This page of the Tower of Fantasy guide explains how cooking works. You'll learn what it's used for, how to prepare delicious meals and acquire new recipes. Food's important, after all.
Food in games is often used as a method of healing. That is also the purpose it serves in Tower of Fantasy. Some meals, though not all, can restore your health during combat. The meal icon is on the bottom of the screen, in the middle, right next to your health bar. You can eat both full meals and ingredients (though these aren't very efficient). Remember there's a cooldown you must wait out before you can heal.
The highest-tier meals (blue and purple) can also increase your elemental resistances, which makes them useful when fighting tougher enemies.
Food also restores your Satiety.
You can check your Satiety by viewing your character sheet. You'll find it right above your character level.
This meter is very important, as each time you finish combat it will start dropping after five seconds, restoring your health. In other words - this meter is responsible for health regeneration outside of combat.
It also drops every 5 minutes on its own, even if you're fully healthy. Make sure you always have some food at hand.
You can't make meals without ingredients. Some of them can be purchased from merchants. Unfortunately, they don't offer you much. You'll have to get most of the ingredients on your own.
The game makes finding valuable resources easier by highlighting them in blue. This will let you see valuable items even in tall grass. You're not limited only to the ingredients you can pick up. All animals met during the game can be killed for meat, no matter how peaceful or cute they are. You can also sometimes find food in chests scattered throughout the map.
Remember that various ingredients often spawn in specific places. For example, fish and seafood can be found in and near bodies of water. You can find plenty of lettuce near the starting area, there's a lot of homi grain near the Banges Dock, while bird eggs can be found high up - on rooftops, for example. If you find an ingredient that interests you, keep that place in mind and come back from time to time.
You must find a pot before you can start cooking. They're large, have legs and painted smiles - you can't miss them. They're commonly found around human settlements.
Interact with the pot and select one of the available recipes. On the right you'll find the meal info along with a slider you can use to choose how many portions you want to prepare. Confirm your selection with the blue Cooking button to prepare the food.
You can also purchase pre-made meals from the Cooking Vendors found near larger human settlements. Their food, however, is expensive and can be inaffordable for a Tower of Fantasy newcomer.
You'll definitely notice not all the recipes are unlocked at first. You must experiment a bit to learn them.
Interact with the pot, like described above, then select Creation from the bottom menu. A new screen will appear, letting you experiment.
On the left you'll see all the available ingredients. Click on them to put them in the pot. If you think the combination of ingredients is edible enough, click the Cooking button.
Unlike when you're following a recipe, there is a success rate when experimenting. You'll see it in the upper-right corner. You can increase it by adding more ingredients.
In case of failure, you'll receive a low-quality meal - an awful stew. If you manage to succeed and create a new meal, it will be added to your recipes - from now on you can cook it with a 100% success rate.
Not all dishes are equal. The game makes this clear by coloring them differently. Meals marked with white and green are of the lowest quality. They only restore Health and Satiety. Blue and purple dishes are the best ones. They restore your Health, Satiety and increase your Elemental Resistances.