Heads up: Very mild world-related (not narrative) spoilers here.
Scavenging and cooking in Breath of the Wild is far and away one of the most important aspects of exploration. In all of the Twitch clips and TV commercials you're going to see epic boss battles and scaling of mountains because, hey, that stuff is just more fun to watch, right? But when you're actually playing the game, cooking certain kinds of dishes to heal you, buff you, and protect you from certain elements is absolutely vital to your survival.
Nintendo has urged everyone to be very experimental with their cooking, trying all kinds of ingredients at all times of day to see what happens. That wasn't just their way of saying, "go nuts and see what you come up with!" While that's certainly part of the appeal, there's actually a cooking secret that Nintendo was wanting you to discover which relates to a very specific, reoccurring cosmic event in Breath of the Wild.
Warning: Light Spoilers Ahead
Every now and then in Breath of the Wild something very peculiar and creepy will happen. When the sun goes down and the shroud of darkness surrounds you, sometimes you may witness the blood moon rising. Generally the blood moon is feared because, as it reaches its apex in the night sky, all of the enemies that you have vanquished will return from the dead and repopulate the land. That gives the blood moon a bad rap, but for the cooks out there, it's a blessing in disguise.
Whenever you cook during a blood moon, you're guaranteed a critical success with your dish. Critical successes are triggered randomly and rarely while cooking. Sometimes when you cook you may notice a different, more exciting jingle playing in the background leading to the revelation of your dish. This is always an exciting surprise, but if you cook during a blood moon, you're guaranteed a very special dish.
Depending on what you're cooking and what you use in your dish, a critical success will always add one of the following special bonus effects:
- Three extra hearts
- An extra yellow heart
- An extra two-fifths stamina wheel regeneration (or bonus yellow wheel)
- Dish effect duration increased by five minutes
- Dish effect is raised one level (e.g. a minor stealth boost will be upgraded to a moderate stealth boost)
As you can see, a critical success when cooking dishes is a huge plus, and will help you to conserve ingredients while crafting tremendously useful plates and elixirs. So the next time you see that blood moon, don't sweat it! Get to the nearest cooking bowl and make something special. Note that you can also guarantee a critical success by including a dragon part or star fragment in your dish.