So. Many. Things. To. Cook

I love the complexity and the supply chain for cooking, though I’m not that advanced in it yet. How do you manage all the items? Do you try to maintain all the everyday meals and cook the specials on an ad hoc basis? How many cooks do you use? I’m interested in hearing how you micromanage (or automate) your cooking. Any tips you’ve learned in your adventures? Thanks.

Although possible, it is very complicated to maintain all the things

What I usually do is specialize in certain things and try to keep these, and then put some “extras” down the queue.
I don’t know if you are using ACE or not - but assuming you are, you’ll notice there are certain specializations food can have: some food can warm you on cold weather, some food can cool you on hot weather, some food give you energy boosts, etc…
So what I do is find the foods that I can produce more easily (for example, if I have a lot of this ingredient, or lots of beehives, or lots of fish, etc…) and then I focus on finding at least one food for each role that I can produce

I then set up a “Maintain X of…” with not high number (like between 3 to 5) of these. After all of these, I add new maintain orders but with higher numbers, like 15 or so.

What that causes is that they will focus on diversity first (making 3-5 of each food and moving on to the next) instead of getting stuck in long orders of 20 items or so. And then, later, if they ever finish that and have time - they’ll make extras (the 15 orders)

If using ACE or smartcrafter, you’ll automatically craft/maintain the necessary ingredients as well, so just focus on ordering the foods.

Finally, I tend to have more than one cook, yes. I think 2 cooks is an excellent number for any amount of citizens, but I usually promote a 3rd cook if I go beyond 35~ citizens or so, and even a 4th if I reach 50, which sometimes happen if I really like a town and keep playing it.

Edit:
Ah, something I forgot - selling food is a good way to make money if you can specialize in making tons of the same type of food; and you can then use the money to buy food back, but more diverse/complex types of it!
For example, you can sell a lot of roasted fish (super easy to make) and use the money to buy cakes, pies, cheese, etc…

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Great tips, thanks! I’m using ACE, but didn’t realize the cook would automatically craft any necessary ingredients. That certainly helps with the micromanagement.

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Well, you need to have this setting on for them to automatically craft the ingredients:


It can be found under “Settings”, open the ACE tab by clicking it on the bottom

You’ll notice the ingredients being queued along the recipes when you click them :slight_smile:

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Ah, that was turned off for me for some reason. Thanks for pointing it out.

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I usually try to make as many roast sausages as humanly possible, bc its relatively easy, cheap, and sells for a lot. Also I use 2 cooks but i never really go ower 20 hearthlings. As far as automation goes, I just put some supply shelves with the ingredients they need to make them.

This is true and good advice, supply shelves, tables and baskets are essential for every crafter!

Also, the sausage thing is very true. If you’re using ACE they have been quite nerfed in value, so they’re not as good anymore - but if you’re playing vanilla… Oh boy, the sausage is almost an exploit :joy: they can really sell for a lot, especially with the right banner and the crafter’s tier 3 monument ability of making Masterwork items :joy:

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Even with ACE re-balancing the costs, sausages are still cheap to make (particularly as NA), and sell for a better amount than similarly plentiful foods… if you take a town bonus that gives you Master Crafters (or bring along a cook from such a town through re-embarking), you can turn like 21g worth of herbs and jerky into 70g or something like that for master-craft roast sausages; and that’s playing without the Banner of Cunning bonus.

Meals like the Hunter’s Feast (which, again, become easy/plentiful when you have hunting or just have a couple of trappers) can be very lucrative in the late-game; and desserts aren’t half bad either. As you say, you can use the income to buy ingredients; which lets you devote more time to cooking and less to farming… you could probably avoid farmers altogether and just buy raw ingredients by (ab)using multiple market stalls to make sure you get Farmer Jem, fish merchants, beverage traders (for milk) etc. on a regular basis.

Going back to the OP’s question: I love having the option to “craft all the things!!!” but you need a little strategy like Dani describes. I tend to put animal feed, a roast meat dish, a cheap veggie dish, and then roast sausages (in that order) as my highest priorities; low amounts of everything except for sausages (but I put a maintain order of 1-2 for raw sausages, so the chefs can only cook as many sausages as they have available…) to make sure that there’s always basic food covered and animals aren’t going hungry (which can put multiple chains into a grinding halt.) From there, I prioritise based on complexity/value; so e.g. layer cake comes before berry cake and the pies since layer cake is only possible when both fruits are available; but if one is missing then they just drop to the next priorities.

Input bins are absolutely wonderful, and I always try to have plenty of storage for cooked food (only cooked food, and drinks when ACE is present) rather than using output bins – I keep my kitchen right next to the dining room (and if I have any “satellite” dining rooms then they’ll have input bins for cooked food), which is all about trying to cut down the work of hauling and storing cooked food… I want it to come out of the kitchen straight into a container, and then not need to move again until someone takes it to eat.

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