For those unfamiliar: BoTW main (really only if you don't count upgrading) crafting system is grabbing upwards to 5 ingredients and tossing them into a cookpot. This process creates consumables such as elixers, curries, pies, steaks, salads, exc. There are multiple recipes to create the same item and with no 'recipe book' it creates this experimentation and free-form environment. Much like real world cooking where you may just throw together whatever you have on hand.
If curious about the breadth of foods available you can go here and click "Well Known Recipes".
Why it feels redundant to me
Firstly: Since BoTW isn't a survival game, you're solely cooking consumables for their immediate effect and few consumables have an effect that's unique to just them. One could cook some dish that takes 5 different ingredients from different corners of the map that heals a fair amount… or one could just cook meat and mushroom skewers that heal the same because meat and mushrooms are everywhere and are simple to remember.
There are some special items (such as Goron spice) that can affect your recipe but it won't spell it out for you, you'd have to experiment to figure it out and just try to guess what effect it had.
Secondly: Some foods have special effects effects such as bonus stamina or speed but I find this to actually be a hamper because the effects overwrite and can't be combined. That's to say if you use an item with a buff for healing, it overwrites whatever your current buff is which can suck if it's 15~30 minute max level buff. Or if its an item with extra health/stamina, if you already have bonus health and stamina the game will just ignore that effect and treats it like normal food.
If you try to combine items with different effects to form some super food, the game often either ignores all but one effect or the game just cancels all of the effects anyway; wasting your items. So again you're just encouraged to use simple elixirs and regular food over experimenting for more complicated dishes.
Why it feels out of place
Cooking food isn't actually out of place since the whole game is you being weary traveler and field rations make sense. What feels out of place to me is the complexity/experimentation in it compared to how much it's utilized or encouraged. The developers really didn't have to go through the trouble of making this free form system, it might've actually been a lot better for balance and gameplay to use a list of recipes and crafting interface like other games. It wouldn't feel nearly as immersive, but there'd be much tighter control on input and output so every recipe might have a use.
The system feels like it'd be much more at home in say, a survival game, where you can't always guarantee you can get your hands on a certain items and cookable items might not be around every corner. Or in the other direction it might feel a LOT better in a Life-sim type of game. You could give each dish distinct flavor values which could be given to NPCs for their friendship. Or maybe your character has a "Palette" meter and using a variety of different flavors might give you a super bonus as opposed to using the same items.
Source: Original link
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