I love the cooking mechanic. Food is excellently useful, situational, and now that only one chem can be active at once, a great way to get multiple buffs. It immerses you in the world and makes you feel like a survivor, using whatever is at hand to get by or find advantage.
That said, there are a few flaws: Recipes that are so complicated that you will almost never have the ingredients before something else you need rots away, ingredients that don't drop properly, ingredients that cannot be grown as crops that should be, items that aren't even classed as food being needed that are counted as junk, and items so rare as to be nearly impossible to find, to name just a few issues.
Here is just a small sample.
Blackberry honey crisp. Have you ever made this? I'm betting 99.9% of you all haven't. And it's a real shame, because it offers 20% food, 90 health and 300 AP restore, and an additional continuous 5 AP Regen. Good stuff, right?
Well, it would be, if it wasn't nearly impossible to craft. It takes 3 blackberries, 2 razor grain, 2 purified water, 1 wood, and 3 Royal Jelly.
^That Jelly is where the problem starts. You can find it on Honey Beasts as a rare drop. I had to kill 21 honey beasts to obtain the 3 Royal Jelly this recipe calls for. Then on returning home and scrapping my junk, I noticed all 3 jars were missing. That's when I figured out the royal jelly you get from Honey Beasts is considered a Junk item…
To add further insult to injury, after tracking down 3 MORE jars of royal jelly, I couldn't craft the recipe. After a bit of head-scratching and research I found out there are actually 2 kinds of royal jelly in the game: One dropped by Honey Beasts that is the unusable Junk item, and another that is a food item found only one place in the entire game world: A basket by a small grave behind the Eastern-most cabin at Middle Mountain Cabins. It spawns only once per day, which means it is impossible to craft a Blackberry Honey Crisp but once every 3 DAYS you collect one.
Not silly enough yet? Finding your first royal jelly food item, (which you probably never will unless specifically trying to craft this food item and then looking up why you can't on the internet) unlocks the "Royal Jelly Taffy" recipe. No in-game notification or anything, it just shows up in your cooking list next time you go to craft food after picking it up. So not knowing about this single ultra-rare item gates you out of an entire TWO recipes, not just the Honey Crisp.
And even if they fixed it so that Honey Beasts drop the right version of jelly, having to kill around 20 of the damn things just to get 3 to craft 1 Honey Crisp is not going to be worth it to anyone. At the very least, the recipe needs tweaked to only need 1 Royal Jelly to be remotely viable.
And finally…a recipe called Honey Crisp that uses NO HONEY….
So I say remove the Royal Jelly from the recipe entirely and have it require 2 honey, fix the Honey Beasts so they drop the proper Royal Jelly, and that can be used for the special Royal Jelly Taffy exclusively or just an emergency food item.
Scorchbeast Mixed-Meat Stew. I am LVL 135, have fought COUNTLESS scorchbeasts, and you know how many times I have made this stew? Twice. And once was today, which was an experiment that helped inspire this post. It requires 5 different Scorchbeast organ drops, pepper, wood, and boiled water. When a single scorchbeast usually only drops one organ, and does so completely randomly, chances are that unless you get very lucky and they drop multiple organs and EXACTLY what you need, you might kill 15-20 of the things before you have all the meats you need for just ONE food item. And it's a damn good food item, one of the best in the game. But you almost NEVER get to make it. And you better hope you have some pepper and boiled water on hand once you manage the rare feat of collecting all 5 scorchbeast organs without specifically going and hunting down a butt-ton of the bats.
How would I fix this? Increase the organ drop rate of scorch beasts to a minimum of 2, max of 3. That way if you kill 2 or 3 you will probably be rewarded by being able to make the stew.
Cranberry Meatball Grinder is another Scorchbeast problem. It needs 3 scorchbeast meat. Again, it might take as much effort as it requires to find enough pieces for the stew just to get 3 specific pieces of scorchbeast meat. If you went through all that effort, why not just make the stew instead? This recipe needs lowered to 1 piece of meat, so if you have extra meat after making the stew and want to make something better than just scorchbeast steak and take the effort to find the rest of the ingredients, it would actually be viable.
Things that require Mirelurk Eggs. Quite a few good recipes require Mirelurk eggs, and although mirelurks are plentiful I don't seem to recall them dropping eggs. You have to go to a very few specific places to harvest them. And unlike Deathclaw eggs, they spoil when you DO find them. This gates you out of several recipes, unless you are specifically trying to make them and know where to get the eggs.
And then there are errors and inconsistencies. For example the recipe for Iguana Soup calls for Squirrel Bits, NO IGUANA. Seasoned Rabbit Skewers require no spices, just wood and rabbit. Doesn't sound seasoned to me…
And none of this is counting beverages, healing items, or chems, which are riddled with their own recipe problems!
Finally, limited crops. Why Silt Beans aren't a plantable crop is beyond me. It's another ingredient that goes bad after you pick it, gating you out of several more recipes if you aren't specifically trying to make them, and you must still do so quickly before the ingredients spoil. I think there are even already Silt Bean planters in the game world/files. Starlight and firecracker berries would make excellent crops, as would brain fungus and some other rare plants used for not just food, but also medicines and drugs. Another big reason people don't bother to make recipes that require a lot of time-sensitive ingredient gathering is that traveling to where they can be found costs money, and since caps are a premium I'm not going to travel across the map to different locations to make one Firecap Soufle' that will go bad 20 minutes later. And even the perk card that helps with this doesn't make it worth your time.
I think most aggravating of all is that if you bother to make these powerful and difficult to obtain food items before the ingredients spoil, you have to use them almost immediately. No stocking up and preparing for a Queen fight. They will go bad before you can make a nuke run and engage her in combat. I really hope Bethesda is planning on adding refrigeration, canning, salting, drying, or freezing items to the game in upcoming content. You would still have to plan when and how to use your food items, because removing them from stable storage and putting them in your inventory would still start the decay timer, but at least you could somewhat reliably use their effects in situations where you might actually need them.
I know brewing and distilling is coming soon as new content, and I really hope that while the devs are fiddling with recipes they might spare a few hours to correct some of these easily fixed cooking flaws. I could go into the game files myself and do something as simple as fixing the type of Royal Jelly that Honey Beasts drop, but this being an online game fucking with the files is a good way to get banned for cheating, so unlike previous Fallout games self-bug-fixing isn't available to me. So I have to ask politely for a bit of attention and polish for one of my favorite and somewhat overlooked game mechanics.
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