A year ago, Animal Crossing: New Horizons offered us the tantalizing opportunity to emulate something we couldn’t do in real life: go outside. Now, the new 2.0 update similarly allows some of us a vicarious experience we can’t attain IRL. Namely, you can now craft Instagram-worthy meals, even if you’re actually a cook who occasionally sets pasta on fire. (Don’t ask.)
If you’ve downloaded the new Animal Crossing update today, you can head to Nook Stop to unlock the cooking mechanic, and then pick up more recipes at Nook’s Cranny. If you have the ingredients—and that’s a big if—then you can start meal-prepping at your kitchenette.
So far, I’ve unlocked staples like bread, pancakes, gnocchi, tomato curry, and cupcakes. Some recipes seem more seasonal, like carrot cake, carrot potage, and the pumpkin bagel sandwich. These aren’t as realistic as the meals in, say, Deathloop, but I’m charmed by how softly they’re rendered in the Animal Crossing art style. I also like that many of the dishes go beyond the generic buttered toast and spaghetti with marinara. The recipes look especially tantalizing considering my island rep has eaten nothing but apples and the occasional birthday cupcake for an entire year.
Unfortunately, apple smoothies are the only thing that I can “cook” right now. A lot of recipes require me to make flour and sugar, which can only be processed if you have a supply of sugarcane and wheat. Neither of these exist on my island, or in Leif’s local store. The closest thing that I have are the overgrown weeds that look exactly like wheat, and they taunt me. I’ll see if going to the newly updated Harv’s Island—a former photo-op destination turned shopping center—fixes that, or I’ll pester the Kotaku staff to let me onto their islands. One way or another, that beautiful bread basket will be mine.
To answer your burning question: Yes, you can eat the dishes that you create in your kitchen. I spent two apples to create an apple smoothie, and drinking it restored two units of fullness. The foods don’t stack though, so it’s still more efficient to eat your fruits without all the extra steps.
Honestly though, the cooking mechanic is as fun as the crafting mechanic. Which is to say: not very. But hey, in this case, it’s about the destination, not the journey. The real appeal lies in my ability to show off all my mouth-watering creations to my friends. Which I will, once I finish de-weeding my entire island until it’s fit for human eyes.