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Item Classes
" Amulets [ Armor
% Comestibles $ Coins
* Gems ! Potions
= Rings ? Scrolls
+ Spellbooks ` Statues and Boulders
( Tools / Wands
) Weapons
This article is about long-lasting comestibles. For other corpses, see corpse.

A comestible % is anything edible; it is food. You eat food with the e command.

There are several types of comestibles in NetHack. While it is possible to ascend without eating, having a sufficient supply of food is important because without it, you will usually die from hunger. You must eat food to survive, though less frequently when you wear a ring of slow digestion.

Note that the word edible does not imply that you should eat it. Some food is bad to eat. For example, some corpses are poisonous.

List of comestibles Edit

meatball 5 1 0 5 5 1 5
meat ring 5 1 0 5 5 1 5
meat stick 5 1 0 5 5 1 5
egg 9 1 85 80 80 1 80
tripe ration 15 10 140 200 20 2 100
huge chunk of meat 105 400 0 2000 5 20 100
kelp frond 6 1 0 30 30 1 30
eucalyptus leaf 6 1 3 30 30 1 30
clove of garlic 7 1 7 40 40 1 40
sprig of wolfsbane 7 1 7 40 40 1 40
apple 7 2 15 50 25 1 50
carrot 7 2 15 50 25 1 50
pear 7 2 10 50 25 1 50
banana 9 2 10 80 40 1 80
orange 9 2 10 80 40 1 80
melon 10 5 10 100 20 1 100
slime mold 17 5 75 250 50 1 250
fortune cookie 7 1 55 40 40 1 40
candy bar 10 2 13 100 50 1 100
cream pie 10 10 25 100 10 1 100
lump of royal jelly 15 2 0 200 100 1 200
pancake 15 2 25 200 100 2 100
C-ration 20 10 0 300 30 1 300
K-ration 25 10 0 400 40 1 400
cram ration 35 15 20 600 40 3 200
food ration 45 20 380 800 40 5 160
lembas wafer 45 5 20 800 160 2 400
tin 5 10 75 vary vary vary vary
lichen corpse 5 20 0 200 10 3 66
lizard corpse 5 10 0 40 4 3 13
other corpses 5 vary 0 vary vary vary vary

Sources of food Edit

  • Some monsters have a chance of dropping a corpse.
  • Sokoban always contains a large amount of food, though whether it is all fit for normal consumption is a question to be answered when you get there.
  • Antholes and beehives sometimes contain food.
  • Ice boxes may contain up to 20 fresh corpses.
  • A horn of plenty dispenses a random food item or potion when applied
  • Soldiers often carry C- or K-Rations, so places with a large concentration of soldiers (such as Fort Ludios) are a good place to find these rations.

Rotten food[1]Edit

Blessed comestibles have just as good a chance of being rotten as uncursed comestibles. Blessed non-corpse comestibles can be older before they check for a random chance of rotting.

Cursed non-corpse comestibles other than fortune cookies are always rotten.

Once you get the "Blecch! Rotten <food>!" message, you "pick off the manky bits" and the food item is safe to eat only for the very next turn (thus "You resume your meal."). Otherwise you are guaranteed to get a "Blecch! Rotten <food>!" message with a chance at another rotten effect when you next bite into the food. Arguably, the safety on resuming is a bug in the "resume your meal" code.

Rotten (but not food poisoning-inducing) corpses will still grant intrinsics with their normal likelyhood.

Food strategy Edit

Some adventurers don't carry enough food to the dungeon entrance. Recall from the Guidebook:

"In the morning you awake, collect your belongings, and set off for the dungeon. After several days of uneventful travel, you see the ancient ruins that mark the entrance to the Mazes of Menace. It is late at night, so you make camp at the entrance and spend the night sleeping under the open skies. In the morning, you gather your gear, eat what may be your last meal outside, and enter the dungeon..."

While you packed enough food for "several days" of journey, by the time you actually get inside, you don't have much food with you. Some roles start the game with a small pile of 2 food rations, but some roles didn't think ahead, and start with no food at all. In any case, one of the early goals of the game is to secure an adequate food supply.

To stay alive, many players at the start of their dungeon exploration will eat the corpses of their slain enemies. It is common to find adventurers eating the remains of anything that their pet does not reach first. Care must be taken, of course, as some corpses are poisonous or may cause other problems (e.g., hallucination). Even harmless corpses "taste terrible." Those concerned with keeping the vegan or vegetarian conduct will also be more discerning in eating the corpses of their vanquished foes.

Early on, easy to find sources for food include the corpses of gnomes and dwarves in the Gnomish Mines, and the guaranteed food in Sokoban. If you are a gnome or dwarf, then feasting in the Mines may be problematic, unless you are a cave(wo)man. Also, gnome corpses only give 100 nutrition - not very much. The stores in Minetown may also have food. Sokoban, with its food and wands, is a sensible early target, even if one doesn't finish the whole area.

Lower in the main dungeon, one can sometimes find beehives and Antholes. Beehives contain royal jelly, and Antholes will contain one food item per square, which should yield a reasonable stack of food rations. Fort Ludios, if it exists, is filled with many well-provisioned soldiers, and the Castle will also provide a large supply of C- and K-Rations. Be aware that using the drawbridge to clear the Castle will destroy the food supply.

Even then, the supply is finite, so some players continue to eat monster corpses. Random Number God helpfully continues to provide them. Monster corpses may be stored for later use in tins using the tinning kit, or in ice boxes. Tainted, poisonous, or acidic corpses are neutralized by tinning; hallucination, stoning, and sliming are not.

Should I eat dessert first?Edit

When an adventurer is able to obtain several different types of comestibles in their inventory, the next question is:

"What should I eat first?"

Since different foods pack differing amounts of nutrition into a given size, it makes the most sense to eat non-efficient foods first. This way, you minimize the amount of your carrying-capacity used for food. Using the NUTR/WGT column in the table above, we see that lembas wafers are the most weight-efficient forms of nutrition in NetHack (excepting prayer, of course!), with royal jelly, pancakes and candy bars closely following the Elven treats. Therefore, the adventurer is generally advised to eat other foodstuffs first.

Cream pies and meatballs are particularly inefficient for travel, but they have other uses that may out-weigh their low NUTR/WGT factor.

Tins weigh 10 and vary in nutrition, but only puréed monsters and spinach equal or exceed the NUTR/WGT of rations. So any unidentified tin should probably be eaten before any other food. (Plus you'd hope to get the benefits of spinach or floating eye corpses sooner than later.)

In order of increasing nutrition per unit weight:

  1. Tins
  2. Meatballs, huge chunks of meat
  3. Cream pies
  4. Tripe (may make you sick!)
  5. Fruits and Vegetables
  6. Food rations, fortune cookies
  7. Candy bar
  8. Pancakes and royal jelly
  9. Lembas wafers

Of course, other factors in deciding the menu for today's meal can include the benefits conferred by eating each food (e.g. intrinsics, healing), the dietary needs of pets, and if your inventory slots are constrained because you don't have a container. You may wish to leave lembas until the ascension run, so you can carry more loot for score.

When forced to eat in combat situations (especially when confronting famine in the astral plane), eating the food that has the most time-efficient (has the best NUTR/TIME factor) first could prove a better option. K-Rations are the usual choice here, as they contain a fair bit of nutrition, but are consumed in only 1 turn.

Alternatives to eatingEdit

Main article: foodless

It is possible to ascend without eating food. There are several techniques available for this, and most require the use of a ring of slow digestion because in real games they do not tend to yield much nutrition per time. These include:

  • Praying - Your god may make your stomach content, setting your nutrition to 900. Being weak or fainting increases your chances of success because that is considered a major trouble. This is not possible in Gehennom, where your prayers are never answered positively.
  • Polymorphing - your hunger is reset when you polymorph into a new you. If you polymorph into a xorn or other metallivore, you can eat metallic items to sate your hunger -- this violates the foodless conduct, but preserves the vegan conduct, except perhaps if you eat a tin.
  • Life Saving - an amulet of life saving will revive you with at least 900 nutrition, regardless if starvation was what actually killed you. While you may die from starvation, you'll get better and may still ascend.
  • Liquid diet - Potions of fruit juice, potions of water, potions of booze (preferably blessed) and sipping from fountains each give a small amount of nutrition. It is possible to live off of this, but the maths works out such that only tourists can generate enough potions with the blessed Platinum Yendorian Express Card, a horn of plenty, and a ring of slow digestion.
  • Initial nutrition - it is possible to ascend without ever gaining nutrition if you are fast (and lucky) enough.


  1. [rotten food mythbuster]

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