What could have been a pretty run-of-the-mill Saturday turned out to be like a day at the carnival fair for those of us restricted to this urban gulag by the watery deep that surrounds us. Sometimes you don't have time to step off the island, and for just one day, this high-tech haven became the next best thing -- equal parts family-friendly affair, technical titillation, and arena for a blood-thirsty (virtual) cooking competition.
There were no bearded ladies, but several moustachioed moms were among the huddled masses, which eagerly awaited for their children's names to be called up to the cooking stage, like a sprinkle of Iron Chef for the gamer set. Surprisingly, there seemed to be equal gender representation on the floor -- it's 2007 and cooking's not just for the women, anymore!
My awkward stirring, kneading, and sauteeing kept me out of the competition, but while testing out the game all by my lonesome, I noticed that it just takes a little extra practice to think of the Wiimote as the actual utensil you're supposedly using, and a gentle hand to master the movements. Swing too hard, and you're going to splatter your eggs all over the place. I failed at making borscht, but my sushi was pretty solid. By far, the most disturbing bit in the game is the realistic meat textures you have to slice, mince, and grind.
I don't know whether people will actually learn how to make something like paella from this, but all in all, in my opinion, Cooking Mama is definitely the next best installment for your Nintendo. You won't get in trouble for playing with your food and your Wii at the same time!
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