15/07/2023 at 13:23 #188500
I was putting off beginning to cook for the family the other day when the idea of wargames and food popped into my head. I confess it was not without prompting. I had turned to Yarkshire Gamer’s podcast to distract me from preparing a vegetable soup and a broccoli and stilton soup, when the guest, Peter Berry of Baccus fame, turned to catering at the Joy of Six. He said it had the best food of any wargame show and he may well be right. He added that when asked by the catering team what to prepare, he said ‘pig products’. He and Ken laughed about how bacon, sandwiches, sausages and burgers were all that were needed and that wargamers had no truck with that vegetarian stuff.
I’m not a vegetarian despite the vegetabley nature of the food I was preparing. I have a fridge full of meat and meat products but I do eat a lot of vegetarian meals as well, because they are nice.
Leaving aside things like most burgers are beef, and sandwiches come in myriad fillings, Pete is probably right; bacon and sausages are ubiquitous at shows and you could serve an exclusively pig based cuisine and make a profit at most wargames shows.
But are wargamers eating fast food at shows because that’s what they want? Or do wargamers eat it because it’s all that is served?
I don’t go to enough shows to make a difference but I’d happily spend a bit more on a veg soup in the depths of winter, a couscous salad in summer or a pulse based spicy dish (daal* or falafel for example) any time of year. Is this concept anathema to wargamers? Are the wargamers attending shows escaping from the terrors of plant based cuisine at home and getting a fix of forbidden fruits, not just in their purchase of savage Mongol hordes but in double cheese burger and extra chips?
What does a pig based cuisine do to those of a Jewish or Islamic background? As an atheist I’m happy to be non-observant of dietary laws at shows, but are we assuming a lot about the wargamers coming through the doors?
I don’t go to wargames shows for the cuisine. At Bristol I sometimes have (don’t tell anyone) a bacon roll and it is gorgeous. But I’d happily have a plate of vegetable pilaf or a couple of cheese and potato pirogi* (I suspect sauerkraut and mushroom filling is a step too far for most gamers) with sour cream dip.
How about a wargames show with a Michelin Star? I’d definitely go to that.
*adjust spelling to taste.15/07/2023 at 13:56 #188501
The problem with the shows I go to is that it’s served out of a van, there’s nowhere to sit, and I’ve only got two hands. Something in a bun I can eat with one hand and still hold my coffee 🙂
But the other thought is that, actually, I can spend time in eating most days, at a wargames show I’m just after a brief refuelling before I get to see stuff I won’t see again for perhaps another year.
https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/15/07/2023 at 14:03 #188503Tony HughesParticipant
I usually take my own food to shows, as much to avoid queueing as anything else. While there have certainly been shows at which I’d happily have eaten what was on offer there have also been those at which I’d have had to go off-site or go hungry.
Sorry to those who consider such a feast of delights, but I find a plate of soggy chips covered in beans with a greasy pie floating in fat culinary suicide.15/07/2023 at 14:31 #188504
I am a dairy/vegetarian so I would be happy with a bit of cheese, pickles, bread and an apple, or a jacket potato. Enjoy your bacon, thank you, but i would really love a Tofu Bahn Mi!
Margate and New Orleans15/07/2023 at 19:39 #188509willzParticipant
When we meet up at Kenilworth at the hotel the food is pretty good with a wide selection of various choices. I have often pondered running wargames and having a good dining experience at the end of a day’s gaming. Good food and fine wine and good after diner wargame chat. If anyone is up for it maybe we could run a get together.15/07/2023 at 19:48 #188510Andrew BeasleyParticipant
It’s one of my big hates – I do enjoy a bacon bun (and its a bit of a tradition to get one when I arrive) but I do not like the lunch offerings. Being squeezed into a greasy old school canteen that feels like everything is fried is a real turn off – I’m loath even to get a drink sometimes (esp Newark – its a bit better than the Lincoln Show ground but not by much).
I remember when they ‘tried’ salad at Kelham Hall – dead limp yuk that no one bought and never came back again.
Yes I would love a choice but most folk seem to take the break as a quick grab and bite rather than anything else – even the talk is normally ‘look at xyz that I have just bought’.
Having been to business trade shows, I know decent food can be found BUT there reaches a point where the cost is not viable – £15-£20 on expenses is way more acceptable than £10-£15 out of my pocket for a wobbly table in a 60s roadside cafe style area. Record so far was a ‘collectors / tv / film bits’ show – £17 for a hot dog and can of lemonade!
YES PLEASE – provide decent food and I will eat BUT I get the feel I’m an odd one out. Heck, I would forgo the bun for decent toast or a nice ham stuffed croissant or pastry!
Sorry a bit ranty 🙂
Edit: Yes veggie options would be nice (not just a chips or a mushroom in a bun)…15/07/2023 at 20:16 #188511
When we meet up at Kenilworth at the hotel the food is pretty good with a wide selection of various choices. I have often pondered running wargames and having a good dining experience at the end of a day’s gaming. Good food and fine wine and good after diner wargame chat. If anyone is up for it maybe we could run a get together.
The problem is that it’s leave the show and back on the road to get home. Phalanx is OK for travelling but a lot of the others can be well over two hours away, nearer three.
If it’s a more ‘conference’ type event, where you’re booked into accommodation, then that is a different kettle of fish and I’d certainly hope for a decent meal and a chat.
I think for that, in the UK, you’re probably going to have to put on more than straight show. The Society of Ancients has a successful conference and doubtless others do as well.
https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/16/07/2023 at 01:13 #188517hammurabi70Participant
Based on the good food I had at JOY OF SIX I can recommend it! It might indeed be the best show-food to be found. However, I prefer to take my own sandwiches, not for reasons of cost or quality but because it allows one to choose when and what you eat during the day as well as avoiding any queueing that might be needed. Being able to pick the time of the meal break gives flexibility to the day. Gourmet eating by wargamers is a novel concept but something I would follow with interest.16/07/2023 at 03:04 #188518OotKustParticipant
Down here in -nz-, its Winter and I haven’t done a convention in two decades.
But either attending or running, food was always a big downer if it wasn’t well organised. Michelin? No. More like Reidrubber… in Auckland local and the few Nationals were ran, we’d get catered in stuff- pizzas/ reliable takeaways; supply own bevvies’ the traditional prizegiving often at cheap local ethnic restaurant.
I’m with Guy- food revolves around the infamous Mediterranean cuisine; enlarged these days by local migrants serving Lebanese, Syrian, Somalian (yes!) among the old trads…
So fresh humus, falafels, Manish and others frequent servings personally…
cheers d16/07/2023 at 12:06 #18852216/07/2023 at 13:17 #188523
Last time I had them was in the Soviet Union so not necessarily top of the range 🙂
But frankly a decent bacon butty, by which I mean good bacon and real bread, has the edge
https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/16/07/2023 at 16:47 #188525
As a vegetarian with medical problems that mean I should eat things like mushrooms (and therefore Quorn), asparagus, beans, cauliflower, lentils and spinach only in moderation I find it easier (and cheaper) to bring things with me. All I need is table space and a chair!
There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data16/07/2023 at 18:36 #188536
My gluten-intolerant vegetarian wife commiserates. Before any groans about food fads re: gluten, Ill warn you that you do not want to play in a game with my wife after she has eaten a slice of pizza unless you are nose-less. She can clear a room quickly, (but will blame it on the hound!)
Margate and New Orleans16/07/2023 at 21:20 #188539PatriceParticipant
Not sure my advice has some interest in this 😉 and I don’t think I ever was in a wargame event in the UK, but years ago I often attended re-enactors markets there and yeees when I was there I appreciated this at nearby foodtrucks:
a plate of soggy chips covered in beans with a greasy pie floating in fat
…which I would never want to eat in France, nor sausages and eggs for breakfast certainly, but when I’m in the UK or Ireland I need all these otherwise I don’t feel I’m really there (call me a RPG-minded guy if you wish). 😉
My gluten-intolerant vegetarian wife commiserates.
I’m not gluten intolerant but I prefer to avoid it, and lactose, I think it gives me psoriasis and hay-fever (when I say this to a doctor or nurse I always add before they could answer anything that yes I know there’s no scientifical proof of this but I’m my own experimental subject).
Um, back to topic (what was the topic then?) I’m happy enough to eat what’s available, especially if I feel it’s an experience of what local people like. 😉
https://www.anargader.net/17/07/2023 at 15:02 #188553
Thanks for the responses.
My take away (sorry!) on this is I think I will have to put my plans for Guy’s Gourmet Quinoa Van on hold for the moment.
Not that there was a rush of ‘Hands off my hydrolyzed protein and hydrogenated fat products’ posts as I had suspected might happen, but the direction of travel on where Show catering might go is pretty Balkanised.
I would echo Jim Webster’s thought that ‘good’ bacon on ‘real bread’ is hard to beat (leaving aside dietary prohibitions for the moment) but where are the ‘good bacon/real bread’ shows? Bristol serves bacon that is not covered in brine cream and surrounded by uncooked slimy translucent fat. It’s the only show I’ve found that passes those tests, but the bread could be better. A dry cure well cooked crisp rasher on granary wholemeal would be my gold standard.
I thought Chris was just taking the **** at first, but I now see there really is upmarket wargame catering assuming you know where to find it. Although I confess to finding caviar one of those things that you eat because you are supposed to rather than because it is an exquisite taste sensation.
Talking of exquisite taste sensations – how about a haloumi and salad pitta with jalapenos and mint yoghurt dressing for a one handed snack? I suppose it might drip on the new set of rules though.17/07/2023 at 16:31 #188556
Personally, I think mint yoghurt is the work of the devil and something as spicy as a jalapeno is dicing with digestive distress a little too closely for comfort at a public event. A halloumi, avocado and salad pitta with Hellman’s Vegan Mayo though ….
There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data17/07/2023 at 16:50 #188557Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Y’all need to come on down to a US gaming convention some time, you’ll be spoiled!
I just got back from “TwistedLords Con” in Oklahoma City, a 3-day event. We ran the big pirate game on Friday night and Saturday night, and there were a lot of games and tournaments. The convention hall had a small booth for food and drinks (mostly nachos, pulled pork bbq sandwiches, soda and beer) and the attached hotel (which was niiiiiiiice) had a pretty good bar and kitchen. There was also 4 restaurants within a 2 or 3 minute walk so you had a wide variety of options, and this is pretty standard for any multi-day convention. Sometimes they’ll have a food truck or 2 pop by at noon, but generally there are a lot of options as there also tends to be games that run very late (our own game didn’t start till 8pm and went until midnight) so people need to be able to have dinner, and snack bars usually close at 5 or 6pm.
Personally, I’d really like to have some “healthy” options at gaming shows. I’ve had enough burgers and whatnot over my life that my arteries appreciate the occasional break, plus my daughter is now vegan so the chance of her attending a show where she can’t forage like the rest of the people is pretty low.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."17/07/2023 at 18:50 #188561
A three day event gives you time to contemplate food properly. In our case we might arrive at a convention at 10am and will expect to be on the road about 3pm. There’s only one show within an hour and a half, for the others it’s longer, when we used to go to Triples, it was three hours.
But yes, I’m afraid I’m in the queue for the food van which doesn’t serve anything with jalapeno 🙂
https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/17/07/2023 at 19:33 #188563
Jalapeno and yoghurt optional (sheesh!).
Think of it more as a Winnebago Forza than a burger van, but the ideal is catering inside the venue, at a table that doesn’t require the show programme under one of the legs.17/07/2023 at 19:38 #188564
Jalapeno and yoghurt optional (sheesh!). Think of it more as a Winnebago Forza than a burger van, but the ideal is catering inside the venue, at a table that doesn’t require the show programme under one of the legs.
You’ll be wanting a chair next 🙂
Seriously I suspect it depends whether the venue actually has catering facilities in ‘normal’ times.
Phalanx which is the one I’m most familiar with doesn’t seem to have any. So you’re stuck with the catering that has been hired in and whatever chairs you can find. There were some chairs and tables outside and the weather was OK, but there were nowhere near enough
https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/17/07/2023 at 20:08 #188565
I take it silver service is out of the question?17/07/2023 at 20:11 #188566
I take it silver service is out of the question?
I think it was also the sommelier’s day off 🙁
https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/17/07/2023 at 22:44 #188567kyoteblueParticipant
Twistedlords con was great but the food was not. Sorry, Darby but I lost that burger on the way home.
Otherwise, the Pyrate game was epic in looks and participation.18/07/2023 at 07:04 #188568Steve JohnsonParticipant
I always take sandwiches, snacks and drink with me so that I can eat when and where I want. It is also much cheaper, which is a big issue for those of us on limited means (carers allowance). This big issue I’ve found whether bringing your own stuff or eating on site is finding somewhere to sit. Colours is excellent as you have to racecourse terrace to sit on (as long as it’s dry) which provides a welcome breath of fresh air. Partizan was bad as most people I could see tried to find any spare seats outside (or took them from indoors). It’s a topic that’s cropped up on various Blogs as as we get older, we do need a physical break now and then, alongside a refuelling stop.18/07/2023 at 07:56 #188569OotKustParticipant
Personally, I think mint yoghurt is the work of the devil and something as spicy as a jalapeno is dicing with digestive distress
Yeah never mind the stomach, I appreciate my taste buds and use them frequently. So no jalapeno or anything close. Spice is nice; heat isn’t required. I’ve ‘retrained’ a native Hindu to like less as well- she never knew natural foods tasted so good! (Includes dimunition of salt, curries, chillis etc…).
And why do I like my “appreciate my taste buds and use them frequently”? Because our annual or 6 monthly ‘Lads Weekends of Gaming’ includes finest cuts of meat, vegies and assorted local and a few imported cheeses and wotnots, with aged fine wines (some near 20 years old etc.) and down to perhaps 6-10 yo most often.
Breakfasts tres traditionelle- bacons, eggs and hash browns; fine grain breads and oftem a choice of salamis etc! All terribly civilised Cyril!
cheers-d18/07/2023 at 08:02 #188570MartinRParticipant
For one day shows I take a packed lunch. Just easier and less of a faff, although I might buy a cup of tea.
For proper conferences where I’m staying over, they usually have decent conference style catering.
"Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke18/07/2023 at 08:17 #188571
Yeah never mind the stomach, I appreciate my taste buds and use them frequently. So no jalapeno or anything close. Spice is nice; heat isn’t required.
Oh, I like a bit of fire in my diet from time to time but preferably in the comfort of my own home with facilities close at hand, just in case.
Thanks to my various ailments I’m off meat entirely, minimal amounts of cheese ( at least by my standards!), no pulses, mushrooms, etc but lots of fruit and veg. Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of oomph to a meal. Moderation in all things though, right enough, one doesn’t want to taste nothing else of the meal because one’s tongue and nose are seared.
I have to say I associate jalapenos with pizza rather than anything else.
As to show food, come Claymore in a few weeks I intend to raid the large store adjacent to the venue for lunch. With luck the weather might be good enough to let me sit outside and eat it.
There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data18/07/2023 at 10:30 #188573
I would in fact probably go with the milder pickled Lombardi pepper usually served with kebabs etc in the eastern Med, on the pitta I was referring to. Sweeter and not as hot as a Jalapeno. You can get them here, ‘Bodrum’ is a good brand. I was probably letting my enthusiasm run away with me earlier.
I once cooked what I considered a pretty hot curry as a buffet option at a work do at my house and warned guests if they were selecting it. One of them looked at me, raised an eyebrow, and took a huge mouthful. She laughed her head off. Her mum was from Jamaica and she rated it around a mild breakfast dish. Spiciness is often relative.
I used to think about taking my own food to shows, particularly on cost grounds. Childhood memories of eating soggy cheese and tomato sandwiches and dry hard boiled eggs at a variety of British seaside promenades, Welsh castles and rain sodden English Country House gardens restrained me however. Comparing the horror of the catering became part of the wargames show experience. I kept expecting things to get better, and that was before D:Ream. Thirty years after them and I’m still waiting.18/07/2023 at 15:52 #188601Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Spiciness is often relative
Ya, y’all wouldn’t survive in Texas. As some people put avocado on everything, so goes jalapeños (if not stronger peppers) in this region. The condiments on just about every restaurant table will be ketchup, mustard, chalula, BBQ sauce and some sort of salsa. It gets a little crowded…
Now, I don’t mind spicy, but I do mind spicy that obliterates flavor. I won’t do Ghost or Scorpion peppers because they don’t really add any flavor, all they do is give you a scorch and blot out any hope of tasting whatever else if was accompanying them into your mouth. No bueno. I’d rather have a mild but flavorful salsa than the macho fuego garbage and not care what the next dude thinks of me. Same with curry, don’t care how spicy it is as long as it tastes good. Afterall, eating should be about the food and the flavor and savoring that, not about how macho you can be.
Sorry, Darby but I lost that burger on the way home.
Dang sorry to hear that, Jonathan. All the times we ate at that place the food was excellent, even their omelets were superior!
Ya know, I wouldn’t mind gaming at a “gastro-pub”. It’d be need to be both nerdy and bougie at the same time. Might really twist around the heads of the hipsters.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."18/07/2023 at 18:18 #188605Andrew BeasleyParticipant…Ya know, I wouldn’t mind gaming at a “gastro-pub”. It’d be need to be both nerdy and bougie at the same time. Might really twist around the heads of the hipsters.The Pudsey Recon show had a bar that served THE BEST lamb and mint pies I have every had – more ‘modern pub’ grub but close 🙂 I hope with the change of organisation [Wakefield Group] they may make a come back.Pelham had a bar that cut the show in two – not great trying to get by without getting wet from expensive beer.Vapnartak and Partizan had bars but I never made either when they where open (given I do not drink that’s not much of a loss) – the crowds where alway way too big for an overpriced coke.19/07/2023 at 09:39 #188613Peter BerryParticipant
The full story behind the anecdote about the catering at JOS is that in previous years the catering team had put on a fully laden salad bar. I can personally vouch for the quality and quantity of choice available at said salad bar as I used it myself. However, I was one of only three salad munchers on the day, so the catering manager asked if they could stop wasting time and food on something that wargamers patently ignored.
So, ‘Pig-based products’, it was, and they were deservedly very popular, although Vegan/Veggie options were available. The wargaming public had spoken!19/07/2023 at 11:47 #188621Phil DutréParticipant
One also has to take a look at the logistics of providing food from the organizer’s pov.
If you organize an event at a location that has its own catering services or food stalls, then all is fine. Although there might be a cost to the organizer for the location to open its food stalls. After all, it might depend on the number of visitors expected and projected sales, since location management has to provide staff.
Even better if the location is in a city centre and there are plenty of options in the immediate neighbourhoud. Nothing to worry about. Just tell the punters to go outside and buy something.
However, if you organize something at a location, and as an organizer, you have to provide catering yourself, then it can become a hassle. Either you provide something yourself (usually sandwiches or bread rolls or whatever the local custom is … limited choice is a given) and this requires a lot of volunteers, both in prep and on the day itself. Or you rent the services of mobile food trucks, but probably the budget isn’t high enough to provide for many different type of trucks. Hence, the only viable choice is often the lowest common denominator, resulting in hamburgers and simple offerings.
Having organized hobby events myself, providing food and drink as an organizer is the biggest challenge. Everything else is a rather minor logistic problem. Esp with the ever-increasing demands of the public w.r.t. food preferences and allergies.
As a Belgian, I’m more concerned about the beers that are offered on tap, though.19/07/2023 at 13:38 #188623
Beer at my local con is verboten, much to my chagrin. A government building, so dry. I envy your beer!
Our organization is pretty weak on the food, basically, offering only crisps, candy and on occasion, boiled hotdogs (which I cannot eat), despite the building having a full catering kitchen which probably costs them to use if they operate the stoves. They did hire a food truck which offered no vegetarian fare this year but the local eateries are still fairly close. I found good pho and bahn mi less than 5 minutes away, and brought my own beer (IPA) to drink outside with a bahn mi I brought back. IPA drank slightly warm is quite evocative when playing miniatures, all you need next is a pith helmet (mississippi sun is fairly tropical!)
Margate and New Orleans
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