Cooking is a survival skill that is used to cook raw food. Cooking offers several benefits, including increasing the condition of raw food and reducing the risk of food poisoning. There are many different types of food in The Long Dark, each providing a certain number of calories. Cooking also has a larger variety of training options compared to any other skill, due to the number of foods types that can be cooked.
How to cook
Cooking is known as one of the easiest skills to train in The Long Dark, as players can increase their skill by cooking any food or drink item. Players also encounter a variety of food items that can be cooked throughout a play-through, providing many opportunities to gain cooking experience.
To actually cook something, players must select the food item or cooking tool (e.g., a recycled can) from the radial menu or inventory and place it on or next to the fire in a designated cooking space. When using a cooking tool, the player can "use" the placed can or pot to select which food or drink to cook.
Players need a fire before they can start cooking, and certain pieces of equipment can be used to assist with cooking.
Types of food
|Image||Name||Cooking times[1 1]||Notes|
|Rabbit (Cooked)||38 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw rabbit meat harvested from a Rabbit carcass|
|Venison||57 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw venison harvested from a deer carcass|
|Wolf Meat||69 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw wolf meat harvested from a wolf carcass|
|Bear Meat||82 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw black bear meat harvested from a black bear carcass|
|Moose Meat||82 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw moose meat harvested from a moose carcass|
- Cooking times are per kilogram of meat cooked directly on a fire. Cooking times scale accordingly with the weight cooked (i.e. 0.5 kilograms cooks in half the time that 1.0 kilograms)
|Image||Name||Cooking time [2 1]||Notes|
|Lake Whitefish||21 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw lake whitefish fished from a freshwater location.|
|Rainbow Trout||19 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw rainbow trout fished from a saltwater location.|
|Coho Salmon||12 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw coho salmon fished from a saltwater location.|
|Smallmouth Bass||15 minutes||Obtained by cooking raw smallmouth bass fished from a freshwater location.|
Cooking fish will also produce a small amount of Lantern Fuel .
- Cooking times are per kilogram of fish cooked directly on a fire. Cooking times scale accordingly with the weight cooked (i.e. 0.5 kilograms cooks in half the time that 1.0 kilograms)
Players can obtain canned goods by scavenging throughout their playthrough. Canned goods requires a can opener, hunting knife, or hatchet to be opened while retaining the full content. It is also possible to smash the can open if the player does not have any of these tools, but this will result in losing some of its contents to spillage if the player's cooking level is less than 3.
|Image||Name||Cooking time [3 1]||Notes|
|Pinnacle Peaches||15 minutes||Consuming pinnacle peaches while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
|Tomato Soup||15 minutes||Consuming tomato soup while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
|Pork and Beans||15 minutes||Consuming pork and beans while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
- Cooking times are for canned goods cooked directly on a fire
|Image||Name||Cooking time [4 1]||Notes|
|Cup of Coffee||12 minutes||Players can brew a cup of coffee with a tin of coffee and 0.25 liters of potable water. Consuming a cup of coffee while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
|Cup of Herbal Tea||12 minutes||Players can brew a cup of herbal tea with an herbal tea and 0.25 liters of potable water. Consuming a cup of herbal tea while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
|Reishi Tea||12 minutes||Players can brew a cup of reishi tea with prepared reishi mushrooms and 0.25 liters of potable water. Consuming a cup of reishi tea while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
|Rose Hip Tea||12 minutes||Players can brew a cup of rose hip tea with prepared rose hips and 0.25 liters of potable water. Consuming a cup of rose hip tea while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
|Birch Bark Tea||12 minutes||Players can brew a cup of birch bark tea with prepared birch bark and 0.25 liters of potable water. Consuming a cup of birch bark tea while hot also provides a bonus to the player.|
Removing from fire
If meat is removed from the fire or stove before cooking is complete, the food is still considered raw, and it will require the full cooking time if cooking is resumed at a later point. A fire that briefly goes out pauses the cooking process; if the fire is quickly relit, cooking will resume without an additional penalty.
Food left on an active fire after it is finished cooking will burn after a set amount of time. Burnt food items are unusable and will disappear when picked up. Recycled cans and cooking pots will degrade if food is burnt. Food cooked in a cooking pot will take 20% longer to burn compared to food cooked directly by the fire or in a recycled can.
Players can increase their cooking skill by cooking any food or drink item. This excludes melting and boiling water, or warming up food that has already been cooked. Warming up canned food, however, does increase cooking skill.
Skill increase occurs per item cooked -- regardless of its weight or for how long it cooked. (E.g., cooking a 100 mg morsel of Rabbit in a cooking pot for 3 minutes results in the same increase as cooking 1 kg of moose meat on a bare stone for 1.5 hours!)
A limited increase can be obtained from the research book Wilderness Kitchen, which allows players to increase their cooking by 10 skill points with 5 hours of research.
Once players have reached a new skill level, they unlock the effects described in the table below.