Can you imagine being a farmhand at a modest Hyrulian stable, when suddenly Link flies in on his paraglider, lands next to your campfire, cooks for 29 hours without sleeping and then teleports away in a puff of neon blue smoke? What about being a bandit in a fight with the hero of Hyrule himself, and just when you feel like you have him on the defensive, he stuffs 17 apples and an entire raw chicken into his face at an unnatural speed? Such is life for background characters in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
I used to joke that I wouldn’t play any video games unless they included a cooking minigame, which isn’t true but maybe it’s a little bit true. (It was definitely my excuse for not playing Gears of War when it came out in 2006, anyway.) So, of course, I was thrilled when Breath of the Wild came out, where the cooking minigame is less of a minigame and more of a primary game mechanic.
Cooking—and eating—are major parts of Breath of the Wild and I love that about it. My relationship with food and eating isn’t always as healthy as I’d like it to be, so the strong association between “eating meals” and “getting the energy and health your body needs” really resonated with me. Link needs to eat to stay strong, and so do I.
Naturally, the logical next step was wanting to actually eat some of the food from the game! There are a ton of recipes to choose from, but I was drawn to Hot Buttered Apples. It’s a simple recipe that you learn early in the game from Koko, the endearing older sister in Kakariko Village who enlists your help cooking for her younger sister. Plus, they look tasty, are easy to make, and aren’t something I’ve had before.
In the game, Hot Buttered Apples only have two ingredients: an apple and goat’s butter. Here’s what I put in mine:
- 8 apples
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Note that all these measurements are super approximate because I don’t measure out anything while I cook like a barbarian.
First I cored the apples using this powerful device that absolutely looks like it was designed for torture. I made the holes go all the way through, which wasn’t ideal because it didn’t hold in the dry ingredients as well as I hoped, but it was my first time using an apple corer so compromises had to be made.
Put the cored apples in a baking pan with a layer of warm water at the bottom of it. Combine the dry ingredients (the brown sugar and spices) in a bowl and then scoop it into the holes in the apples, and put a pat of butter on top of each one.
Then I baked the whole thing at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. They came out of the oven looking honestly amazing and smelling wonderful.
I made apples for my friends, because my friends also need to eat to stay strong and that’s why cooking for one’s friends is such a profound way to show them that you care about them. And what was the verdict?
They came out wonderful, warm, and comforting. One of my friends described them as tasting like “apple pie without the pie.” There was a little debate about whether they’d be better without the skin, but personally, I liked it. They really felt like the kind of food that Link might eat. Simple, rustic. Sweet, but still hearty. Food that feeds the body and the soul.
I even have the exact right fashion sense for my friends to be able to truthfully say, “a blonde weirdo in a green shirt broke into my house and just cooked for hours before leaving abruptly.” So I got to feed my friends and get compared to the hero of time on the same day. What could be better?