This guide is a bit of a follow-up guide to one of mine from almost a year back now, "What You can Cook @ 0.2.7.1" That said, this one is more of my personal "do's and don't's" as well as some tips and tricks. So here I go.
Tip 1: Don't eat your garbage.
When you first start off, your food sucks. You can get some primitive recipes using a campfire and the farming skill, but they aren't that great. About the only useful one really is Fried Beast, which you can cook to grind your farming skill some, and is okay to eat I guess, but you're probably better off saving the meat for later to help you grind your actual Cooking skill once you get it unlocked. Stick to Apple-picking, and eat those.
Tip 2: You're a Farmer, not a Forager.
There are a lot of recipes that use Wild Berries and Mushrooms. I personally steer clear of these because if/when found, they reduce the soil quality of the cell you pick from. Okay I guess for some, but you can't raise the quality at all of Forest Soil, so once it goes down so far, you won't get any good 'shrooms out of it unless you dig it up that section. Not something I care for since sustainability isn't there, and there are other recipes that come fully out of farming.
Tip 3: Quantity is not Quality.
Any recipes that use Boiled Eggs, well that's 6 eggs you're burning through. Any that use Cheese, well there's 6 milk. Any that use flour, that's 5 wheat. Those that take x4 of the same vegetable, on a bad day that's more than a harvested grown plant, on a good day that's still 1/3rd. Too much in my opinion, there's better.
Tip 4: Wastenot Wantnot.
Anything Harvested or slaughtered out of a Coop, Barn, or Stable, you should save until you are cooking Expert level or better food. I would also advise you save them until you are cooking using a Kitchen, and probably even when you have a Chef's Outfit. The Outfit will allow you to cook 100q Foods well before you hit 100 in the Cooking skill, and combine that with the Kitchen, and you can use some fairly low quality materials and still get 100q results. By "fairly low" I mean combining 90+ quality veggies with 65q Harvestables.
Tip 5: What to Farm - Foreword
Farming comes in two parts. The plants and the animals. It can be a bit of a hassle doing it all however, so do your best to grow what can be combined with what you get from Harvesting and Slaughtering animals to make the best food possible for you. Doing a bit of fishing never hurt either, but beware, that's a skill not in the Farming chain, so don't bother unless you have plans to raise it. It's okay early on in my opinion, but once skill points become a premium, it's usually what I arrow down first. Helps getting chickens and hares, and to track down some of the Peaceful animals to tame when you are still leveling Animal Lore, but usually by the time you actually get to the cooking skill, you're good to go on the animals you have. More often than not you are also used to knowing where to go for what animals, and don't rely much on the tracking bit anyhow.
Tip 6: What I farm.
Chickens - Chicken Meat and Eggs
Pigs - Pork and intestines. Personally I storage my Pigs when I don't need Pork, as Sheep are better at that size.
Sheep - Intestines, Mutton
Cows - Milk, Beef, and Intestines
Having all of these animals also helps my Vegetable farming in that as long as the server settings are right, I have a good 150-200 dung to fertilize with in between planting cycles (8 in game days).
Apples - feed for all and used in a lot of recipes. Needs forestry skill for good sprouts and farming skill for harvesting.
Wheat - Straw for okay animal feed, and wheat for flour, wheat is also a good chicken feed and best feed for taming Cows and Pigs (they eat too much to be good normal feed).
Peas - used in a several recipes.
Cabbage - used in several recipes and is a good feed for Sheep.
Carrots - Good feed for rabbits, and best Taming feed for horses (they eat too many to be good normal feed). Also used in several recipes.
Tip 7: What I Cook.
Basic - Either 1.0 or 1.5 Food Quality multiplier, depending, /w 100 Filing
Fried Beast - only for leveling: 6x Game Meat
Wild Soup: 1xGame Meat, 2xOnion, 1xCarrot
Cabbage Pies: 1xFlour, 1xCabbage, 4xEggs
Expert - 4.5 Food Quality Multiplier /w 55 Filling
King's Beef Stew: 1xBeef, 1xBoiled Eggs, 1xOnion, 1xCarrot
Yorkshire Pudding: 1xEgg, 1xMilk, 1xFlour, 1xBeef
Lamb Stew /w Cabbage: 1xMutton, 1xCabbage, 1xFlour, 1xPeas
Stuffed Rabbit: 1xGame Meat, 1xChicken Meat, 1xApple, 1xCabbage
Apple Meat Loaf: 1xBeef, 1xApple, 1xFlour, 1xOnion
Beef Cabbage Hash: 1xBeef, 1xCabbage, 1xBoiled Eggs, 1xOnion
Pork Sausage: 1xPork, 1xEgg, 1xIntestines, 1xOnion
Master - 5.5 Food Quality Multiplier /w 45 Filling
Venison Brawtwurst Sausage: 1xGame Meat, 1xPork, 1xPeas, 1xIntestines, 1xMilk
Cottage Pie: 1xCarrot, 1xPeas, 1xBeef, 1xMutton, 1xBoiled Eggs
There are other recipes you could do of course. Many that use wine or honey. These to me are too little effort for too little reward. Easier in my opinion to just do the stuff I listed above. I hate over-complicating stuff for myself, and usually take the least effort for the same reward type paths. The "work smarter not harder" mentality.
Also will have to recheck some of the more basic foods "Food Quality Multipliers" and how much food filling they provide. Haven't eaten that junk in a long while so I ferget off-hand. So you know, getting the max multipliers rely on 100q meals over the course of 5 meals. If anyone know's 'em already, please respond to this posting and I'll edit this post, and thank you in advance.