DM for a D&D group with a player group of 9 - 11 people depending on whether or not everyone can show up at a session. Because of the large group size, our sessions tend to run between 8 and 12 hours long, usually late into the night. I enjoy cooking as well as DMing, and I like to feed my players when I can afford to (seeing as I'm a near-broke college student), but I'm running into problems of what to feed them.

Everyone likes a bowl of candy or sugary snacks, but I run into the problem of the sugar high crashing after a while, and having some slightly grumpy or unfocused players for the next hour or so. I tried feeding them spaghetti, which everyone liked, but then ran into the problem of everyone wanting to fall asleep about a half an hour later. Chips and things work okay short-term, but people get hungry pretty quickly afterward.

So, any thoughts on a (cheap) way to feed my players that won't have them crashing midway through the game?

Chrono22
2010-12-05, 06:50 PM
Make it a pitch-in. If people want to eat, they need to bring something. It doesn't have to be elaborate- either some snacks they can share, or sandwiches, or a salad.
Chances are, if the person that is bringing food likes that food, others in the group will too.

Jallorn
2010-12-05, 06:52 PM
Have everyone pitch in for pizza.

Artemis97
2010-12-05, 06:53 PM
Pasta is usually fairly cheap and can be made in large quantities. Soups, stews, and chillis could be an option too. Usually you only need a few ingredients, and if you happen to have a slow-cooker, you can leave it cooking while you play. Those generally take only a few ingredients, you can make a lot of it, and if there are left overs, they freeze pretty well too.

Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head. Hope they help.

dsmiles
2010-12-05, 06:53 PM
Other players? :smalltongue:

Seriously, I have a small group, and we usually just order pizza.

Toliudar
2010-12-05, 06:54 PM
A big pot of soup or stew can be great - hearty, giving long-term energy, and can be dipped into as desired throughout the session. Combine with bread or buns for starchy long-term fun. Plus, can be made hours or days in advance, so you're not stuck multi-tasking. Everybody pitches in a few bucks for the raw materials.

By the way, you are fantastic for even thinking about this problem!

AslanCross
2010-12-05, 06:55 PM
I agree on having them pitch in. That's what we do. Sometimes I treat them (well, my grandmother does) to homemade spaghetti, but most of the time we just pitch in to order pizza or burgers. I think the idea is to keep them fed but not to bloat them, which tends to make them feel sleepy, especially after lunch. (Our games run from around 11 am to 4:30 pm)

Attilargh
2010-12-05, 06:59 PM
In general, you don't want to make the players a straight-up meal, because that'll lead to them wanting to take a nap soon afterwards. Instead, a continuous stream of sandwiches or wraps should be alright. Just prepare a few platters, store them in the fridge and bring them out as needed. Some sort of salad is also a possibility. For the snacks, try fruit, veggies or maybe jerky or meatballs, possibly with some kind of salsa dip.

And now I'm really hungry. Thanks a bunch.

Hazkali
2010-12-05, 06:59 PM
In general, I second Chrono22's suggestion. Feeding 11 people regularly will quickly become expensive, and whilst it may go against traditional etiquette, I think you're within your rights to ask them to pitch in 'in kind'.

Another problem might be the size of your group. If it works for you, then all's good, but 10-12 participants is an awful lot, and 8-12 hours is a long time for someone to concentrate on anything. I would really suggest splitting the group into two, and running two four-hour sessions.

However, I appreciate that doesn't answer your question! Ideally you want something simple and scalable- chilli or stir-fry might be a good idea, as both can be bulked-out with rice if needs be, and are simple, all-in-one-pan affairs.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-12-05, 07:01 PM
Pizza is the traditional venue for gaming at my table. Then again, Little Ceaser's has cheap pizzas (like 6 bucks for a Large, either cheese or pepperoni, and instantly ready).

One of the guys I know who GM's have 'GM Points'. You gain a GM point if you bring food for the group, or several other things you do outside actual gaming to help the group.

GM Points can be used for the following:

* XP equal to 10% of what is necessary to go from your current level to your next level

* If your character is killed, you may spend a point to make it 'merely a flesh wound', with the character stabilized at -9

* Used in advance to declare the result of a single die roll

* Used after a roll to gain a re-roll, taking the more favorable result

* Used to gain approval for material on the 'maybe list' (the GM triaged splatbook material into 'no problem', 'maybe', and 'hell no')

* With pre-approval of the GM, may be used for Divine Intervention of some sort within the campaign.

* May be redeemed for a magic item whose value shall not exceed 1/8th of the WBL of your current level. Will require an additional point if this item is also on the 'maybe list'.

However, for it to count as a GM point, it has to feed the group, not just you.

Tvtyrant
2010-12-05, 07:02 PM
I go with pasta; usually like five boxes of the angelhair boxed stuff and some frozen breadsticks. Then I cook it in intermission and we eat during the later part of the game.

Dada
2010-12-05, 07:03 PM
I tried feeding them spaghetti, which everyone liked, but then ran into the problem of everyone wanting to fall asleep about a half an hour later.

I find thats a general problem whenever people eat a 'real' meal. If you eat until you're full, then tiredness will follow.

A pitch-in is a good idea. Apart from that, sandwiches usually work quite well to keep the hunger away for an hour or two, and they don't have to interrupt the game. Don't make them fancy, something simple will do just fine. Be sure to use wholegrain bread or something like that. Plain white toast won't sate the hunger for long. Also, serve only one or two sandwiches to each player at a time, to avoid tiredness. They will also last longer that way.

For dinner or lunch, some soups are easy and cheap to make in large potions, if you have a suitable sauce pot. You can leave it simmering for extended periods of time (e.g. while playing) and it is lighter compared to other meals, thus causing less drowsiness. Be sure to serve bread too, though.

Escheton
2010-12-05, 07:03 PM
Fondue? Everyone brings a big honk of cheese and a loaf of bread.

Some bring assorted fruits, then let the rogue play around with a knife, making salade. Blend the remains for energyrich drinks.

Trailmix and jerky works well, as do wine/waterskins. Also helps getting char a bit as that is mostly what trailrations are.

Random snacks work well, ya know, fingerfoods. But more cheeseplates and meatplates and assorted toast then chips and dips help in the longrun.

Food is good but having fruitdrinks and light alcoholic drinks such as mead on top of the soda's and powerdrinks help a lot too.


Having everyone chip in is crucial though.

Drenn
2010-12-05, 07:04 PM
In general, you don't want to make the players a straight-up meal, because that'll lead to them wanting to take a nap soon afterwards. Instead, a continuous stream of sandwiches or wraps should be alright. Just prepare a few platters, store them in the fridge and bring them out as needed. Some sort of salad is also a possibility. For the snacks, try fruit, veggies or maybe jerky or meatballs, possibly with some kind of salsa dip.

And now I'm really hungry. Thanks a bunch.

Ah. Good point. I forgot to mention. Several of my players categorically refuse to eat anything involving anything with vegetables or greens of any sort. The tomato sauce on pizza is pushing it some times.

comicshorse
2010-12-05, 07:04 PM
No, no, the right question is : What do I feed my players to ?

Starbuck_II
2010-12-05, 07:05 PM
I'm a DM for a D&D group with a player group of 9 - 11 people depending on whether or not everyone can show up at a session. Because of the large group size, our sessions tend to run between 8 and 12 hours long, usually late into the night. I enjoy cooking as well as DMing, and I like to feed my players when I can afford to (seeing as I'm a near-broke college student), but I'm running into problems of what to feed them.


You feed your players? Wow, I wish I had a DM like that.

Dada
2010-12-05, 07:11 PM
Ah. Good point. I forgot to mention. Several of my players categorically refuse to eat anything involving anything with vegetables or greens of any sort. The tomato sauce on pizza is pushing it some times.

Then you might be out of luck. Meat is expensive compared to other foods, and tend to be both very filling and the kind of food people will eat not just until they are full, but until they are bloated.

My best advice would be not making a regular meal, but just keep a steady stream of different snacks coming as needed, like the sandwiches and wraps mentioned above. Also, bacon is delicious when crispy (but probably not cheap).

Drenn
2010-12-05, 07:13 PM
In general, I second Chrono22's suggestion. Feeding 11 people regularly will quickly become expensive, and whilst it may go against traditional etiquette, I think you're within your rights to ask them to pitch in 'in kind'.

Another problem might be the size of your group. If it works for you, then all's good, but 10-12 participants is an awful lot, and 8-12 hours is a long time for someone to concentrate on anything. I would really suggest splitting the group into two, and running two four-hour sessions.

However, I appreciate that doesn't answer your question! Ideally you want something simple and scalable- chilli or stir-fry might be a good idea, as both can be bulked-out with rice if needs be, and are simple, all-in-one-pan affairs.

I've asked people to pitch in, in the past, but typically, it hasn't ever really panned out. I have one player that consistently brings sodas for everyone, which I really appreciate, but that's the extent of it.

Yeah, 10 to 12 is a ridiculous size, but we actually make it work, more or less. I have a co-DM to help me out, especially when the party decides to split up, and the players are fairly well trained by now to keep combat situations moving at a good clip. I've thought about splitting it into two groups before, but my problem is that the game has become a central enough part of the social circle, that everyone wants to be in the same session to see each other, as much as to play. They're also the ones that request the 12 hours games; I'm usually done at 6 hours.

Zergrusheddie
2010-12-05, 07:16 PM
No, no, the right question is : What do I feed my players to ?

The answer is the DM, of course.

I'll give another + on Mr. Pizza. Everyone throws in 3-5 bucks and you can have pizzas delivered. With a group that large, I don't think anyone would blame you if you said "I not only have to run a campaign, but I also have to feed you jerks?!" If some people don't like pizza, they could always throw in some more cash to pay for a sub if you order from a place that offers such a thing.

Attilargh
2010-12-05, 07:16 PM
I forgot to mention. Several of my players categorically refuse to eat anything involving anything with vegetables or greens of any sort.
In that case, you could try making the sandwiches out of meatbread (http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Meatbread).

In preparation for the inevitable cardiac arrest, ensure the paramedics can enter without hindrance before the game. In fact, try asking some to play with you, so you don't have to waste time calling the ambulance.

Drenn
2010-12-05, 07:18 PM
No, no, the right question is : What do I feed my players to ?

LOL. :smallcool: I suppose I could solve the problem by killing off the characters one by one (in epic manners, of course) and slowly whittling the party down that way.

Seerow
2010-12-05, 07:19 PM
Honestly if out of 12 players, only one bothers to bring anything at all regularly, I'd tell them to go **** themselves.

It's not too much to ask for everyone to chip in 5 bucks each to order some pizza or grab some snacks. If they can't do that much, let them go hungry.

Better yet, start getting snacks but only let those who contribute have any. Give them a weeks heads up to be ready to contribute some, and if they don't then they're SOL.


They'll either deal with it, start contributing, or leave your group.

All 3 of those scenarios I'd call a win when you're dealing with a group that big.



As an aside, I'd recommend a cracker/pepporoni/cheese tray as something to munch on that's generally pretty cheap, and not something that will cause people to overstuff themselves on.

Drenn
2010-12-05, 07:20 PM
In that case, you could try making the sandwiches out of meatbread (http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Meatbread).

In preparation for the inevitable cardiac arrest, ensure the paramedics can enter without hindrance before the game. In fact, try asking some to play with you, so you don't have to waste time calling the ambulance.

*jaw drops* I've never heard of such a thing, but it sounds AWESOME. Yeah, they would definitely eat that if I could find the time to cook it. Hmmmm......

Safety Sword
2010-12-05, 07:21 PM
In that case, you could try making the sandwiches out of meatbread (http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Meatbread).

In preparation for the inevitable cardiac arrest, ensure the paramedics can enter without hindrance before the game. In fact, try asking some to play with you, so you don't have to waste time calling the ambulance.

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

I'm currently writing stats for an animated meatbread with a death attack...

Drenn
2010-12-05, 07:32 PM
What has been seen cannot be unseen.

I'm currently writing stats for an animated meatbread with a death attack...

=). Food can actually be incorporated into the game itself in some really fun ways. I once ran an adventure where the party was in a house that they suspected had some sort of enchantment at work, and found food on one of the tables. Normally, they would have disregarded the food (and the flavor text about how good it smelled) entirely, but I made a plate of cookies right before the game, and put it out on the table as a prop. Only players whose characters were actually eating the food could have a cookie. It was really fun to watch them wrestle with it on a new level.

bokodasu
2010-12-05, 07:35 PM
Carrots. Um, not to feed them, to get them to contribute. My dm gives out an xp bonus for healthy snacks only, so we usually have a nice mix of fruits, crackers and hummus, veggies and dips, nuts, granola, trail mix, etc.

Drenn
2010-12-05, 07:36 PM
Pizza is the traditional venue for gaming at my table. Then again, Little Ceaser's has cheap pizzas (like 6 bucks for a Large, either cheese or pepperoni, and instantly ready).

One of the guys I know who GM's have 'GM Points'. You gain a GM point if you bring food for the group, or several other things you do outside actual gaming to help the group.

GM Points can be used for the following:

* XP equal to 10% of what is necessary to go from your current level to your next level

* If your character is killed, you may spend a point to make it 'merely a flesh wound', with the character stabilized at -9

* Used in advance to declare the result of a single die roll

* Used after a roll to gain a re-roll, taking the more favorable result

* Used to gain approval for material on the 'maybe list' (the GM triaged splatbook material into 'no problem', 'maybe', and 'hell no')

* With pre-approval of the GM, may be used for Divine Intervention of some sort within the campaign.

* May be redeemed for a magic item whose value shall not exceed 1/8th of the WBL of your current level. Will require an additional point if this item is also on the 'maybe list'.

However, for it to count as a GM point, it has to feed the group, not just you.

Hmmm. Something like this might work. Players will do *anything* for exp.

dsmiles
2010-12-05, 07:38 PM
In that case, you could try making the sandwiches out of meatbread (http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Meatbread).

I am sooooo making this for Christmas.

@bokodasu: mmmmmmm...hummus...:smallbiggrin:

Tengu_temp
2010-12-05, 07:45 PM
They'll either deal with it, start contributing, or leave your group.

All 3 of those scenarios I'd call a win when you're dealing with a group that big.

I don't see how antagonizing some players in what seems to be a perfectly functioning group counts as a win.

valadil
2010-12-05, 07:48 PM
Looks like pasta and chili has been covered. How about sandwiches? I know they're not glamorous, but you can grab a loaf of Wonderbread and some peanut butter for like $5. Okay, that's really underwhelming. How about pulled pork (or chicken)? Just get some pork shoulder (aka, the cheapest cut), toss it in the crock pot for 6 hours with a cup of cider vinegar, and then pull it apart with a fork. Serve on buns with BBQ sauce.

Seerow
2010-12-05, 07:50 PM
I don't see how antagonizing some players in what seems to be a perfectly functioning group counts as a win.

Sorry, but 12 players is far too large for a single group. Losing a few will probably help more than hurt regardless. On top of that, I don't see how people who are selfish enough to refuse to contribute but are upset when they aren't given free food from everyone else leaving the group is going to be a bad thing.

I'd be happy to be rid of someone like that from my group. Sure there are times I can't chip anything in cause I'm broke til next payday or whatever, in those cases I simply don't eat while gaming. Some people have an outrageous sense of entitlement that I just don't understand.

Safety Sword
2010-12-05, 07:52 PM
Carrots. Um, not to feed them, to get them to contribute. My dm gives out an xp bonus for healthy snacks only, so we usually have a nice mix of fruits, crackers and hummus, veggies and dips, nuts, granola, trail mix, etc.

But.. but... but... games nights are one of my only chances to escape the clutches of my healthy eating overlord (read: wife).

onthetown
2010-12-05, 07:58 PM
For the group I'm in, we usually go to the store and pitch in to get what we want.

We're in a very long, in-depth game that whittles down our focus from concentrating too much, so whenever we're in need of a break (mutually decided upon, it's usually every three or four hours depending on the length of the session) we'll all walk to the store and pick and choose ourselves. It's generally agreed that we'll get a small bottle of pop and a candy bar for ourselves, then we all decide on what the player-sharing item will be. It's usually a massive amount of chips. We split the cost or take turns paying.

The breaks let us stretch our legs and get some fresh air (unless it's really cold, in which case we pile into my car), plus it's a great way to socialize and we get to sort of review what's happened so far (or we just act like idiots and get the giggles out of us before we return to the game).

If we don't feel like going out, we split the cost or decide whose turn it is to pay to order in. Pizza and Chinese are favourites.

And sometimes we go to the bakery and get plates upon plates of SUGAR COOKIES!!! We usually only resort to the cookies closer to the end of the session when we need the quick boost, though.

And since games are usually (read: always, but they swear it's only usually) held at my place, I'll sometimes pick up a bunch of chips and granola bars and whatnot beforehand so that we don't have to leave the house and go into the horrible winterscape beyond...

And sometimes we just go to KFC instead of the store and order some pop and a big box of popcorn chicken or fries...

Okay, fine. When we feel a break coming on, we could be eating anything and going anywhere. Hell, sometimes we even go to a popular diner.

However, Chinese take-out is the absolute favourite.

...Wow, that was a long-winded explanation for a short answer. :smallredface:

Dada
2010-12-05, 08:08 PM
...Wow, that was a long-winded explanation for a short answer. :smallredface:

I didn't have the time to write you a short explanation, so I wrote a long one instead? :smallwink:

On topic, using food as an excuse to get a break, do something else, talk things over and digest what has happened so far usually works really well. Once players start losing concentration, this can be a great way to reinvigorate the game.

Roland St. Jude
2010-12-05, 08:16 PM
Ah. Good point. I forgot to mention. Several of my players categorically refuse to eat anything involving anything with vegetables or greens of any sort. The tomato sauce on pizza is pushing it some times.

Top three ideas from the forum's former Iron Chef (self-appointed):

1. Pulled pork sandwiches. Buy a pork shoulder (sometimes called pork butt). Season it up and put it in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours and then serve on slider or potato rolls. (I find it useful to pull the pork out before serving and removing the bone and pull the meat apart. People can self-serve add BBQ sauce of their choice. Easy, meaty, and always a hit.
2. Crock pot roast. Same deal except use beef shoulder and no need for buns. Could add small potatoes and pearl onions (unless that's too veggie for them). Actually, now that I think about it, you could serve that on rolls too. Mmm.
3. Personal flatbreads. Now this requires a lot of prep and can be expensive, but it's also our general party food of choice. Make a few batches of pizza dough and divide into personal pizza size portions. Prep small bowls or ramekins with everything a person could want on a pizza - sauces, meats, veggies, cheese, etc. People can make what they want on their pizza and cook them when they're hungry.

All of these have the benefit of being made well-ahead and something people can have in small portions throughout the the game. And the first two are ridiculously easy.

Escheton
2010-12-05, 08:28 PM
Last post(so far) by Roland, without the usually attached lock. Nice.

true_shinken
2010-12-05, 08:41 PM
I think a combination of pop corn and chocolate cookies works very nice.
We tend to have hot dogs on our games.

Quietus
2010-12-05, 08:50 PM
A big pot of soup or stew can be great - hearty, giving long-term energy, and can be dipped into as desired throughout the session. Combine with bread or buns for starchy long-term fun. Plus, can be made hours or days in advance, so you're not stuck multi-tasking. Everybody pitches in a few bucks for the raw materials.

By the way, you are fantastic for even thinking about this problem!

Best part about this idea : If you own a slow cooker (AND YOU SHOULD!), you can literally leave chili or stew in it, and have everyone keep track of their own bowl. They can grab some whenever they're hungry, with the standing rule of "be reasonable"; Don't eat half the damn food to yourself.

Then have everyone contribute *something*. A bag of chips, a bottle of pop. Among 12 people, you should end up with enough snacks to munch more or less all game, as long as no one goes crazy about it, plus you have the actual food option sitting in the slow-cooker in the kitchen for anyone who wants something more filling.

valadil
2010-12-05, 08:51 PM
2. Crock pot roast. Same deal except use beef shoulder and no need for buns. Could add small potatoes and pearl onions (unless that's too veggie for them). Actually, now that I think about it, you could serve that on rolls too. Mmm.

Do you use a different recipe for a crock pot roast? I tried a pot roast recipe in a crock pot and the results were discouraging.


Ah. Good point. I forgot to mention. Several of my players categorically refuse to eat anything involving anything with vegetables or greens of any sort. The tomato sauce on pizza is pushing it some times.

We've had that problem too. The rule is that the food has to be at least two shifts away from green. So tomato sauce and ketchup are mashed/cooked plain tomatoes, which are a step from unripened green tomato. Sauce and ketchup are therefore okay, but raw tomato isn't. Even chinese food is too ethnic for some of our players.


Best part about this idea : If you own a slow cooker (AND YOU SHOULD!), you can literally leave chili or stew in it, and have everyone keep track of their own bowl. They can grab some whenever they're hungry, with the standing rule of "be reasonable"; Don't eat half the damn food to yourself.



A few cups of rice will help stretch that chili a long way and will hardly cost anything on your part.

CodeRed
2010-12-05, 09:25 PM
We had a standing deal on Wednesday nights with our DM/Game Store Owner 2 summers ago. He owned the store so once his brother showed up at 6 to mind the store until 10pm we would start playing some D&D until midnight in the back/storeroom. For his exceptional DMing plus using up his store space we paid him $10 a week.

However, out of that 10 bucks came a combo plate from the local chinese joint for 5.99 and two sodas. (He sold cokes for fifty cents a pop to supply the gamers who played tabletops/Magic/D&D on most nights.) So in the end he made like $18 bucks past the price of food to help justify his DM'ing until midnight and everyone had a great time.

TL;DR
Dm's like you who figure out a way to help supply/pay for food are awesome. I would also suggest sandwiches. You can get Deli Meat pretty cheap if they slice it in the store and a long french roll at Wal-Mart is like $2. Condiments you probably already keep around so that doesn't really add much of anything either. Keep them small and consistent through the night much like a party sub and your players shouldn't fill up too fast.

Drenn
2010-12-05, 09:30 PM
I'd like to take a moment right now to say thank you everyone so much for all these ideas! You guys are AMAZING. I also never realized that there were so many other cooks intermingled with the ranks of GMs out there.:smallsmile:

sana
2010-12-05, 09:56 PM
I Have the same problem each time our group plays.
adding that pizza for 5 would easily cost over 75Ä without drinks and chips that would add up to way over 100Ä

so as the GM i always cook for my players.
Actually i prepare food they have to heat it themselves.

aside from the obvious chili and pasta sauce.
Anything containing lots of meat is gone be a winner, meatballs in tomato sauce, meatballs on bread, hot dogs and hamburgs.
A lot of those can be easily prepared and the players can heat and finish them whenever they want to eat.

Then again anything Fried is an option. French Fries, Schnitzel,...

I also observed that serving coffee after they have eaten helps them stay awake. in case they do overeat some liquor might help.

Safety Sword
2010-12-05, 10:00 PM
...liquor might help.

ALWAYS. :smallbiggrin:

Quietus
2010-12-05, 10:03 PM
I'd like to take a moment right now to say thank you everyone so much for all these ideas! You guys are AMAZING. I also never realized that there were so many other cooks intermingled with the ranks of GMs out there.:smallsmile:

Shouldn't be all that surprising. Cooking - REAL cooking, not just "Making things that make hunger go away" - is just as much a creative endeavor as gaming. Besides that, we do need to offer SOMETHING to attract the womenz.. and a guy who can cook is a babe magnet, nerd or not. :smallbiggrin:

valadil
2010-12-05, 10:03 PM
I'd like to take a moment right now to say thank you everyone so much for all these ideas! You guys are AMAZING. I also never realized that there were so many other cooks intermingled with the ranks of GMs out there.:smallsmile:

What you have to realize about GMs is that we like a) hosting people and b) building things. These needs can also be satisfied by cooking. Incidentally, most programmers I know also like cooking.

Laharal
2010-12-05, 10:08 PM
If you are aiming for energy efficency food (not fun) in long games I'd say rice or bread... pastas are great if they don't eat too much too fast or put 12 tons of sauce.... Eaten slowly and in a reasonable amount pasta won't be too heavy to digest.. also maybe a 5 min break for fresh air will be enough to re-vitalize some ;)

Roland St. Jude
2010-12-05, 10:19 PM
Do you use a different recipe for a crock pot roast? I tried a pot roast recipe in a crock pot and the results were discouraging.

Pretty much the same. Take a 3-4 pound hunk of meat, add a few cups of liquid, cook until tender. For pork use the shoulder/butt with an apple cider vinegar and water mixture. For beef use the chuck or rump with a beef broth and red wine mixture.

I always keep the pork simple, but I tend to fancy up the pot roast by browning the meat first in a skillet and adding mushrooms and other goodies to the broth.

Most bad pot roast experiences I've heard of have been the result of buying a sub-optimal cut of meat (something really lean), cooking too hot, or with too much/little liquid. You don't want to bake the thing for 8 hours nor do you want to boil it. You want to braise it low and slow.

zmasterofjersey
2010-12-05, 10:31 PM
My family pretty much eats some form of meat out of our crock pot once or twice a week, its incredibly simple. You can make anything ranging from sausage and meatballs, stew, or like many said, a pork shoulder, and all you need is to put the ingredients in, set it to low and wait 6-8 hours on low or if your in a hurry, 3-4 hours on high, and after its cooked, you can click it one notch over to warm and keep it in there for even longer.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-12-05, 10:35 PM
I once smoked a brisket for my party when we gamed on July 4th. Of course, the prep-work on that was much longer (takes me 20 hours, give or take a couple, to properly smoke a brisket), but the results were staggering.

Shredded beef BBQ sandwiches were had by all.

If you want to cheat, do the roast as Roland suggested, with a dash of liquid smoke, and rub some brown sugar with some other spices mixed in on it. Then clamp a lid on it and let it slow cook. Once done, shred beef, mix with sauce of choice, slap between buns, add sides to taste.

Crow
2010-12-05, 10:43 PM
Didn't read the thread, so I hope it wasn't mentioned already, but why don't you guys do a pot-luck?

0tt3r
2010-12-05, 11:08 PM
Another crock pot suggestion:

Get the cheapest beef roast. Throw it in the crockpot with some water and a packet of dry Italian dressing. Let sit for 6ish hours. Voila! Italian beef.

Serve on buns / rolls. Serve with cheese, and, if you can find it, giardiniera.

Another one that has not been suggested is tacos. It might not be the cheapest, but if you have a nice buffet line of meat and toppings, and your players can control themselves, people can step away for a moment, and come back with food.

I happen to live with three of my gaming mates (college roommates). I do all the cooking all the time, because they could not be trusted. (Example meal from roommates A's mind: Meat stuffed with cheese wrapped with bacon served with cheese on top. Sides include chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Actual meal: "Uhh... I forgot to preheat the oven, so it might be a little raw...") We grocery shop with D&D nights and mind, and the others who come in chip in a bit.

Edit: Spelling fixed.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-12-05, 11:47 PM
Another crock pot suggestion:

Get the cheapest beef roast. Throw it in the crockpot with some water and a packet of dry Italian dressing. Let sit for 6ish hours. Voila! Italian beef.

Serve on buns / rolls. Serve with cheese, and, if you can find it, giardiniera.

Another one that has not been suggested is tacos. It might not be the cheapest, but if you have a nice buffet line of meat and toppings, and your players can control themselves, people can step away for a moment, and come back with food.

I happen to live with three of my gaming mates (college roommates). I do all the cooking all the time, because they could not be trusted. (Example meal from roommates A's mind: Meat stuffed with cheese rapped with bacon served with cheese on top. Sides include chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Actual meal: "Uhh... I forgot to preheat the oven, so it might be a little raw...") We grocery shop with D&D nights and mind, and the others who come in chip in a bit.

On the same vein as tacos... an almost universal truth I have found is that somewhere nearby any city larger than 'two cows and a horse', there is a mexican fast food joint that sells really cheap tacos/burritos/etc...

I know Taco Bueno sells these Beef RollUps for like 79 cents each. By themselves? Not too filling. But pick up a couple dozen for under twenty bucks, and it's something the guys can snack on throughout the evening.

A couple of large bags of chips to go with them, maybe some cheap dip for the chips (salsa works), and you can keep your group fed on the cheap.

Safety Sword
2010-12-05, 11:51 PM
Meat stuffed with cheese rapped with bacon served with cheese on top.

Wow... I had to read that 3 times before I realised you meant "wrapped" and that you weren't violating cheese with bacon products.

And on a culinary level. Please never make that... ever.

Newbieshoes
2010-12-05, 11:54 PM
to Mind Flayers

Ryu_Bonkosi
2010-12-06, 01:38 AM
I'd like to take a moment right now to say thank you everyone so much for all these ideas! You guys are AMAZING. I also never realized that there were so many other cooks intermingled with the ranks of GMs out there.:smallsmile:

It's a class skill that gives a circumstance bonus on Cha based checks. Worth it.

I suggest things like fondue, chili, gumbo, pasta, rice and other foods that can feed a lot for a little. Small plates of cheese and cold meats with crackers can help people last through the hours while not getting sleepy. And when the time comes for the meal of the night just make sure that you stirred in some caffeine to try and counteract the sleepy effect. :smalltongue:

Leon
2010-12-06, 01:58 AM
Ah. Good point. I forgot to mention. Several of my players categorically refuse to eat anything involving anything with vegetables or greens of any sort. The tomato sauce on pizza is pushing it some times.

Cater for the bulk of the group, if there are those that wont touch a plant then that's something they will have to overcome on their own.

Find out what the rest of group will happily eat that is fairly cheap and easy to make and then get them to pitch in - maybe make a a small rotation of foods so that your not eating the same dish each time.

Temotei
2010-12-06, 02:05 AM
Make sure all of the players can eat what is proposed. It's really annoying when a whole group gets pizza and one guy has to sit out because he can't eat mozzarella cheese because he throws up for six hours straight an hour after eating it.

:smallyuk:

Vizzerdrix
2010-12-06, 02:32 AM
Apple slices and peanut m&Ms. the m&ms give a quick energy burst, the nuts make you feel full and the apples will kick in about the time the sugar starts to wear off.

A quick cheep meal I like to cook is ramen noodles with corn, and sliced pan fried spam. plain Macaroni is also a good option, with a bit of butter and herbs in it, or cream of chicken soup and tuna mixed in.

Alleine
2010-12-06, 03:36 AM
My group usually just does pizza, but my dad often makes some easy-ish(I do not cook) looking meals for the fam sometimes. Should be easy to just up the portions.

Not sure how cheap ground beef is, but get a package of that, cook it with some herbs and spices, whatever you like. Mix it with a ton of rice and you've got what my dad calls dirty rice. It is absolutely delicious(meaty!) and quite filling. Might have a problem with people stuffing themselves till they get sleepy though.

You might also try making your own bread. Again, I'm not sure how cheap it is, but you make yourself some starter and use it to make bread every once in awhile. Check online for ways to make starter and take care of it. A nice, dense, and freshly baked loaf of bread can knock hunger out pretty easily without knocking the person down too :smallsmile:

The_Admiral
2010-12-06, 03:50 AM
Instant noodles with eggs add whatever you want

DeckOneBell
2010-12-06, 03:57 AM
Don't really have too much to add, and I generally agree with all the "portable" foods like sandwiches, hot dogs, personal pizzas that tend not to be too heavy, while still being quite delicious, and hopefully removed enough from green for your players. Oh! And also not overly processed or greasy if that's a concern for any of your players. The greasy part is for me, sometimes.

Mostly, I wanted to give you mad, mad props for feeding your players. You're an awesome dude.

Pronounceable
2010-12-06, 04:23 AM
Shouldn't this be in homebrew section?*crickets*

Iferus
2010-12-06, 05:43 AM
My favorite:

Soup (boil water, put some broth cubes in for taste and add frozen soup vegetables and meatballs in - two times five minutes of work, ingrediŽnts two euros and plenty of food for ~12 people.

Have a minor encounter, or if you do not have a separate gaming table, do some freeform RP


Serve some easy casserole (if you have a big enough oven) - it's easy to prepare, and tastes delicious.

Have some players do the dishes, grab everyone a drink and do some serious hours of gaming!

At snacktime, serve some cookies. A bit of a shugar rush is good, and if it has flour in it the crash wonít be as hard. Itís better than chips, because thereís never enough chips.

After midnight, you might want to serve something like meatballs, hot dogs or boiled eggs with mayonnaise to keep up energy.




.. I happen to love cooking for my gaming group as well. There's only four others, but I have thirteen flatmates so I know how to cook for medium-large groups :-)

FelixG
2010-12-06, 05:55 AM
.. I happen to love cooking for my gaming group as well. There's only four others, but I have thirteen flatmates so I know how to cook for medium-large groups :-)

The bolded part scares me 0.o

I thought an apartment with 5 other people was cramped :smalleek:

AstralFire
2010-12-06, 05:57 AM
Shouldn't this be in homebrew section?*crickets*

If I had sigspace, I would totally quote that.

Mushroom Ninja
2010-12-06, 06:27 AM
Bread. It's basically the best food ever.

FelixG
2010-12-06, 06:30 AM
Bread. It's basically the best food ever.

This is a good idea.

Maybe put out all the fixins of sandwiches, when a player gets nibbly then can go to the kitchen and make themselves a sammvich!

Kelb_Panthera
2010-12-06, 03:12 PM
For simple sustenance with a dash of good flavor, I like onigiri made with sweet rice. Maybe a Japanese pickle in the center. I really love Japanese food though :smalltongue:

Grogmir
2010-12-06, 03:30 PM
If you're cooking for them? Then I vote for anything you d... well please! :smallamused:

But a voted for 'Stew'. Root veg (cheap) chopped into different sizes, anything extra you've got lying around and then add the cheapest Lamb or Beef you can find. Leave for 3+ hours - serve with bread - yummy filling and not sleep inducing.

As for this - don't do green argument - well suck it up - you kinda need the to live so they better just get used to it!

(Oh and fresh cookies as 'bait' for potential an in game trap - evil and amazing! In fact I expect Tarquin to be doing something similar soon!)

Drenn
2010-12-06, 03:36 PM
(Oh and fresh cookies as 'bait' for potential an in game trap - evil and amazing! In fact I expect Tarquin to be doing something similar soon!)

I love how GMing is one of the few "professions" where being called evil is a compliment.

littlekKID
2010-12-06, 03:37 PM
in my group, we each bring some money and we order a pizza.

claricorp
2010-12-06, 04:01 PM
Use a big fat stew pot and have people bring in stuff, throw in a bunch of diced tomatoes and spices let everyone else handle the rest. Any kind of veg will work, throw in some beef or sausage, potatoes even pickles and i bet it will end up tasting great.

Alternatively pooling up for take out is always appealing.

Hotdog are cheap n tasty, you can grab veggie dogs if you have vegetarians

If you have time and a willing group of friends try making some homemade pizza, getting the flour n tommato sauce is cheap and have friends bring stuff to throw on, similar to the big stew thing just more pizza related, cheese is the most expensive part about this and even cheap cheese is good on pizza.

AtwasAwamps
2010-12-06, 04:07 PM
On the same vein as tacos... an almost universal truth I have found is that somewhere nearby any city larger than 'two cows and a horse', there is a mexican fast food joint that sells really cheap tacos/burritos/etc...


I assume he wants people at the table, not lined up outside his bathroom alternating between clutching their stomachs and their bottoms and screaming "WHY MEXICO WHY?"

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-12-06, 06:20 PM
Bread. It's basically the best food ever.

Make it one better: Liquid Bread... at least your group will be relaxed...

Seerow
2010-12-06, 06:22 PM
Make it one better: Liquid Bread... at least your group will be relaxed...

Significantly more expensive though, even if you get the cheap stuff nobody actually likes.

Ryu_Bonkosi
2010-12-07, 02:52 AM
I love how GMing is one of the few "professions" where being called evil is a compliment.

True conversation between me and someone I was working with.

"...and then if they continue they will all be stuck there, doomed to spend the rest of their existence forever in torment."
"You, you're a monster."
"Why thank you! That's the first complement I have had all day."

Kaww
2010-12-07, 03:34 AM
Pizza is the traditional venue for gaming at my table. Then again, Little Ceaser's has cheap pizzas (like 6 bucks for a Large, either cheese or pepperoni, and instantly ready).

One of the guys I know who GM's have 'GM Points'. You gain a GM point if you bring food for the group, or several other things you do outside actual gaming to help the group.

GM Points can be used for the following:

* XP equal to 10% of what is necessary to go from your current level to your next level

* If your character is killed, you may spend a point to make it 'merely a flesh wound', with the character stabilized at -9

* Used in advance to declare the result of a single die roll

* Used after a roll to gain a re-roll, taking the more favorable result

* Used to gain approval for material on the 'maybe list' (the GM triaged splatbook material into 'no problem', 'maybe', and 'hell no')

* With pre-approval of the GM, may be used for Divine Intervention of some sort within the campaign.

* May be redeemed for a magic item whose value shall not exceed 1/8th of the WBL of your current level. Will require an additional point if this item is also on the 'maybe list'.

However, for it to count as a GM point, it has to feed the group, not just you.

Did this work well?

@OP:

My group brings snacks, I sometimes prepare soup (a mug for everybody) and my special cream - it's flour, butter, sugar, mashed bananas and some spices added to boiled milk, then cooked for 10 minutes(a mug for everybody)...

As a player and DM I prefer eating peanuts, hazelnuts and all other nutty goodness... It has a tendency of feeding you really easy, it's relatively healthy and relatively cheap...

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-12-07, 11:53 PM
Did this work well?

Quite well, in point of fact. It didn't unbalance the game, but made the players a whole lot more willing to do things like bring food for everyone or clean up the place so everyone can use his digs to game in this time around. You know, the out of game stuff that impacts game play.

For example, when the GM's car broke down, a guy was awarded a GM point for providing transportation for the GM and a couple others to carpool with.

Chilingsworth
2010-12-08, 12:19 AM
I'm tempted to say "treat them like mushrooms, leave them in the dark and feed them s**t," but I suppose that wouldn't be very nice. Here's what I suggest, it requires a working oven, a copy of the Joy of Cooking, and a day you can devote to baking:

Find the recipie for crosoints in the Joy of Cooking. Practice making this recipie untill you're confident you've got it down (one modification, cut the dough pieces bigger, you'll get larger and therefore more satifying rolls.) Serve these rolls to your players, and announce that they must give you cash to ever taste them again. That should work to get you the funding to make prettymuch anything you please. It'll take some time, and initial outlay, though. I personally managed to make some croisants on the first try, with next to no baking experience per say. When I shared a few batches with my DnD group, they've been begging me for more ever since. (I don't charge because my group is small enough it's not a huge burden, and I happen to have free time.)