In some games, the character doesn't need to eat or else will only eat some food items not needing to be transformed.
This trope is about games where the player can transform food items into other edible items. Basically, Item Crafting but with food.
Game developers can include these minigames for increased realism; however, because of the complexity of such mechanisms, there are often other causes such as wanting to add additional effects for elaborated dishes (such as better HP recovery, various Status Buffs, or dispelling debuffs) or merely additional nutrition.
- One Piece: Unlimited Adventure/Cruise/World Red: Sanji can put together dozens of recipes from ingredients the player forages for, ranging from eggs and herbs to mice and lizards - and of course, tons and tons of different fish species. These meals are mandatory for expanding the player characters' life and mana meters.
- Battle Chef Brigade: You can make plenty of fantastical meals based on which ingredients you pick up and cook using a Match-Three Game. Each recipe can be further combined with sides, and each character has their own unique cooking style and set of dishes. Mina bakes dished bakes on her family's restaurant's Chinese inspired cuisine, Thrash cooks Mexican-inspired orc cuisine, Ziggy makes elevated fast food, etc.
- Divinity: Original Sin: Cooking is a type of Item Crafting in both games, providing food and drinks that heal and sometimes provide stat boosts. It's notable for having multi-step recipes: Instead of flour+water+cheese making cheese bread, flour+water makes dough, dough+cheese makes cheese dough, and cheese dough on a furnace makes cheese bread.
- Final Fantasy XV: Coming off from XIV, this game features a wide array of beautifully rendered foods you can cook and enjoy, including prime ribs, Chinese dumplings, skewers, soup, fried eggs, and chicken with rice. There's even a sidequest which doubles as a massive Product Placement for Nissin Cup Noodles.
- In Monster Hunter, the Player Character can harvest raw meat from herbivores, usually Aptanoths, Apceros', or Kelbis, and cook said meat on a barbecue spit. The meat's quality and effects are affected by how long the player cooks it. For example, cooking for a short time results with rare steak (moderate stamina increase), cooking for a little longer results with well-done steak (maximum stamina recovery and reduced natural stamina decrease), and cooking for too long results with burnt meat (small stamina increase).
- Kingdom Hearts III: Sora becomes an amateur chef after encountering Remy's dining establishment in Twilight Town. Recipes are classified between starters, soups, fish, meats, and desserts, and boost the party's stats based on how well the player plays each dish's respective cooking minigame. There's also a Full Course Bonus for consuming one dish from each dish category for a meal, which provides additional buffs based on how many "Excellent" quality dishes were consumed.
- The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross of Light and Darkness: As part of the daily duties at the Boar's Hat Tavern, the player can control either Meliodas or Ban in cooking a vast variety of dishes out of ingredients found in the world. These dishes can later be served to customers or eaten to provide buffs.
- Nancy Drew: Used in multiple games, such as:
- Danger on Deception Island: Nancy Drew, as the Player Character, makes a sandwich, and there's many possible sandwiches the player can choose to made, adding things such as jellyfish, mayonnaise, baking soda, ice cream, tomatoes, mustard, and peanut butter. If a bad sandwich, a.k.a using the expired mayonnaise, or adding baking soda, is created, The Food Poisoning Incident, which is a Non Standard Game Over, results.
- Danger by Design has a parfait-making minigame, in which the player must pile ice-cream, fruit, cream, and candy into a layered sundae.
- Gourmet Warriors: Like the name said, you can collect various fresh ingredients from enemies during gameplay, such as garlic, mushroom, various kinds of meat and spices, tofu and whatnot, and at the end of each level you can play a mini cooking-game that combines your collected ingredients into a fine dinner. You're then shown eating it before the next level begins.
- Dragon's Crown has a cooking minigame that commences after certain stages where you and your companions prepare and eat dishes in pots and pans with added vegetables and salt. Many of the ingredients used come from enemies you fought in previous stages, allowing for dishes such as Killer Rabbit stew or Red Dragon steak. Being a Vanillaware game, the meals appear so scrumptious that they might make you hungry!
- In Minecraft, the player can turn basic food items into prepared dishes such as cakes, which provide additional effects such as status effects or merely additional nutrition compared to the raw version.
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night allows Miriam to cook various foods from the items she gathers while exploring Gebel's castle. Most of the foods act as healing items, but they also provide a one-time boost to her stats the first time a particular food is consumed.
- Free Realms had a cooking minigame, which in turn tied in to the chef occupation your character could take up. You had to slice, fry and, garnish various items to create tasty dishes.
- In Tower of Fantasy, players can collect ingredients or kill wildlife and cook at various cooking stations around the map, usually in shelters, near ruins, or boss arenas. Recipes are discovered by combining ingredients together and while only one ingredient is needed to unlock them, chances rise up the more ingredients are added, even if it's not part of the recipe. Failing will usually result in creating an awful stew and losing all ingredients used.
- In Cataclysm the plater can prepare several dishes and can learn further dushes with cooking books on French cuisine, Italian cuisine, Japanese cuisine and human flesh dishes.
- Bug Fables: Much like in the series that inspired it, you can cook many different kinds of food to heal yourself with. In a variation, many of the food items available are more to insect tastes than humans', including leaves covered in honey and aphid dew shakes. However, some items are appealing to both phyla, including honey donuts, squash pie, spicy sweet potato fries, and berry jam.
- Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth allows the player to cook food that restores HP and/or TP. To do so, the player needs to learn the recipes from NPCs, gather the ingredients from specific types of gathering points, and then go to one of the dozen or so campfire points hidden throughout the game's labyrinths to make the food out of the ingredients they've gathered.
- The Fallout series includes cooking in the crafting system starting with Fallout: New Vegas. You can harvest various types of meat and plants and combine them into healing and Power-Up Food, as well as removing radiation (and in Fallout 76, disease) from them. In Hardcore mode, you need to stay fed and hydrated to survive.
- In Marenian Tavern Story: Patty and the Hungry God, this is a core mechanic of the game. You run a restaurant and must make dozens of dishes to stock it. It's also Power-Up Food that can give you buffs and give you EXP so you can level up while doing the RPG exploration segments.
- The first three Paper Mario games each have a chef that can cook items to heal more or have different battle effects. Eventually you unlock the ability to cook two items together.
- Pathfinder: Kingmaker and its sequel Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous both allow the Player Party to cook Power-Up Food while camping outside or at the Hub Level. The ingredients can be bought from stores, scavenged on maps, or hunted from monsters and wild animals.
- In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, making Poffins for contests requires playing a mini-game where you stir a hot batter with your stylus, careful not to burn it or spill it. The better you do, and the type of berry you add, changes the flavor and strength of the Poffin.
- At the camps in Pokémon Sword and Shield, you can make curry. Various motion controls and button inputs are used to fan the flame, stir the pot, and "put your heart into" the meal at the end. Following these controls properly will result in a higher-ranking curry, which will increase your Pokémon's stats and sociability more and heal it better. There are over a hundred different flavors of curry to cook based on what Berries and extra ingredients you put into the pot.
- You can make various types of cakes and food items to entice wild Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus with cake bases and plants gathered in various areas.
- Pokémon Scarlet and Violet lets players make sandwiches using a variety of fillings that you can buy from stores or forage in the wild (bread is, conveniently, always on hand). The types of ingredients used, combined with how well they are prepared, not only provide healing to your entire party and boosted stats and sociability for the next thirty minutes in-game, but can provide additional benefits such as increased EXP gains, increased chances of catching Pokémon, and even increased encounter chances with large, small, and Shiny Pokémon. Playing with other trainers in multiplayer allows you to make even bigger sandwiches!
- Trails Series has an extensive cooking mechanic that is your main way of healing outside of a town. Monster parts are the main ingredients, sometimes supplemented by local ingredients from shops. Cooking can be done anywhere from a special menu, and usually creates an item that can be used at any later time, but some recipes have an immediate effect on your party. You have to learn recipes in order to make specific items, which is usually done by just eating the food a restaurant or shop. Each town you visit has special local ingredients, unique monster parts in the surrounding area to harvest, and unique recipes to use them.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons brought cooking into the game in the 2.0 update. Recipes are obtained from balloons, bottles and villagers, much like DIY recipes. You can grow carrots, potatoes, wheat, tomatoes, pumpkins and sugarcane along with your fruit and cook with them, as well fruit from trees, turnips, young spring bamboo, and certain fish. Some were pleased the often annoying sea bass was one. Cooked meals can be eaten for energy like fruit and will give several points at once, or used for display. Fortunately they don’t spoil.
- In Overcooked!, this is the point of the game. You must chop ingredients, assemble dishes, and cook them quickly within a time limit.
- In Potion Permit, you can cook various meals in the kitchen, which recover your HP and/or stamina.
- In Roots Of Pacha, you can cook various recipes in the kitchen, provided that you have both the ingredients and the utensils needed to make the dishes. Some recipes are unlocked as rewards from certain events.
- The Sims: Food affects various game mechanics such as hunger and fitness. There are enough different foods to be classified as cooked meals, instant meals, snacks, raw ingredients, and so on, as well as by the actual meal they can be prepared for.
- The Sims Medieval: Sims have the option of cooking in a cauldron, oven, or spit, all of which produce different recipes (a lot of them) that have effects on a Sim's mood. Cooking Gruel or Roast Rat is convenient since it doesn't require you to have ingredients in inventory, but you'll receive a minor Focus loss from it, while a more complicated or expensive meal gives you a positive. (There's no Cooking skill; whether your meal is Bland, Yummy, or Marvelous depends only on what it consists of.)
- Spiritfarer: By cooking ingredients in the ship's kitchen, you can make a whole host of dishes to feed the spirits on your ship, categorized by meal size and type (plain, healthy, acquired taste, dessert, etc.). Feeding spirits regularly is not strictly necessary, though they will pester you if they're hungry, and keeping them well-fed keeps their mood up. All spirits also have specific likes and dislikes in terms of food, which is not limited to meal type—Bruce and Mickey will refuse to eat anything with shellfish (since Mickey is allergic to it), as well as dishes with only one ingredient (they consider them too simple). Every spirit also has a favorite food, which they can occasionally request.
- Stardew Valley allows you to cook various dishes once the kitchen is unlocked. At first, you can only make fried eggs, but you can obtain more recipes from befriending certain townsfolk, purchasing the recipes, or watching The Queen of Sauce. They can either be consumed or gifted to townspeople (though there are a few that do not like to receive them). 100% Completion requires every recipe to be cooked at least once.
- Teddy Together: You can prepare meals in a minigame and feed them to the living Teddy Bear.
- Littlest Pet Shop: Biggest Adventure: The Doggie Diner allows players to mix together ingredients to make a meal for their pets. Pets will only eat food intended for whatever animal they are; they'll turn their noses up at any other kind of food, and not following recipes produces slop that pets will refuse to touch.
- Lorwolf: One of the professions lets you cook foods you find while adventuring, hunting, or fishing to get better food items that restore more stamina to your wolves and profession XP, which allows unlocking more recipes and lowers the chance of burning the food.
- Don't Starve: As the name of the game suggests, food is an important element here. Stranded in the wilderness, you can forage for, cook, and eat various foods, and if you're able to craft a crock pot, you can prepare dozens of different food items that restore different amounts of your hunger meter as well as other stats. Foods made from fish, such as fish sticks and sushi, tend to restore your hit points, while primarily meat-based dishes like stew and meatballs usually fill up your stomach more, and sweet foods like taffy and cookies help to restore your sanity. And this doesn't include the limited-time special event in the multiplayer game called The Gorge, where players team up to cook tons of fancier foods like pizza, pasta, and cakes, which are exclusive to the mode, to appease a hungry hole in the sky.
- Dragon Quest Builders 2 has over 150 different recipes that the player can cook or brew to refill their hunger meter and feed their villagers, some of which may also restore HP or provide other bonuses (ranging from simple things like salads and steak, all the way to complex stuff like cheeseburgers and spongecake). Villagers will also cook for the player if provided access to the proper ingredients and a kitchen, though they can only use recipes that the player has already discovered.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has cooking as your main source of health (as enemies no longer drop hearts). Ingredients are mixed together to make dishes, some of them quite elaborate. Cooking foods that don't mix together produces an item called "Dubious Food", which is censored by pixelation and grants a measly one heart if eaten. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom retains this feature and also adds a cookbook you can reference.
- Starbound: the player can prepare edible items, ensuring they would give more nutrition the more complex they are, along with additional effects such as additional energy.