The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild‘s simple cooking was one of the most deliciously useful parts of the game when it came to repairing hearts or stamina, and it’s no surprise that the mechanic returns in Tears of the Kingdom. But while cooking has always been important in Nintendo’s current take on Hyrule, Tears of the Kingdom‘s new portable pot changes things up so significantly technologically that it’s fair to call it one of the most powerful tools Link has ever had in his arsenal.
Despite it taking place shortly after Breath of the Wild – a story where Link is meant, but not requiredto acquire some skills, powers and armor that make him stronger – Tears of the Kingdom takes you back to square one and leaves Link quite vulnerable. As the game begins, it isn’t long before Link encounters a “new” (but apparently outdated, worn-out) toga number and a pair of strappy sandals that look very nice, but offer him little defensive protection against the mechanical Zonai creatures which he encounters in the air – many of which are ready to attack as soon as they see them.
Eventually, a sturdier armor with proper defense and specialized protection against elemental damage presents itself organically as you fight your way through Tears of the Kingdom‘s many dungeons. But long before that happens, Tears of the Kingdom first presents you with the Humble Portable Pot, one of the more basic, uncomplicated and plentiful Zonai devices you can receive from one of the many Zonai device dispensers scattered around Hyrule.
Unlike many other Zonai devices that can do multiple things, the portable pot is really only good for one thing, and they can only be used to prepare a few meals. But the fact that you can take dozens of portable pans with you anywhere and use them reliably to cook whatever you have the ingredients for, anytime you want makes it one of them Tears of the Kingdom‘s most powerful tools due to the influence of food and elixirs on Link.
As in Breath of the Wild, consuming the right types of food or monster potions will give Link a variety of different buffs, such as extra hearts, speed, and more attack power or defensive durability. But unlike in Breath of the Wild, where you could actually only prepare full meals in fixed places where there happened to be a lit cooking surface, Tears of the Kingdom‘s portable jars travel with you, allowing you to make some emergency pots in an instant. This is especially useful if you’re a few floors deep in a dungeon or in the middle of a boss fight and find yourself needing extra vitality or strength in a pinch you didn’t see coming.
Because this way of cooking is part of Zelda since Breath of the Wild, it can be difficult at first to realize how valuable the portable pots are. But as you play the game, you can see how the heaters serve a similar function to Link’s new fusing ability. Using fuse in Tears of the Kingdom allows you to combine weapons, shields, and other consumables to become more powerful versions of themselves, and the mechanic encourages you to get into the habit of collecting resources along the way. Fuse that’s always with you has a way of making you hyper aware of all the potential uses that things like boulders, missiles, or Keese Eyeballs have, encouraging you to keep them handy just in case.
In Breath of the Wild, you could always cook things in advance and save them for when you needed them most, but that style of play required a bit of planning ahead and remembering which ingredients made which food. However, with Link’s portable pot and new recipe book, all you have to worry about is keeping your pantry (or where he keeps all his stuff) stocked enough, so that if and when you want to make something, you can, at provided you have enough space to work without being attacked to death.
Having a collection of breakable stoves isn’t as instantly impressive as having glowing telekinesis or the power to magically rewind local time, which is probably why Nintendo hasn’t spent as much time hypening the portable jars. But anyone who’s ever had a Moblin attack on the back of their head while wearing one of Link’s skinnier outfits knows how quickly Tears of the Kingdom will show you the game and tell you to start over.
Of course, the long-term fashionable solution is to simply seek out one of Hyrule’s Great Fairies and pay her to make your favorite outfit as strong as possible. But until you’ve played enough of the game to know where the Great Fairies are (and have enough throwaway money to pay for their services), the portable pot is one of your best bets to stay alive and formidable enough to become Princess Zelda. find.