I was recently given a DS Lite for my birthday which was a fantastic gift! Not only do I get to have all sorts of tetris, animal crossings, and Mario fun with my friends around the world, but I also have a new way of cooking. (One that is a lot cheaper and a lot less likely to make one gain weight than the regular kind!). There are two great cooking programs on my DS: Cake Mania and Cooking Mama.
Cake Mania is basically a lot like purple place, if anyone has played that. The story is a young girl out of culinary school trying to make enough money to get her grandparents bakery up and running ( a worthy goal I think, I always appreciate the back-stories behind these little games!). In order to make the money you have to make cakes of different shapes, frost them with various colors and then add on different sprinkles and toppers. As time goes on you make double and even triple layer cakes. Along the way you need to please critics, brides, busy businessmen, and even vampires! It's a lot of fun, that bears something of a relation to real cooking in so far as time management and doing 20 things at once in a clear systematic order without forgetting anything. I have had a lot of fun with it!
Cooking Mama for me s a little less fun in the sense there is no clear aim/ and no back-story. However the game itself is much more varied. You are given a variety of recipes to follow and go through slicing grating, mixing, flipping, fanning and all sorts of other things with your stylus. You might even have to blow on the sauces, or the coals of the BBQ. At the end of each recipe you get a little medal based on how well you completed the recipe (bronze silver or gold). Success will also allow you to open up new recipes.
One aspect I found a little difficult s that most of the recipes are Chinese/ Japanese in origin (styles of cuisine I don't tend to cook with very often.) In some ways this was kind of fun- to learn new aspects of cooking in a roundabout way, unfamiliar ingredients and cooking methods. However it would have been fun to electronically cook some of the things I am more familiar with- Indian, Italian, Greek, American etc.
Both games have been incredibly fun- I hear they now have Cooking Mama for the Wii- it sounds really fun- maybe someone will invite me to play sometime!