This is an idea for a MUD-wide cooking system which allows players to cook various food from raw ingredients, using the cooking (and possibly plants.edible and plants.herbal) skills. The core of the idea is to have recipes which work somewhat like scrolls, using craft.culinary skills to cast and ingredients/equipment as components.
A player gets a recipe (written on a piece of paper or in a recipe book etc). These could be purchased from cooking stores etc, but a way for players to share recipes would be good. I imagine this would work like scribing a spell onto a scroll. Unlike scrolls, recipes do not disappear after they are used.
Reading the recipe lists what ingredients and equipment are needed. For example...
>read recipe This is a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Ingredients Equipment Needed 2 cups of flour A set of bowls 2 pinches of baking powder An oven 1 pinch of salt half a pound of butter 1 cup of sugar 1 egg 1 handful of chocolate chips
Once you have all the ingredients, you need a kitchen.
The way I can see it working is to have some usable kitchens across the Disc and also make all the kitchen equipment available for player housing. Kitchen components could include an oven, stove, cauldron, pots and pans, steamer, a set of bowls, a set of knives etc... The more components you have, the wider range of things you can cook. Many of these things are already available on the MUD, however I suspect that making all appropriate items be recognised as kitchen equipment would be rather difficult. A set of items designed to be placed in a player house as kitchen equipment seems much more workable.
A special component needed in every kitchen is the counter.
Once a player has the recipe and all the ingredients, they find a suitable kitchen and place all the ingredients on the counter (to stop people holding/fumbling things) and 'make <recipe>'. If all the required ingredients are on the counter, and all the required equipment is in the room, cooking begins!
This is where the skills come into it, not unlike spells. For example...
>make recipe You sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. //cr.cu.cooking check You mix the butter, egg and sugar in a large bowl. //cr.cu.cooking check You stir in the sifted ingredients and chocolate chips, mixing the lot into a wad of cookie dough. //cr.cu.baking check You drop spoonfulls of the dough onto a tray and pop it into the oven to bake. //cr.cu.baking check
Having the system work like casting spells means that there are no 'in-between items' such as diced carrots, and people don't need to wrestle with syntax for each step. Words like 'clumsily', 'messily', 'sloppily', 'neatly', 'quickly', 'well', 'aptly' and 'expertly' can be slipped into those sentences to reflect the skill check results. I think even if you absolutely fail a skill check, the recipe should continue - the results will just be terrible.
As realistic preparation times (even using DW time) would make each step take a few minutes, realistic cooking times are unnecessary. Anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes would be appropriate for most things, longer for certain dishes which take a lot of time in the oven.
When ready, you 'get tray from oven' and your hard work pays off - Depending on how you did in the skill checks, you could get a tray of 'burnt rubbish', 'slightly burnt chocolate chip cookies', 'chocolate chip cookies', 'appealing chocolate chip cookies', 'delicious looking chocolate chip cookies'... These names only really reflect the final baking check, but words such as 'floury', 'doughy' or 'lumpy' could be used to reflect other skill failures. The description and messages when eating could be altered to reflect the quality...