A real-life quest to cook all 74 “Stardew Valley” recipes
If the epidemic It never happened, Ali Z. might not have joined.
But by the time the short, dark days of January arrived, she was worried. Almost a year into quarantine, she felt lonely for her hobbies such as cooking, baking and playing video games. In particular, I missed cooking for friends and family. “It wouldn’t be entirely fun if you were doing it alone,” Ali told me on a recent phone call.
In the midst of this thinking, Ali realized that her favorite video games involve aspects of cooking. her favourite, Stardu ValleyIncludes 74 recipes and even an in-game cooking demo. queen of sauce. On a whim, Ali scoured TikTok for accounts that duplicated the game’s creative menus in real ingredients. To her surprise, nothing happened – so Ali decided to become the queen herself, using the platform to find an online community.
As @thaqueenofsauce, Ali’s first post featured a tried-and-true classic: her family’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies. She spent about a week planning, shooting, and editing the video in iMovie, tweaking it to completion. The clip showed what would become a hallmark of her style: quick close-ups explaining the steps of each recipe, colorful pixel-art overlays of the game, and a relaxed narrative. Are you tired of finding chocolate chip cookies in the trash? she asked, pairing the audio with her game clip Stardu Valley Avatar rattling trash (strategy for accidental item knocking). “This recipe can help.”
“Within a day, the movie got 80,000 views,” says Ali. “It took off, which I wasn’t expecting at all.” Since then, Ali’s channel has continued to attract fans, especially from within TikTok’s lively relaxed gaming space. When we first spoke last May, @thaqueenofsauce had nearly 30,000 followers. Now, that number has swelled to more than 55,000. “The response has been very positive,” she says. “Anytime you’re in an online space, you expect to get negative comments occasionally, or little things that people don’t like. But I’ve gotten almost none, which I think is a testament to the Stardu Valley the community itself.”
The way Ali channel struck a chord with viewers Stardu ValleyMeteoric ascent. The game was first released in February 2016, sold 500,000 copies within its first two weeks, and quickly climbed to over 1 million copies over the next two weeks. It came as a surprise from first-time video game developer Eric Baron, who has spent nearly five years obsessively working on every aspect of the game. The result was an immersive, eerie, and at times dark world that mimics rural life. where stardoThe release and constant, content-rich updates – including a multiplayer option and massive new unlockable environments – continued to reward even the most obsessed gamer.
Fortunately, Ali’s simple approach to her channel is unlike Barron’s strenuous 12-hour workdays, mitigating her from the potential downsides of the virus. During the week since her first video went viral, Ali felt a new sense of pressure. “Once you have a fixed group of people following you, that kind of changes the risk,” she says. But the second video was well received, as did the third. “Now I’m just enjoying it.”
Ali’s TikTok joins a rich legacy of culinary cosplay. Professional cookbook author Chelsea Munro-Casell has built her career around recreating imaginative recipes and publishing cookbooks based on game of ThronesAnd world of cansAnd Sheikh manuscriptsAnd the Lord of the Rings, and many other audiences (including Stardu Valley). This month, Simon & Schuster will be publishing Laurel Randolph’s bestselling cookbook The Unofficial Simpsons Cookbook, featuring 70 recipes inspired by the show. And in some cases, authors release official versions of their imagined kitchen – like author Brian Jacques Redwall Cookbook, which features recipes for delicacies such as Hotpot Shrimp Soup or his Great Hall Gooseberry Fool of anthropomorphic otters, mice and badgers.