Faux Pho: The Cosy Cure For Your Winter Cold

Grillardin staggers through the door of the kitchen, sweat pours from his brow as he slumps against the wall for support. He cuts a broken figure, heavily lifting his head to allow his cowed, bloodshot eyes to scan the room.

By the state of him, you can tell he is fresh from battle. His outer garb is scuffed and torn, his heavy, coarse breathing betraying his exhaustion. Punch drunk he attempts to move from the door to the counter top but stumbles part way and has to place a hand on the floor for support.

You rush to aid him but he holds up a hand, urging you no closer.

Chef puts a hand on your shoulder.

“There’s nothing we can do for him”.

“Is he injured? I can’t see any blood?” You enquire with concern.

“The fight is still to come, this is no ordinary battle Esculerie. Grillardin will have to fight himself”.

“Himself? I don’t understand”.

Chef speaks aloud and the whole kitchen takes notice.

“The winter solstice has passed, the time of the low sun is upon us. Grillardin is brave and strong, maybe the strongest of us all. But even the strong fall, his fate is with the gods now”.

“Please chef, I don’t understand, what’s wrong with him?”

“Oh Esculerie, you are but young and have only known the summer. Winter has come and Grillardin has been stricken with the curse that has no name. It knows no bounds. It will choke him from within, sap his strength, turn his face to granite and cause his nose to simultaneously be blocked up and to run”.

You consider this for a moment before speaking.

“Wait, he has a cold?”

Almost on cue Grillardin sneezes. He grips his head and lets out an anguished cry like some great wounded beast.

“Strength be with you Grillardin” Says Chef “You will travel to the chamber of solitude, there, your future will be decided”.

A small door to what looks like an unused cupboard is opened and Grillardin staggers in.

You turn to chef, for once you feel confident and sharp.

“I can cure him” you declare.

Chef laughs in your face “Pah! There is no cure, he must stay in the chamber of solitude for many days, he must…”

“There is, I can make a cure for him”.

“Esculerie stop playing games”.

Chef looks at you and realises you at least believe what you’re saying.

“Fine, make your cure, but if you’re wasting my time I will have you scrubbing pans until your hair silvers”.

“And if I cure him?”

“Ha, what do you mean?”

“Well, the wager is set; if I fail, I’ll clean the darkest, murkiest pots we have until springtime. What will you give me if I succeed?”

Chef gives you a wry smile.

“Hmm you’re learning” Chefs considers this for a moment.

“If you cure him, I’ll promote you. You’ll no longer be Esculerie, you’ll take his mantle and become a Grillardin, a custodian of fire”.

Your eyes light up at the prospect.

“Grillardin” You whisper, scarcely believing what’s at stake.

“What makes you so confident you can do this Esculerie?”

Your turn to smile at Chef.

“My uncle was a druid for the Balthazar Company”.

With that you rush off to the cupboard and start to gather your ingredients.

 

I am a huge fan of Vietnamese food (and East Asian food in general) their reputation for the world’s greatest street food is well earned. This, sadly, is not that.

Making real Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a drawn out, ancient process that requires excellent ingredients and patience to create the perfect broth in which to bathe your preferred supplements.

This recipe is a westernised, pared down, cowboy chimera of the original not worthy of the name. Hence it being pronounced phonetically in the title;

Faux Pho

It will, however, kick seven shades of soy sauce out of your cold!

So let’s get all January up in here and make some broth.

 

Most if not all of the ingredients in this dish can be altered to suit your tastes. The broth is the key component, follow that and then deviate to your heart’s content.

Ingredients for Pho

Broth

Chicken stock (Or vegetable) 500ml – Get the highest quality you can afford. If you’ve made this yourself you may shade in an entire square on your progress track

100 ml Soy Sauce

Fish Sauce 1 tbsp

2x ‘thumbs’ Fresh Ginger

3x cloves garlic (at least)

Fresh chilli

 

Supplements

Noodles (rice, egg or vermicelli)

3 vegetables (at least). Pick whichever you want, I personally love;

Mange Tout

Sugar Snap Peas

Mushrooms

Meat or tofu. Or not, live your life, I’m not the boss of you.

Steamed Chicken breast or a sirloin steak work well (one will serve up to 3 people).

 

Garnish

Sesame seeds

Fresh Coriander

Chopped chilli

Chopped spring onion

Sriracha sauce

Cooking the Pho

Chop the ginger and garlic

+1 XP Knife Skills

Combine the broth ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer, cook for at least 10 minutes. Adjust to taste. Needs more salt? Add more soy sauce etc.

+1 XP Pyromancy

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for 4minutes. Strain and put aside

+1 XP Hydromancy

Blanche your veg as required (fry off the mushrooms if you want, or just let them soak up the broth when you put them in raw)

+1 XP Hydromancy

Pour the broth into a bowl, add some noodles, then your chosen veg. Place your protein (chicken, steak or what have you) on the top and garnish to your hearts content.

It’s like three meals in one; you can grab your veg with a fork, pull the noodles out with chopsticks and finish the broth with a spoon.

LORE – It is entirely acceptable to drink the broth from the bowl directly

If your cold is particularly bad, consider using more ginger, garlic and chillies.

Grillardin makes no small amount of noise devouring the broth you have made. Eventually the slurps and grunts subside and your dwarven warrior friend takes a lungful of air in through his nose in a display of immense satisfaction.

“My head… it feels like my own again”.

Chef approaches him, tilts his head up and prises open an eye with a thumb and forefinger, staring at it intently.

“You’re cured?”

“I feel so much better, I can definitely work. And if I feel bad again later, I can just have some more broth, right Esculerie?”

Your smile beams, you’re barely able to contain yourself.

“I don’t believe it” Says Chef.

“I underestimated you Esculerie, I will not make that mistake again. Here, these are yours now”.

Chef hands you a pair of shining, high grade stainless-steel tongs. You snap them together a few times, testing their action. They’re perfect.

“You’re a Grillardin now, a custodian of fire. You’ll need a new nickname. How about ‘Skillet’?”

Grillardin places a hand on your shoulder.

“I like it. Come on Skillet, that meat’s not going to seal itself. You ready for the heat of the grill?”

“Yes chef!” You bark, the feeling of pride swelling in your chest.

All three of you exit the chamber of solitude to woops and cheers from all the kitchen inhabitants. Some of them begin a chant of “One of us, one of us!”

One by one they all greet you with a smile, a hand shake, a congratulatory slap on the shoulder.

“You did good, kid” They say “You deserve this, Skillet”

 

“You’re a real chef now”


Paul Flannery – Pirate Moustache and Brains behind The MMORPG Show

Recipes in the Saucebook:

Jolly Roger Cheesecake

Perfect Puttanesca

Rustic Stew

Black Bean Tofu


 

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Paul Flannery

Creative Director, Actor, Writer, Musician at MMORPG Show
Paul Flannery is an award winning Comedian, Actor, Director, Improviser and Writer best known for Knightmare Live, the critically acclaimed stage adaption of the cult TV show. Paul has previously appeared at The Crystal Maze and his solo hour; The MMORPG Show won ‘Festival Spirit’ at VAULT 2016. You can also see him as Dr Benjamin Wilder Jnr at The Bewilder Box escape room in Brighton. His further work at VAULT in 2017 earned him an Outstanding Contribution award. Whilst spending the last 15 years as an actor, he managed to spend 9 of those working in various kitchens around the country subsidising his income and picking up an array of culinary skills and recipes. Role Play Gourmet is the coming together of several worlds. Born from a love of gaming, cooking and writing.
Paul Flannery
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