Core Keeper: Comprehensive Guide to Cooking

Core Keeper Comprehensive Guide to Cooking

A collection notes on a criminally undervalued mechanic, including a detailed list of ingredients and how to best use them.

Introduction

Cooking is a core element of Core Keeper that sometimes gets overshadowed by other features. Nevertheless, it provides a massive advantage to those with the knowledge to make proper use of it. What you eat before a bossfight can and will save your life, and you’d be surprised at how much difference a plateful of berry pudding and pile of rocks wrapped in a tortilla can make when you’re about to be gored by an all-devouring worm.

The Basics of Cooking

Maso's Comprehensive Guide to Cooking

Cooking can be accessed very early in the game, by crafting a cooking pot out of wood and copper on a wooden crafting bench. By interacting with it the player can enter the cooking menu, wherein they are able to cook ingredients into meals.

Cooking works by simply placing a pair ingredients to use into the cooking pot, where they will then combine into a meal. The meal will have unique effects based on the ingredients, and generally will have greater stats than the sum of its parts.

Combining two ingredients into a meal is always more efficient than eating them individually when it comes to staving off hunger. The only exception to this rule is mushy mushroom stew, which has the exact same food value as its ingredients.

Cooked meals typically have three types of stats, they are:

  • The food value, depicting how much hunger the meal restores.
  • Health regen per second.
  • Up to two unique buffs based on the ingredients.

The precise food value of meals is either completely arbitrary or follows some eldritch formula beyond my comprehension, but it is always greater than the sum of the ingredients’ food values.

Health regen per second always continues for 20 seconds. The regen value doesn’t increase as you cook food, and a meal’s regen value is inherited from the ingredient with the highest value. This means that if you’re purely looking for regen, it’s actually optimal to eat raw food.

The buffs & stats of each ingredient are listed below, but it is important to note that buffs of the same type do not stack. Only one instance of a specific buff (move speed, crit chance, etc) can be active at a time, with the highest value taking priority. For example if you eat a meal giving you 2.3 hp/sec and another giving you 3.1 hp/sec, you will only regen for 3.1 hp/sec instead of 5.4.

Sadly, this means that you cannot become the Flash by consuming copious quantities and varieties of pepper-based meals, or become strong enough to one-shot God by devouring three lakes’ worth of Rock Jaw.

Lastly, creating “pure” meals out of two of the same ingredient does not have any benefit over mixing them with others. The unique buff does not get any stronger, nor does any other stat. (Again, barring shroom+shroom stew)

Overview of Ingredients

NOTE: This list only includes ingredients from the first 3 zones in the game (dirt, clay, stone). More will be added as I progress further.
NOTE2: A “pure dish” is a dish cooked out of two of the same ingredient.

Mushroom

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Common
Purpose: Early Game Food

Ingredient Stats:
+9 Food
2.1 HP/Sec for 20sec

Pure Dish Stats:
+23 Food
4.2 HP/Sec for 20sec

Notes:
Only food that appears to be incapable of being grown means it’s impractical as a long-term food source.
Is excellent for healing in the early game, but falls off hard due to being outclassed by raw Carrocks.

Heart Berry

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Max Health

Ingredient stats:
+9 food
+2.8 HP/Sec

Pure Dish Stats
+22 food
+25 max hp for 5 min
+2.8 HP/sec

Notes:
You should always include this in your pre-bossfight feast in some form, the health buff will save your life.
The food value is excellent considering how easy this is to farm. I recommend making this your main food source.

Glow Tulip

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Glow in the dark

Ingredient stats:
+4 glow for 1 min
+1 food

Pure Dish Stats
+6 food
+4 glow for 2 min

Notes:
A rare example of a food with no health regen.
More support item than food, this will never be your main ingredient as the stats suck.
The buff it gives is equivalent to a lantern, so it’s good for fighting bosses since they tend to destroy your torches and you typically want to equip other off-hand items for the fight.

Bomb Pepper

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Speed

Ingredient stats:
+5 food
-11 health

Pure Dish Stats
+17 food
+21% movement speed for 1 min

Notes:
Another example of a food with unique raw stats. I have to check if you can kill yourself with them.
The speed buff is insanely useful, and probably the best in the entire game for fighting bosses. Bomb Peppers can also be farmed en masse, so with some effort you can have the speed buff active whenever you travel a long distance outside of a minecart.

Carrock

Location: Stone Caverns
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Armor

Ingredient stats:
+7 food
+4.1 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+17 food
+23 armor for 3 min

Notes:
The best item for pure hp regen when raw, but it loses all of its hp/sec when cooked.
The armour it gives is equivalent to a full set of Bronze. You might not think you’ll need it, but you’ll feel the difference when you get hit.

Larva Meat

Location: Clay Caverns? (Hive biome)
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Crit

Ingredient stats:
+11 food
+2.8 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+25 food
+2.8 hp/sec
+6% critical chance for 2 min

Notes:
Relatively okay food and hp. Crit can be useful but feels unreliable. You will likely end up with a lot of this stuff when going to kill the Hive Mother, and it’s definitely worth using. I might be underestimating it but it’s unlikely to set your world on fire, even if there’s literally no downside to splashing it into some of your meals.

Orange Cave Guppy

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Mining Damage

Ingredient stats:
+10 food
+2.1 HP/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+23 food
+2.1 HP/sec
+8 Mining Damage for 5 min

Notes:
First fish of the list, and by God it won’t be the last.
Very handy to have along for long mining expeditions. Good to mix with your berries or mushrooms for. Fishing this up is incredibly easy even if the Mining Damage can be a bit underwhelming. But who knows, it might be what takes you over the edge into needing one less pickaxe swing!

Blue Cave Guppy

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Dodge/Evasion

Ingredient stats:
+11 food
+2.2 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+24 food
2.2 hp/sec
+7% dodge chance for 5 min

Notes:
This is the thing I am most likely to be wrong on, but to my understanding dodge only applies when you’re not moving. If that’s the case then it’s… not good. Mistakes happen, but they usually don’t happen when you’re standing completely still. Feel free to skip this one.

Rock Jaw

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Melee Damage

Ingredient stats:
+11 food
+2.5 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+25 food
+2.5 hp/sec
+15.9% melee damage for 5 min

Notes:
Boss killing tool. Unless you want to spend ages fishing you’re only going to have so many of these. Use them sparingly. Very useful, worth grinding for even if you don’t do too much fishing since they are found so close to spawn.

Gem Crab

Location: Dirt Caverns
Rarity: Rare
Speciality: Armor

Ingredient stats:
+10 food
+3.1 health/sec for 20 sec

Pure Dish Stats
+24 food
+3.1 health/sec for 20 sec
+14 armor for 5 min

Notes:
Very underwhelming considering its rarity. A lot of you probably haven’t even seen it.
It is completely outclassed by the carrock, and combining the two sadly doesn’t make you an immortal god. Unless there’s something I’ve missed, this ingredient is quite bad.

Yellow Blister Head

Location: Clay Caverns
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Anti-slime

Ingredient stats:
+10 food
+2.6 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+24 food
+2.6 hp/sec
Immunity to slime slow for 30 seconds

Notes:
Useful in case you don’t want to wear the Larva Ring + Grub Egg Necklace combo, but very bothersome to eat every half a minute. If you don’t have the set, this can be very useful to have for on your hotbar for bossfights since the movement slow from slime can be a real killer. By far the most common fish in the Clay biome, so farming for it will be easy.

Green Blister Head

Green Blister Head
Location: Clay Caverns
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Anti-acid

Ingredient stats:
+10 food
+2.5 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+23 food
+2.5 hp/sec
Immunity to acid damage for 30 seconds

Notes:
Very specialised. Main usage I’ve found is in fighting the Hive Mother. Even with the Larva Ring + Grub Necklace the acid on the ground can whittle you down if you stay in it for too long to try and attack the boss.

Devil Worm

Location: Clay Caverns
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Ranged Damage

Ingredient stats:
+10 food
+3 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+23 food
+3 hp/sec
+22.8% ranged damage for 5 min

Notes:
The ranged version of the Rock Jaw, useful in similar circumstances for ranged builds. A bit more of a pain to get, but if you’re committed to fighting from afar then this is definitely worth it for big fights.

Vampire Eel

Location: Clay Caverns
Rarity: Rare
Speciality: Lifesteal

Ingredient stats:
+11 food
+3.5 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
[have yet to get enough of these, but:]
+3 hp per hit

Notes:
Grants you the benefits of the clot ring and stacks with other sources of lifesteal. Since you can only lifesteal once per swing it’s best used with the dagger. The benefit is good but unlikely to be worth grinding for a rare fish.

Dagger Fin

Location: Stone Caverns
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Thorns

Ingredient stats:
+11 food
+3.9 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+24 food
+3.9 hp/sec
+13 thorns for 5 min

Notes:
Good regen stats, but thorns is just a bad ability. You’re always going to take more damage than this returns, and even your first weapons are going to dish out more pain than this. There’s no downside to using it, especially if you end up with a bunch of these trying to farm the next two fish, but I still think this might be the worst effect in the game.

Ingredients continued

Pink Palace Fish

Location: Stone Caverns
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Melee Attack Speed

Ingredient stats:
+11 food
+3.9 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+25 food
+3.9 hp/sec
+4 melee attack speed for 5 min

Notes:
Gives attack speed equivalent to two combat levels. Not immediately noticeable, but it definitely adds up. If you don’t mind fishing, no reason to go get a few of these for the next time you want to kill a boss.

Teal Palace Fish

Location: Stone Caverns
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Ranged Attack Speed

Ingredient stats:
+11 food
+3.9 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+25 food
+3.9 hp/sec
+4% ranged attack speed for 5 min

Notes:
Same as the Pink fish, but ranged. Most people don’t use too much ranged so these kind of pollute the loot pool if you’re trying to farm for Teals.

Azure Feather Fish

Location: Azeos’ Wilderness
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Health Regen

Ingredient stats:
+1 food
+4.1 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+24 food
+8.1 hp/sec

Notes:
Provides the highest hp/sec regen out of any food I’ve found so far. It’s absolutely insane that this is a common fish. If you don’t mind fishing for a while, these can become your main source of passive healing.

Emerald Feather Fish

Location: Azeos’ Wilderness
Rarity: Common
Speciality: Max HP, Crit

Ingredient stats:
+10 food
+4.5 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+23 food
+3 hp/sec
+29 max health for 5 min
+6% crit chance for 5 min

Notes:
A fish that completely outclasses both Larva Meat and Heart Berries. Absolutely worth farming for bossfights since it’s common.

Spirit Veil

Location: Azeos’ Wilderness
Rarity: Uncommon
Speciality: Movement speed

Ingredient stats:
+9 food
+4.7 hp/sec

Pure Dish Stats
+23 food
+36.2% movement speed for 1 min

Notes:
Bomb peppers on steroids. If you put in the effort to fish you can turn these into your new boss-killing tool, while pepper meals can become a more common convenience food.

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Written by Maso