Food is something that you should give careful consideration to, but something that I haven’t seen talked about much for LARP in general. Specific advice of great value has also not been frequently offered up where Last Hope has been specifically involved. In accordance I have decided that I am going to speak about it at great length.
At the time I’m writing this I’ve been LARPing around 8 months. I’ve been to a variety of events, including multi-day affairs. I think I’ve finally gathered enough data to know what works best, at least for Last Hope.
Things You Shouldn’t Make Assumptions About
- Don’t assume you will have access to fire when you’re hungry. And when you do have access to fire, don’t assume the fire will be cooking-ready or there will be enough fuel for you to make it that way.
- Don’t assume that you will have time to cook. Seriously. Monster Autonomy is awesome, but it can wreak havoc on you sitting down to a hot meal.
* This is doubly true at Onsallas, where there are generally not monster-free periods.
* At Apocalypse Paintball you’re more likely to have time to cook during the periods when we don’t have full access to the site, but in those cases see #1 due to the much more restricted fire access that exists.
- Don’t assume you’ll want to cook. There was a three day in which I brought bread, soup, canned meat for sandwiches and some jerky and dried fruit. I even had butter with for my bread. I ate bread and the dried fruit and the jerky. I didn’t even touch the butter. I’ve seen the same time and time again in others, too.
- Don’t assume you’ll want to leave the In Character (IC) areas to fetch your food. Have a pack and make sure all containers and eating tools are IC along with you. You will not regret this effort when you can just grab a bit of food while chatting with the other characters.
Things You Should Definitely Bring
- Bread. This will be your go to. If you pop over to a bakery and get something tasty on its own you’ll thank yourself. Yes, I know it’s more expensive. If it bothers you that much take up baking. (Someday, I might make a list of “Best Larp Bread Recipes, but I haven’t done enough research yet).
- Nuts. (Assuming they won’t kill you.) A quick, easy pop of protein and salt, both things you’ll need with the exercise and adventure LARP brings. They don’t require cooking and if you buy a nice mix they’ll have a variety of flavors that’ll please your pallet and not get boring quickly.
- Water. Bring a minimum of a gallon a day. More if you have the space. Better to have too much than too little, and water keeps well, so as long as there isn’t 6 months between games you attend it’ll keep. Seriously. Don’t count on Mischelle. Sure, she frequently has enough for everyone, but stop making her haul all the damned water. We’re grownups. We can haul our own water.
Things You Might Consider Bringing
- Peanut butter (or some other nut butter). Preferably, you’ll mix it with honey for the extra sugar and self-stability and then put it in a jar that can be IC, so you don’t have to sneak off to put some on your bread.
- Jelly, Jam, or Preserves. A pop of sugar when you’re feeling wrung out is the best thing while drinking some clear, cool water and recovering after an exciting battle. It’s quick, easy and no effort. Even for a 3 day event a some Jelly or Jam tucked into a little jar will keep well. If you want to bring more than a little jar, tuck a cooler in your tent and make sure you break it into multiple small jars. (This trick works for the peanut butter, too, and just about anything else with potential shelf stability issues.)
- Butter. Can’t stand dry bread? This is your solution. I don’t mind dry bread personally, assuming it’s good bread. But I know people who demand butter. If you’re one of these people, it’s worth carrying a jar of it with. If you’re really ambitious you could even mix it with some herbs.
- Jerky (or other preserved meats). Protein is important during events like this. Jerky is a nice, shelf-stable way to get that. It looks awesome and in character and stands up really well to being stuffed in your belt pouch and carried around all day. Keep in mind, that with dried food, your body will need to rehydrate it, so drink more water.
- Dried Fruits. Sugar is also awesome. And the bright flavors make a nice change from the easy to pack and shelf-stable stuff that’s readily available. Just remember that there are a lot of sugars in them, you wouldn’t sit down and eat ten apricots, but it’s easy to do with them dried. Also, see the rehydration tip in the jerky listing.
- Gatorade Powder (or other sports drink mix). Sometimes, you need electrolytes. Best put it in a jar or bottle so you don’t have to sneak off to mix it. The less you remove yourself from the game the happier you’ll be and the less you’ll miss.
With all of that said, I’m sure that I still have more to learn about the best things to bring. But I’ll continue to experiment. I’ve even brought hummus to one three day (Protip: Freeze it all beforehand and only bring the day’s hummus ration out of the cooler). Life is an adventure, and there’s always more to learn. If I find some amazingly perfect food (I’m going to start experimenting with quick breads and sweet breads) I’ll share the recipe. And remember, your character should always be an important part of what you carry. If you’re a hunter who’s been out in the woods for months you probably won’t have much more than a few handfuls of berries and some dried meat actually on you.
Go LARP, people. Even though it’s October and cold.