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The Perfect Feast.

Cooking is the process of preparing food by applying some form of heat to a variety of different ingredients, in order to create something edible. Cooking is one of the oldest arts known to man, and was first invented whenever some being, somewhere, applied heat to meat, and created a new dish to feast upon. The earliest uses were likely found in cooking meat to a certain level of doneness, in order to increase the health value of the meat, the flavor, as well as the filling factor. Over time, cooking grew from just applying heat to food, to combining several different unique ingredients. Juice squeezed from a lemon and drizzled over a slowly cooking pork roast, perhaps simple in concept now, but definitely a huge step up from the simplicity of the very first chefs. It was found that a variety of ingredients could be mixed together and applied to a dish, or could be a dish in themselves, and produce wildly differing flavors. Different preparation and cooking methods were soon discovered, adding yet another new level of flavor, and excitement.

Current, modern Mizaharian cooking arose from the need to make a limited amount of food stretch to feed a great mass of people, due to the limited resources caused by the Valterrian. Therefore, people who can transform a very few, simple ingredients into something amazing to both eat, smell, and look at are widely sought out. This current mankind is constantly on the search for something new and exciting to introduce to the tongue, as well as fill their bellies. Most people cook through slow methods, putting a few ingredients into a pot to make a stew, or stuffing them inside of a small container over a fire to slow cook. Actual ovens and stovetops are rare to come by, and people who can use those tools and techniques effectively stand out from cooks of the world and earn the title 'chef' to denote their in-depth knowledge, passion, and complex understanding of food and how to cook it.. Talented Chefs are very popular in big cities, paid large amounts to do what they do best. There are always jobs for simple cooks, for as much as people like to eat; only a select few like to cook.

Prerequisites and Related Skills

There are no skills that go hand in hand with Cooking, or can improve one's mastery over the art. However, several can supply ingredients, or new tastes, or enhance already-on-hand ingredients. Fishing can provide fresh, quality seafood. Hunting can provide fresh, tender, tasty meat. Foraging is always a plus, having fresh, wild ingredients such as herbs, mushrooms, and berries on hand at any time. Gardening is another helpful skill, providing instant access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Philtering is a skill that can open up a whole new section of cooking, the various potions and chemicals made by the skill creating, changing and improving upon any recipe to create even more variations. Food Preservation allows for various types of food to be preserved for longer periods of time in different ways, keeping them edible and usable.

Butchering in and of itself is not a separate skill but most often a component of Cooking when it comes to using fresh meat or supplying your own meat through Hunting or Fishing.

Skill progression

Novice (1-25)
Extremely simple techniques are learned here, most likely picked up from watching another cook perform, having a relative show a few skills off, or from reading some cookbook off the street. He would need a recipe or a guiding hand to put any kind of food together, save for the most simple of dishes, such as buttered toast. Such a cook is simply not experienced enough to know how to take the varieties of herbs, fruits, meats, veggies, flours, and powders; and put them all together to form something that actually tastes good. A novice would be able to do simple recipes at this point in their career, although making everything from scratch usually results in a bit of an off-flavor, collapsing cakes, burnt bottoms of cookies, meat seared a little too much, or perhaps served a little too rare, and so on. She would just now be learning the importance of measuring and weighing ingredients, proper whisking, mixing, seasonings, different cooking methods, how to prep ingredients, and so forth. They are learning the basics of all their tools, such as knives, measuring tools, as well as the basics of sanitation. He would be using different cutting boards for raw meats and fresh produce, storing raw chicken and fish separate, and how to clean up after themselves in the most sanitary manner. There are a variety of tools for use at this stage, tools to cut, peel, chop, grate, and dice. Novice cooks learn by simply floundering around with these tools, and wide base of knowledge, until it becomes natural. Experience is key.
Competent (26-50)
A Competent cook has now done enough cooking to be able to actually produce a tasty dish when he tries. While a recipe or guiding hand is still usually needed, the practitioner is now confident enough in his skills to try out minor deviations from a recipe or guide, and have moderate success. He perhaps has a few recipes memorized here and there, those of which are usually favorites, and can prepare them quite easily. His skill with his collection of culinary tools has increased, and he is now able to use them efficiently. His chef knife now cuts straight and true, with a good bit of speed behind it. They know most of their ingredients quite well, being able to name them by sight, smell, or feel. While once their dishes were quite simplistic, they are now learning to mix widely different ingredients into the same dish, introducing two very contrasting flavors with success. Their knowledge of cooking methods has increased, and they now know how to use simple tools in order to judge the doneness of a particular dish. At this level of skill, a cook is more likely to get their foot in the door at a higher class establishment, now working with more advanced tools, such as ovens, instead of simple fires.
Expert (51-75)
An expert at cooking has refined his skill to an art, and truly has a large amount of passion for what he does. He has learned the basics of plating a dish, and can make about any combination of foods look appealing to the eye. He can put together a ton of dishes from memory, as well as assemble entire meals for a large number of people. He is an expert with all of his tools, knowing all of their uses and being able to use them to their full potential. He can tell the doneness of foods by just a look and a touch of his finger, perhaps using smells to come to this conclusion as well. A chef of this quality is likely to be hired any many fine establishments, and will be working with multiple ovens, high class equipment, and likely have several employees under him that he would have to manage. He is starting to grow a culinary will of his own, being able to create his own dishes from the ground up, and make them taste fairly good. Combining multiple ingredients comes easily, no matter how broad and apart those ingredients may be. An Expert Chef just magically makes those items work together. He is apt at layering different ingredients to find all new textures, smells, and flavor groups. An Expert chef is almost perfect at whatever region of cooking he has been drawing from these years, and would likely be good at another region, if he tried it. While incredibly skilled at cooking food for one group, say, humans; an Expert chef would be able to adjust to, and likely succeed at exotic dishes outside of his area of expertise, such as Konti cuisine. Eating from the plate of an Expert Chef can bring swells of happiness to the heart, satisfy a stomach for days, and perhaps bring a tear to the eye as one remembers the dish from his long-past childhood. The dishes that they make can perfectly embody the emotion and soul they pour into the dish, and can arise those very same feelings in those who eat it.
Master (76-100)
A Master Chef is considered something of a Cooking God by his peers. The worlds of baking, pastry, wines, ingredients, and the culinary sphere as a whole are widely open to a Master Chef. He can take anything from any kind of kitchen in the world, and form an amazing to eat, amazing to look at dish. He has mastered the mixing of a variety of ingredients, a variety of cooking methods, a mastery of the variety of culinary tools available, and is also usually skilled in mixing some kind of magic, or science into his food. His plating is a work of art, every dish brings a gasp to the person who sees it, and can inspire lower chefs to newer heights. A Master Chef can look at something and tell it is cooked to perfection, get a minor smell of an ingredient, name it, tell if it is ripe or fresh, and tell if it is good for the dish in question. Dozens, if not hundreds of recipes are in his memory banks, and it is easy for him to whip together a full meal for a variety of people, and to do it alone. Meals from a Master Chef are legendary, and rare. Ridiculously high amounts of Mizas are paid to such chefs, who are usually only found as personal chefs to royalty, or nobles. A Master Chef induces a swirl of emotion with each bite of his food, cooking something amazingly magical, delicious, and beautiful, which truly defines who he is as a person, as an artist. These Masters are highly sought after by the rich, the famous, and the learning cook.