The new “Legend of Zelda” is finally here, and it’s incredible. It’s one of those rare games that moves the whole medium forward.
If you’re playing it, you likely agree. You probably also know that it’s a tremendously difficult game. Simply put: The massive open world of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is tremendously inhospitable.
When the monsters aren’t trying to kill you — and succeeding, often! — the elements remain persistent. “Breath of the Wild” is the kind of game where you could die from exposure.
Thankfully, there’s a simple way to aid in your continued survival: cooking!
Just like the game’s massive open world, there are near-endless options for cooking in “Breath of the Wild.” Some meals imbue Link with bonuses he’ll need to survive. Trying to reach that shrine, but the region is too cold for Link to handle? Cook up spicy peppers to grant Link with “low-level cold resistance”!
But that’s just scratching the surface. There are countless dangers in Hyrule to overcome. So we’re channeling our inner Julia Child: We’ve put together the 10 most important recipes for survival, whether you’re trying to beat a tough boss or trying to survive in a lightning storm.
Before you learn any useful recipes, you need to know how to cook: Find a fire with a cooking pot over it! These are all over the place, but you can find them most readily in towns, or in moblin camps.
Of note: I found this cooking pot over a stack of wood, unlit. But don't despair if you find as much! By selecting a flint from your inventory, then choosing to 'hold' it, and then dropping it under the fire, you can re-start the fire for cooking! After placing the flint, strike it with any metal weapon -- from an axe to a sword and everything in between -- to start a fire.
After finding the cooking pot/fire, you can cook by opening the inventory and selecting 'hold' on up to five ingredients:
Voila! This mix of banana and mushroom sounds gross, but it repairs two hearts. Not a lot of help, but it's something! Even the most unexciting combinations can be helpful in a pinch.
Rather than cooking up questionable concoctions of mushroom and banana, here are 10 tremendously useful recipes to become the best 'Chef of the Wild.'
Whether you have one apple or you have 50, apples (and other basic fruits you find all over Hyrule) are far more useful when cooked. Early on, you're going to find a ton of apples. And with just three hearts, it's tempting to eat them piecemeal, uncooked. They replenish half a heart apiece! When cooked, they double in usefulness. When cooked in bunches, they become even more restorative.
Better yet: You can cook apples without the cooking pot. If you find a lit fire, just dump your apples on top and pick up the 'baked apples' it produces. You'll learn quickly that the cooking system in Hyrule is far more forgiving than real life.
Hyrule is a wildly diverse ecosystem. There are freezing mountain ridges and scorching hot deserts (that dip to freezing temperatures at night). There's an alluvial plain where lightning and rain never stops. It's quite a place!
One of the first missions you're tasked with in 'Breath of the Wild,' before the game's massive open-world is open to you, is reaching a shrine in an area that's simply too cold for Link to go. He starts freezing to death quickly, and it's only solved by constantly restoring lost health or, as luck would have it, by cooking a meal with hot peppers. You can simply simmer one directly in a cooking pot, or you can cook it with other ingredients.
8. Similarly, if you're trying to survive during a thunderstorm, some electricity resistance will help you out. Turn to the combination of volt fruit and meat!
The combination of volt fruit and raw meat turns out an 'Electro Meat Skewer.' Eating it gives you resistance to electricity for a limited time. If you're in a pinch, fighting electric enemies or in a dangerous area full of loose wires, this skewer is the one to turn to. It will also repair some health, naturally.
7. And along the same lines, you're likely to visit some especially hot locations. For this, you'll need heat resistance!
To create the 'chilly salt-grilled prime meat' dish, I cooked together rock salt, raw prime meat, and 'cool safflina' -- a flower found all over Hyrule. Not only does this give Link a bunch of health, but it enables 'low-level heat resistance.' If you're venturing into the Gerudo Desert or to Death Mountain, you'll need to have some of these handy.
6. Much of our recipe list thus far has focused on how to survive the elements. But what about a particularly difficult enemy? For starters, you'll want to increase how powerful you are. And to do that, you'll want to cook 'Mighty Bananas' with other ingredients.
In this instance, I cooked bananas with mushrooms. Sounds gross! Agreed. But it turned out a dish that gives Link four hearts and boosted his attack ability for a limited time. And you'll need that ability boosted as often as possible -- you're just as likely to be killed by a common enemy as you are a boss enemy. Hyrule is a tough place to survive.
5. You're not limited to creating food items in 'Breath of the Wild.' You could just as easily mix together some monster parts and create an elixir that saves your hide.
Perhaps you need to escape somewhere quickly? Or maybe you just want to skip over a long mountain climb more quickly? The Hasty Elixir above, created by combining a Keese wing (the bats) and a hot-footed frog, will help you out. Keese are found everywhere, especially at night -- defeat one (or several) and pick up the wings they leave behind. Hot-footed frogs are harder to find, though you're likely to spot them in lakes and ponds across Hyrule.
4. For every four Spirit Orbs you collect from shrines across Hyrule, you can trade for a new hearth container or a stamina container. Rather than increasing stamina, use stamina-rich foods!
The 'enduring steamed meat' dish seen above was created using raw meat and stamella shrooms -- a mushroom found all over Hyrule, particularly at the base of trees. By combining raw meat, a stamella shroom, and Hyrule Herb (found all over the place), I created this simple dish that massively increases health while also re-filling stamina.
Even better: It increases stamina beyond normal, granting a temporary boost to overall stamina. This is tremendously useful in a ton of different instances. Say you're climbing a mountain and nearly out of stamina, about to fall to your death -- pause the game and snack on this dish! Solved!
3. Sneak around that enemy encampment, even without a sneaky outfit, by increasing your stealth with food.
The concept of eating something that makes you more stealthy is bizarre, no doubt, but it's a useful solution in Hyrule. Even after dozens of hours with 'Breath of the Wild,' I'm still encountering camps of enemies that devastate me. Easier than fighting them, why not sneak around?
By combining silent shrooms -- found all over Hyrule, often at the base of trees -- with meat, I created this skewer that repaired Link's health and temporarily made him harder than ever to detect. No more fight -- I'm sneaking right past those jerks.
Durian is far from a standard fruit here in North America, but in Asia it's far more common. The fruit is prominently heralded in 'Breath of the Wild' -- it makes ridiculously useful meals that extend your maximum health far beyond normal.
In case you hadn't already noticed, the meal I made above -- using five durian and nothing else -- both fully recovers Link's health and grants him an extra 20 hearts. 20! If you can't defeat an enemy with that much health on your side, you need to rethink your combat strategy.
By combining monster parts and actual food ingredients, you're likely to create some disgusting things. These meals are known only as 'dubious food.' They tend to give one or two hearts at the most, but you can get more out of it by using heartier food -- a hearty radish and a blue lizard produced the concoction seen above.
Yes, it's far from the most useful recipe here in terms of overall impact, but it never hurts to have a handful of these around just in case. More often than not, you'll need a few hearts and not a dozen. Most importantly, it was extremely rare that I found myself without ingredients for this dish. And that's crucial.
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