Whenever you see a cooking pot over a fire, just click on it and it brings up your ESO Provisioning Menu (Cooking Menu) from your Crafts Interface Menu. This cooking menu is so well organized that it really makes cooking fun!
On left top of your interface menu it will say Provisioning with your level at it in front of it, and it has a progress bar underneath. This is fun because as you cook, you see your progress bar going up for every food or beverage item that you make!
On the right top of your cooking menu, you will see the word COOK and a picture of a piece of food and a beverage for which kind you will make. It also has check boxes for: ‘Have Ingredients’ and ‘Have Skills’. You can filter what you want to show up that way. For example, if you check both boxes it will show you what you can make by the ingredients you have and the skills you have based on the recipes you have learned.
If you have not found or learned any recipes yet and you try to cook, a message will come up saying; ‘No recipes found that match your filters’, even if you have the ingredients. On the other hand, if you learned a recipe, but do not have enough of the right ingredients to make it, it will quickly tell you that too. If you do have a recipe learned that you have the ingredients for, it brings that all up for you without you having to hunt through your inventory for them one by one by name. What you have that you need is pulled up for you and you can make whatever you have the ingredients and skills for, having learned that recipe. If you have learned a recipe and have the ingredients for it, it will also bring up an option message for you, to suggest you may push the R button on your keyboard to craft it (see Figure 2).
However, Provisioning (Cooking) differs from alchemy, because you must have Provisioning Recipes to be able to cook something, even if you have the ingredients. You cannot just eat raw cooking ingredients to learn recipes. So when you come across recipes in your adventures, do not underestimate their value to you, and grab up all the recipes you can find.
This was the first time I realized how important recipes are. It is not enough to just mix-up ingredients because you know in your own head what they can make; your player-character must have found and learned that recipe to be able to make that food item. So then when I next made a Nord player-character, I kept my eye out for any recipes I could find and found a level 1 recipe for Trotter Pie. Soon I had both the ingredients, ‘pork’ and ‘meal’ for it, and was easily able to make Trotter Pie.
I made several Trotter Pies and not only raised my provisioning progress up for each Trotter Pie I made till I went up some levels, but each Trotter Pie is as good as a potion you could make in alchemy, except it is food you can eat. For example, Trotter Pie has the effect of increasing your Max Health by 42 for a full 35 minutes just for eating one of them, but it only has a 5 second cool down before you can eat another one!