"This pizza tastes wonderful! What’s on it?"
The art of Cooking is likely the least useful of crafting skills, but does offer a wide range of "decorative" items. The ability to place personalised messages on things such as Cakes adds a special flavor to role-playing situations.
While most food officially grants no benefits other then a small Stamina boost when eaten, Egg Bombs and Enchanted Apples can be of great value in PvP situations. Savage Kin Paint can also be used to prevent morph spells being used on those who apply it (especially helpful when battling Barracoon the Piper).
Chefs will often find that they need an Oven nearby to create their masterpieces, though in some cases a simple Heating Stand will suffice. The serious cook will also install a Flour Mill and Water Trough in his or her home, and perhaps even hire an NPC Barkeep Vendor.
There are a few items available with which to practice your culinary skill. Despite their names and appearances, each is equally suitable for the preparation of any dish.
Obtained from the quest Bad Company
Obtained from the quest A Dish Best Served Cold
Obtained from the Holiday 2006 event.
Obtained from the Holiday 2015 Gift Token
Obtained from possible Loot on killing Fezzik The Ogre Cook
Start with 50 on a new character, or buy from an NPC Baker to around 30.
Barbecued items are easiest for training, since they only require raw meat, and no water. These can be made out of a single piece of meat each, so you can collect more while you're gathering Leather or out Fishing.
Targeting a stack of meat will cook the entire lot in one go and give much faster gains then cooking one slab at a time. You'll require less meat overall if you take the slow method, however. Going from 0 to 100.0 skill will take about 20,000 Cooking attempts, but your mileage may vary.
You can cook whatever you like to get to about 75ish - personally I made lots of dough as it stacks and I'm likely to use it later on. Once you hit about 75 or so, switch to Miso Soups; there are four different kinds and all require 60 skill, water and a single uncooked fish steak to make. Making Miso will take you to GM with probably the least resources (as long as you have a house).
Ideally you want an oven, a water trough, 10 pitchers of water, a trash barrel and a crate full of bags and skillets (or whatever your preferred tool of choice is). Put the pitchers of water in your backpack and a load of fish steaks in a bag (in your pack) and start making Miso. The Miso will appear in the bag with your fish steaks so when your backpack is full just remove the fish steaks from that bag and drop it in the trash barrel. When you run out of water just refill pitchers from the water trough.
Rinse and repeat to 100.
In the past, Cooking used to require a more in-depth knowledge of food ingredients and recipes. There were no usable tools to display a Cooking menu, a player simply used raw food items on heat sources to cook them or on each other to combine ingredients. Additionally, some foods would cook with any heat source, such as a camp fire or heating stand, while many of the baked goods explicitly required an oven.
Many players who did not own houses would cook their goods in town at an NPC bakery or kitchen and then hawk their food at the local bank. Farm fields and fruit orchards would be combed for their harvest as a free way to gather food items. Although uncertain, it was said that being extremely hungry could actually affect skill performance, such as in combat or while crafting, which in turn contributed to a very modest market for cooked foods.
For many years, there are a few food items that would impart stat bonuses such as the Grapes of Wrath or assist in some skills, such as the Egg Bomb, hunger has no effect on skill performance and most food is simply decorative in player homes or used in Roleplaying. Aside from Savage Kin Paint and Parrot Wafers, there was little demand for cooked foods.
With the release of the Adventures on the High Seas booster expansion in 2010, several Magical Fish Pies were introduced sparking a renewed and useful interest in Cooking.