BotW: the basics of food and cooking

ready-to-cookThere are probably more misconceptions and misunderstandings about food and cooking than any other aspect of Breath of the Wild. This article sets out to clarify a few basic concepts and principles, so you can make the best use of the resources you’re gathered. Understanding these key ideas will help you avoid wasting those precious goodies!

Using food

Food items you have gathered are stored in the Materials section of the inventory and can be used in 3 main ways:

  1. As a raw ingredient – in general, this way provides the least benefit. eg a single raw apple restores half a heart.
  2. Cooking on an open fire or on hot ground – this provides a greater benefit than a raw ingredient. eg an apple cooked on an open fire becomes a baked apple and restores three-quarters of a heart.
  3. Cooking in a cooking pot – this normally provides the greatest benefit. eg an apple cooked in a pot becomes simmered fruit and restores one whole heart.

Items which are cooked (either method 2 or 3) are moved into the Food section of the inventory. Only method 3 allows you to combine different ingredients into a meal, and a maximum of five ingredients can be cooked together.

Cooking ingredients in a cooking pot is usually the best way to use ingredients. But first you need to consider how you’re going to use the food…

Purposes of food

Cooking can be a fun in-game activity in itself, or to complete a quest by following a set recipe to meet an NPC’s request. Apart from those, food items (cooked or uncooked) can be used for 2 main purposes:

  • To eat – ie to restore Link’s health or prepare him for his adventures
  • To sell – ie to generate rupees

Cooking meals which try to do both can be wasteful and ineffective. Personally, I like to mentally divide the Food section into two imaginary sub-sections: meals I’m going to eat and meals I’m going to sell. Here’s why there is a difference:

The eating benefit is calculated simply by adding up the benefits of the ingredients. For example, five apples cooked together as simmered fruit restore five hearts, one for each of the apples.

The selling benefit is calculated differently: the rupee values of each raw ingredient are added, then multiplied by a factor which varies according to the number of ingredients, then rounded up to the nearest multiple of 10. While this doesn’t make any difference to a low value item such as apples, it can make a huge difference with more valuable ingredients. You don’t need to know the exact calculation, but you do need to remember the golden rule:

For food you plan to sell, always cook five items together.

Cooking fewer than 5 items into a meal means you will miss out on rupees when you sell. On the other hand, for food you plan to eat, it’s more economical to include fewer items if this will meet your needs at the time.

In subsequent posts I’ll look at more detailed examples of cooking for each of these two purposes and how you can maximise the benefits of the ingredients you have gathered.