With the new cooking system in place, it can be tricky to raise your HFC skill easily. While my skill is still low (HFC 33.5 as of this post), I have found a relatively painless way to raise the skill that I would like to share to benefit everyone.
This method involves using food items repeatedly to gain maximum skill gain with minimum resources. The first step is to understand your basic needs. These are an oven, frying pans (up to 100 fit in an oven so it is your choice how many you use), a knife for chopping and dicing foods, a source of meat (fishing works very well for this for non hunters as catfish yields many filets with large catches) and vegetables.
To maximize your skill gain, you should use sleep bonus (SB) when cooking. To make the most of your SB, use as many frying pans as your sanity allows you to use.
The first step is to prep all your food items. Get an equal number of meat and vegetables to match your frying pans, so if you made 20 frying pans, get out 20 pieces of meat and 20 vegetables of any type (backpacks make this part easier). Dice all the meat or chop them if they are fish filets, then chop all the veggies. Next put one meat into each of the frying pans. Light your oven and add fuel. Wait until your frying pans turn hot to turn on your SB. Now watch the contents of the frying pans. Once a piece of meat turns to fried meat, remove it and put it into a backpack and put a chopped veggie into the frying pan. Once that veggie turns into a fried veggie, add one of the previously fried meats to the frying pan. When this cooks it will turn into a meal. Once all the meals are cooked, you can turn off your SB. You can eat the meals, feed them to pigs or sell them to your token for some extra coins. Your choice there.
What does this method do for your skills? First dicing meat or chopping fish filets gives you butchering skill. Chopping veggies increases your base cooking skill. With a higher cooking skill, your chopped veggies will eventually be a slightly higher QL than the raw vegetable was. Next, frying the individual items first before making your meals gives your the best skill gain for your SB, time and resources. The hard reality is that most of your skill gain for HFC will be from frying the meats and veggies and not actually making meals until your HFC skills gets closer to 50.
Once you start making QL 30+ meals, those meals will fill your food bar much quicker than low QL food items. With QL 31 meals, I usually eat less than 1 kg of meals to fill my food bar from about 50% full.
Another item to note with cooking is the item you eat has different affects on your bars. Breakfasts made with 10+ items will fill your CCFP bars faster than your food bar, so you will eat a lot more breakfast to fill up. Meals on the other hand will fill your food bar faster than your CCFP bars. What I usually do is create a breakfast or two along with 10-12 small meals. I eat the breakfast for a second or two to fill my CCFP bars, then eat meals to fill my food bars. If you guys didn't know this already, always dice your meats, chop your fish filets, chop your veggies and herbs and grind your spices. This step greatly impacts the effectiveness of your foods.
I hope this helps some of you guys to level up you HFC skill easier. If you have questions, please post them here or chat with me in game.
- Dougan Ironfist