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Eating is required to stay alive. The greater the hunger reduction value of the food item, the longer starvation is delayed. Some foods will make a character ill if eaten uncooked or burnt. Spoiled food has the possibility of making the player sick. In future versions, eating hot food is said to be one of many ways to improve characters' morale.
Types of food
Apples, bread, carrots, chicken, steak, and salmon all turn from their default form (prefix 'uncooked' for the meat, poultry, and fish items) into rotten food after a certain period of time. That period is lengthened by refrigerating the food, indicated by a blue background on the item. Freezing an item will increase its lifespan even more.
If a character has a high enough cooking skill, perishables can be safely consumed even after they have become rotten by using them as ingredients in recipes. For example, using rotten chicken as an ingredient in stew will add a portion of the rotten meat's hunger reduction value to the pot of stew. Thus, cooking recipes are a great way to extend the lifespan of perishables after the electricity has been turned off.
All food with "uncooked" in its title when hovered over with the cursor can all be placed in a heat source and cooked. An item will turn from 'uncooked' into 'cooked' after a period of heating. If left too long in the heat source, the item will turn from 'cooked' to 'burnt'. The hunger reduction value of burnt food is lower than both the cooked and uncooked version.
Some food items have a chance to make the player sick if eaten raw. This is displayed when the item is hovered over with the cursor.
Cooking food also lengthens the time before it becomes rotten.
Canned soup, chocolate, pop, beef jerky, orange soda, butter, and chips are examples of some of the food items that do not become rotten. Their hunger reduction value remains unchanged over time. Non-perishable foods can usually be found in kitchen counters.
Most canned foods can only be opened with a can opener. Canned foods can be eaten uncooked, but some gain bonuses from being heated up, such as beans. Many cooking recipes also benefit from the addition of canned food.