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Old 12-06-2014, 03:42 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

Cooking is the IQ/A Everyman skill of preparing good food from basic ingredients. Simpler food preparation - pre-packed food, or rat-on-a-stick - is done with Housekeeping or Survival. Cooking defaults to IQ-5 or Housekeeping-5, and is useful with Discriminatory Taste. Cooking equipment is in Group Basics from the Basic Set, with much more detail in High-Tech and LTC3, and machines that allow you to dispense with the skill in Ultra-Tech; equipment quality modifiers definitely apply. The Food college in Magic is rather more useful if the magician has Cooking skill. While Cooking is not a TL skill, I'd expect familiarity penalties to apply when using equipment from different TLs.

Many professional cooks have an optional specialisation, and Basic suggests baking, beverage-making and regional cuisines as plausible specialisations. Cooking in large volumes is certainly a familiarity; some GMs might feel it actually had penalties, in which case a Technique to buy them off is very plausible. Chefs in charge of large kitchens with many subordinates need Administration and Merchant (they traditionally buy materials themselves), and likely Leadership and Teaching.

Cooking appears on templates in Dragons, Fantasy, Horror, Lands Out of Time, Martial Arts, Psis, Tales of the Solar Patrol, and Zombies. PU3 and PU7 have examples that include Cooking. Finding these by searching PDFs would have been easier if fewer GURPS writers listed "cooking" in their capsule biographies.

Really good cooks can have surprisingly large social networks: there was a historical chef who cooked for and knew Napoleon, Wellington and the contemporary Tsar of Russia (thanks to Phil Masters for this point).

Cooking for adventurers seems to be mostly a question of "We have someone with Cooking and time to use it, so we get nicer meals, and feel better. We'll adjust the watch structure so that the cook can do his job." I've seen it used as an entertaining complementary skill to social skills for peace-making and match-making. What have you done with it in a game?
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Old 12-06-2014, 04:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

Could you use it as an adjunct to Poisons, disguising the taste?
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Old 12-06-2014, 04:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Cooking in large volumes is certainly a familiarity; some GMs might feel it actually had penalties, in which case a Technique to buy them off is very plausible.
I Know some guys who were cooks in the army & once one of them went to make breakfast for his family & realized that the only recipe he knew for scrambled eggs started with 12 dozen eggs...

A technique would mean that there should be no penalties going smaller & I'm not sure if that's realistic.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

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I Know some guys who were cooks in the army & once one of them went to make breakfast for his family & realized that the only recipe he knew for scrambled eggs started with 12 dozen eggs...

A technique would mean that there should be no penalties going smaller & I'm not sure if that's realistic.
That sounds like a familiarity issue: just dividing quantities should work. I was assuming that basic training for cooks is done with fairly small quantities, simply to save wastage on the inevitable mess-ups.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

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Could you use it as an adjunct to Poisons, disguising the taste?
Sounds plausible to me, within sane limits.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Cooking is the IQ/A Everyman skill of preparing good food from basic ingredients. Simpler food preparation - pre-packed food, or rat-on-a-stick - is done with Housekeeping or Survival. C
Sorry this is absolutely wrong. Housekeeping is the Everyman skill that can make a nutritious meal from good food from basic ingredients. they sterotricaple "good housewife" skill.

Simpler food preparation - pre-packed food, or rat-on-a-stick is pure IQ default.

Cooking skill on the other hand is the Chef, to make cooking an art and do so to feed a lot of people.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

I think I have that Napoleonic-era chef right, but I'll have to look him up...

It occurs to me that anyone leading an army unit, ship's crew, or exploration party, could be sensible to make sure that they've got one good cook on the strength. It ought really to generate bonuses to morale-related rolls.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

Once while we were playing Star Wars one of the group had Housekeeping at decent level and prepared the food. My character had Cooking, because the idea of a Jedi chef amused me, and occasionally managed to oust the other cooking Jedi from the kitchen.

The joke was that in a fleet vs. fleet situation we'd manage the catering for the fleet.
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

A very important specialization would be Candy Making. It requires very careful temperature control, so before thermometers and precise burners took significant practice and training.

My grandmother had a candy shop for a few years. Hand crafted candy is beyond amazing. She made flavored marshmallows. (Homer Simpson drooling - ahhhhhhhrrgh.)
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Cooking

A very important complimentary skill would be Scrounging. Haven't we all had to do that to find a full set of ingredients for any one recipe? For we dirt poor, it takes even more skill window shopping for in season cheap stuff to cook.
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Last edited by Flyndaran; 12-06-2014 at 11:36 AM.
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