The Real Life Quest to Cook All 74 ‘Stardew Valley’ Recipes

If the pandemic has not yet happened, Ali Z. may not join TikTok.

But with the arrival of the short, dark days of January, he was no longer settled. Nearly a year into quarantine, her hobbies — cooking, baking, and playing video games — felt lonely. In particular, she misses cooking for friends and family. “It’s not so much fun when you do it yourself,” Ali told me in a recent phone call.

In the midst of this reflection, Ali realizes that his favorite video games involve aspects of cooking. His favorite, Stardew Valley, includes 74 recipes and even its own in-game cooking show, The Queen of Sauce. On a whim, Ali explores TikTok to find accounts that mimic the game’s creation menus in real ingredients. To her surprise, nothing happened — so Ali decided to become Queen herself, using the platform to find the community online.

as @thaqueenofsauce, Ali’s first post featured a tried-and-true classic: her family’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies. He spent about a week planning, filming, and editing the iMovie video, gradually tweaking it until it felt complete. The clip shows what can be a hallmark of his style: Quick close-ups explaining the steps of each recipe, overlays of the game’s colorful pixel art, and a relaxed narrative. “Hurt to find your chocolate chip cookies in the trash?” he asked, pairing the audio with his game clip Stardew Valley avatar tossing in the trash (a strategy to get rid of the occasional item). “This recipe will help.”

“Within a day, it got like, 80,000 views,” Ali said. “It was taken, which I didn’t expect.” Since then, Ali’s channel has continued to attract fans, especially from within TikTok’s active comfortable toy. When we first spoke in May, @thaqueenofsauce had almost 30,000 followers. Today, that number has grown to more than 55,000. “The response has been very positive,” he said. “Any time you’re somewhere on the internet, you expect to get negative comments sometimes, or little things that people don’t like. But I barely get it, which I think is a testament to that. on Stardew Valley community itself. ”

The way Ali’s channel attracted viewers resonated Stardew Valleymeteoric rise. First released in February 2016, the game went on sale 500,000 copies during its first two weeks, it rapidly increased to over a million over the next two weeks. It was a surprise hit from first-time video game developer Eric Barone, who spent nearly five years working on all aspects of the game. The result is an immersive, quirky, and sometimes dark world that mimics rural life. from StardewThe release, ongoing, full of content updates — including a multiplayer option and many new unlockable environments — continues to reward even the most advanced players.

Fortunately, Ali’s quick approach to his channel isn’t as daunting as Barone’s daunting 12-hour workday, which prevents him from possible viral harms. During the week after his first video went viral, Ali felt a new sense of pressure. “Once you have a strong group of people following you, it can change the stakes,” he said. But the second video was well received, and so was the third. “Now I’m just enjoying it.”

Ali’s TikTok joins the many legacies of culinary cosplay. Professional cookbook author Chelsea Monroe-Cassel built his career around creating fictional recipes, publishing cookbooks based on Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls, The Lord of the rings, and many other fandoms (even including Stardew Valley). This month, Simon & Schuster will publish best -selling cookbook author Laurel Randolph Unofficial Simpsons Cookbook, with 70 show -inspired recipes. And in some cases, authors have released official versions of what they think are cooked — like author Brian Jacques. The Redwall Cookbook, featuring recipes for delicacies like Shrimp ‘n Hotroot Soup or Great Hall Gooseberry Fool his cast of anthropomorphic otters, rats, and badgers.

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