Roleplay of the Cooking Skill Cooking "is a form of flattery....a mischievous, deceitful, mean and ignoble activity, which cheats us by shapes and colors, by smoothing and draping...." Plato (427-347 B.C.) Greek philosopher ('Choice Cuts' by Mark Kurlansky, 2002) Between the grassy knolls of Baja there lies tell of a magnificent artist. She toys not with paintbrush or with quill. Instead, her canvas is the plate and she marks each piece with it's own special blend of color. Her tools are common place. The use, however, is not. Whether it is Old Skarish Honey Glazed Ham or Ki-Rin Tartar, each place setting is marked indelibly with something better than color. It is marked with taste. Magdalena is the best kind of creative as her masterpieces are not only pleasant to the eye, but also to the palate and stomach. I made my journey to her home Shard to put her renowned skills to the test. A task set in my head, I was greeted by a rather bubbly figure I would come to know as Magedalena's Niece. One gate later, we arrived on the Grandmaster Chef's doorstep and I was politely ushered through. Witty and charming, she requests why I have come and I lay my task before her. I explain that a certain group is hosting an affair and I give her the particulars. In true professional fashion I am presented with examples of past menus. In addition she begins to fire off questions that only one who really cares about their art and customers would ask. I am pleased and I am honored as I can tell she knows what she is doing. Once we have settled on a complete menu, including but not limited to drinks of blood wine and and dessert of Mock Moonberry Pie, we exchange dates and times to meet up once more and finalize. Itching to see her tools of the trade, she politely allows me into her kitchen. I pepper her with questions consisting of how often she gets supplies to those amounts she keeps most often on hand. And she answers each and every one. And thus I break from the actual moment of roleplay and attack the essence of portraying a cook in Ultima Online, specifically in an rp settting. A fighter, a mage, and many others use the most recognizable skills and tools to roleplay their character. When you choose cooking it means that you are going to have to adjust your template to make room for this out of the way skill. It makes it harder to fight, harder to PvP and above all brings an additional level of imagination to your story. Cooking is a skill, that in the real world, not only delivers you straight to a man's heart but will also calm a worried soul. Food is comfort and in a very real way, it is how stories are told. For Magdalena and a select few of other characters in Ultima, across various shards, it is how they define themselves. To portray a cook and portray it well, takes imagination and a willingness to remain in character. The Portrayl of a chef, aside from the obvious glitch to your template, also means being able to rattle of recipes at a moment's notice. Now, not all of us do this but if you want it to be convincing, it's a must. Also, know what ingredients are available in game and which are not. Take a good look at the farmers list in Skara and Ter Mur. A good example of how well this was put to the test is my dinner on Pacific. I was at a manor house in Shell Point. The person serving the meal was a good friend, Sablestorm. When the meal was presented, it contained onions, cabbage and a variety of other vegetables that I had never seen before used in game. He knew what to put with the main dish and where. Also take a good look at the monsters and animals that you deal with both for fighting and for recreation. They make good resources, not only when trying to figure out what they temselves eat, but also who and what you can serve them to. Case in point. Orcs, which came up in conversation during my visit with Magdalena, can both be served to and be served. This of course is dependant upon who and what your guests consist of. Ancient Wyrm, All elementals and the occasional Boura make good chops as well. Having a fundamental understanding of what surrounds you allows the roleplay of a chef to be that much more rich. Brilliant when played properly, cooking is one of those grossly underestimated skills in UO. Stay tuned while I follow up next week with Herding.