From Dwarf Fortress Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Back to the main tutorial page

Cooking and changing labors[edit]

Go to the dining hall area (F2) and in the 3x3 nook south of the food storage area place a kitchen workshop‡ (b-w-z). If you unpause the game you'll note that none of your dwarves will come to build the kitchen. This is because none of your dwarves has the cooking labor enabled. Any dwarf can perform any labor, even without any skill at it, as long as the labor is enabled. Use the units screen‡ (u) and zoom in on _____. Use v-p-l to modify active labors‡, make sure the cursor is over _______, scroll down with + to an select Farming/Related, press Enter, scroll up with - to select Cooking, hit Enter again, then Esc twice to return to the main menu. ____ will now go build the kitchen.

Go back to the kitchen (F2) and interact with it (q). This will give you three different types of meal to prepare, and the currently unusable Render fat. "Easy meal" produces a meal with two ingredients, "fine meal" produces a meal with three ingredients, and "lavish meal" produces a meal with four ingredients. Note that the prepare meal commands have no means to control which ingredients are used. For that we have to exit from the kitchen and go to the kitchen sub-screen of the status screen‡ (z--Enter):


Ingredients marked with Cook are available for your dwarves to cook, while ones marked with Cook your dwarves will ignore when cooking. All seeds start out with cooking disabled, since you want to use them for farming‡, but after your fortress has been running for a long time you might have enough seeds that you can safely cook a few. All of your booze starts out as cookable, which we want to prevent, since we want to reserve booze for drinking. Scroll down ( and ) to the booze lines and toggle the cooking permissions off with c. Also turn off the cooking permission all of the various plants (everything but the meat), since cooking them destroys the seeds they contain, while eating them raw leaves behind a seed.

Now go back to the kitchen and add a Prepare Lavish Meal job. Four different types of meat will be gathered and turned into a twenty serving "roast"; cooked meat takes a lot longer to rot than raw meat, so you want to cook any meat you have as soon as possible. Note that a 20 item stack‡ like that is too big to fit inside of a barrel, so it will be placed directly onto the floor. This is nothing to worry about: there is no food contamination in the game (yet) so it won't pick up germs from sitting on the ground, and the combination of it being in a food stockpile and it being cooked will keep it from rotting for a long time.


Now enable the fishing labors for _____ (the Fishing labor under the Fishing/Related labor group). _____ will go to one of the murky pools on the surface and start fishing for turtles. Note that if you look (k) in the pool you won't see any turtles there, since the turtles which are fished come directly out of a "fishable turtles" counter which isn't reflected by the turtles actually being in the pool. If you do see a turtle it isn't one that you can fish. In fact, it's possible to for there to be no turtles available for fishing but to see some turtles swimming in a pool or walking on the ground.

After a while, there'll be a few stacks‡ of raw turtle next to the pool:


Once you have a few, turn off the fishing labor and turn on the fish cleaning labor. Then go down to the level with the farm and install a fishery workshop‡ (b-w-h):


Once the fishery is complete _____ will start turning the raw turtles into turtle meat and turtles shells. The shells are the important part, since they're often used in strange moods‡. Set up a refuse stockpile‡ in the space next to the fishery and set it to only accept shells , bones, and fresh raw hides, so the shells will be moved out of the fishery.

Butchery, rendering fat and tanning hides[edit]

Turn on the butchery labor for _______ (under the Farming/Related labor group), and build a butcher's shop on the farm level:


There's two ways to mark a tame animal for butchering. One it to use "view units" mode (v) on the animal while the mode is set to change labors. This will show Read for Slaughter (N); s will then toggle it to (Y). The second way is to go to the animals‡ sub-screen of the status screen‡ status screen (z-Enter), scroll down to the animal you want ( and ), and press b, which will make the screen show Ready for Slaughter. Either way, mark the ________ for slaughter. _______ will lead the animal to the butchery, and you'll get the message ________ has been struck down. Now pause the game.

First, go to the units screen‡ (u) . The slaughtered animal will be at the bottom of the list, marked as Deceased. This will stay in the units list for the entire game, so the end of the list can grow quite long after a while.

Second, look at the items inside of the butchery. There's quite a lot of stuff in there. In addition to the meat, there's prepared organs, fat, bones, skin, and miscellaneous useless stuff. There's so many items that the butcher's shop has become cluttered, as can be seen by the ☼CLT☼. This level of clutter will slow down using the butchery's shop by 10 times, so unpause the game to let your dwarves haul the items to the relevant stockpiles, leaving the shop empty. In addition to doing that, ______ will also automatically render the fat into tallow.

We still have one thing left to do with the butchery output: tan the fresh raw hide into leather. Turn on the tanning labor for _______ (under the Farming/Related labor group), and build a tanner's shop on the farm level:


______ will automatically tan the fresh raw hide into leather. You can leave the piece of leather in the tanner's shop for now.

Now that we have the butcher's shop and tanner's shop set up, mark the ________ for butchery as well, and wait for all the results to be processed. Once that's all done, it's time to cook the results. Ggo to the kitchen (F2, and interact with it (q) to add a Cook Lavish Meal (a-+-+-Enter). However, while still interacting with the kitchen, press r to make the job repeat. A R will appear next to the job, indicating that lavish meals will keep being made until there isn't enough food left to make another one. Exit the shop and let the game run for a while, and you'll get the announcement ______ cancels Prepare Lavish Meal: Needs unrotten cookable item. You might still have some food left to cook, it's just that a lavish meal needs at least four separate food items to cook, so you'll get the cancellation message if you have only two or three. Next try adding a Prepare Fine Meal job to the kitchen, which only needs three food items. If that fails, try Prepare Easy Meal, which only needs two. If that fails as well, you have either one or zero cookable food items left.

Next tutorial article[edit]

Digging deeper.


  • Cooking easy, fine and lavish meals is a bit strange, since the different types of cooking jobs don't deal with the absolute size of the meal made, but the number of item stacks‡ used to make them. For example, if you have two separate stacks of whale meat, each with 50 pieces, you can cook that as an easy meal since it only involves two stacks of food, even though it results in a meal containing 100 servings. On the other hand, if you have one piece of cow meat, one piece of horse meat, one piece of donkey meat and once piece of yak meat, you can cook them into a lavish meal since it's four different stacks, even though it will make a meal containing only four servings.
  • Cooked meals have a quality level. Eating high quality meals should give all of your dwarves a happy thought, but there's a bug which makes it so that a happy thought is gained only if the meal contains one of the foods which the dwarf has a preference for.
  • The fishery and butcher's shop are placed underground because, by default, any remains found outside aren't moved to stockpiles (where "remains" includes bones and shells). To make your dwarves collect gather remains which are found outside, change the Dwarves Ignore Refuse From Outside standing order (o-r-o).
  • A bug makes it so that just a single body part from a large animal like _____ or _____ will be so large that it will clutter a workshop. This means that the tanning jobs that you did took ten times longer than they should have.
  • There are some jobs that dwarves will do automatically. You can control which jobs are done automatically via Current Workshop Orders (o-W).
  • Due to a bug, the only way to butcher a tame animal is by marking it for slaughter while it's still alive. If a tame animal dies in any other way and leaves behind a corpse, then the corpse will be unbutcherable, and the only thing you'll be able to do will be to put it in a refuse stockpile.