When I was working on Gourmet Game Night and talking with folks about it upon its release, I was a little surprised sometimes at the interpretation of the “game” element. In my head, of course, it was firmly framed around a gathering of friends playing dominoes or poker and wanting to eat well, but eat without the mess of sloppy finger food (slices of greasy pizza and orange-dusted Cheetos) and distraction of traditional dinnertime fare (big plates with knives and folks? not on game night!).

But when others heard “game” they often thought either “football” or “venison.”

So I spent a lot of time quickly explaining my book’s focus on game-friendly food. But heck, if you want to make the Beef Yakitori skewers with bison instead, I’m sure it would be delicious. And the truth is, the book could just as well be used to stock up on snacks before settling in front of the TV for a Saturday afternoon of game watching. That’s another occasion when your focus is on something besides sitting at a table, squarely in your chair with a dinner plate in front of you. You want to be able to grab an Herbed Biscuit with Smoked Salmon with one hand and pump your fist in the air with the other when your team makes that field goal.

I’m thrilled that folks are turning to Gourmet Game Night for any and all times when convenient, mess-free eating fills the bill.  With the Super Bowl around the corner , I can echo this post from this time last year (you’ll find a recipe there for my twist on pimento cheese). And last year as well, friend Shauna Ahern took my book for a gluten-free spin for some treats to enjoy while watching the big game.

In the past couple of days I’ve come across a couple blog posts about folks cooking a bunch of recipes from the book without a Scrabble board or deck of cards in site, or even a football game. One translated the finger-food treats into a menu for tea with the gals. And this recent post on Not Martha noted that the large group of friends gathering that evening just socialized over the “game night” spread instead of sitting down to play any games.

It’s all good. It thrills me to know that folks are discovering the versatility of the recipes in the book. In fact, I’m thrilled, too, if the book just serves as any kind of inspiration for getting into the kitchen and perhaps simply adapting what you already love to cook so that it becomes a scaled-down and mess-free version of its original self. The book’s a tool and a resource, and definitely meant to be used in whatever capacity suits you. Whether it’s a game day, game night, or there’s no game in sight.