Salt and spice - PC helps themselves

Salt can be ingested with many different kinds of food, improving the taste. Human can survive for quite a while without salt, but that is neither healthy nor enjoyable.

The survivor needs salt. Salt gives certain comestible more morale bonus. Salt can be a type of vitamin. The problem is that we need a good UI. Making a salted version for every recipe, or requiring the player to manually feed their character daily salt, is not reasonable.

How can we make salt play a role without it annoying us? I suggest that the player character checks for nearby salt when they eats, and then automatically takes a little bit with their food. Eating food with salt adds +1 to enjoyability. Prolonged lack of salt gives certain status effects.

Similarly, the player character checks for nearby soy sauce, black pepper, cinnamon, vinegar, chili powder, sugar, maple syrup, sugar beet syrup, mayonnaise, horse radish, mustard, ketchup, red sauce, blueberry jam, strawberry jam, garlic, lemon, etc when they eats, and then automatically takes a little bit with their food. Eating food with condiment adds +1 to enjoyability. A survivor with a well-stocked kitchen can get more than +10 bonus( it may need to be capped).

Thus, the various spice and condiment becomes more useful, when they can be automatically consumed and then benefit the survivor.

Just to point out one probably unintended consequence of this. If we add condiments with meaningful effects, they effectively become mandatory.
Your proposal does address this by minimising micromanagement, but its still a concern.

If the effect is only raising morale, it is not very mandatory, not more so than mp3 player.

I’m trying to imagine what a dish with every condiment would taste like. probably more sweet than savoury, I doubt the combination would be pleasant though.

New taste for new world where the new fashion is french maid dress on blazer with heels, fedora, bride’s veil, and diamond dental grid.

I’d prefer not having every condiment on my food, thank you very much.

Also, quite a few recipes already use condiments in the recipe itself. For example, jams, ketchup and so on are regularly used for sandwiches - maple syrup is used in pancakes, chili powder is important for certain recipes too, and so on.
if your recipe already HAS that stuff in it, then you don’t need to put even more in it.

On a different note, what would ‘using’ a condiment mean exactly? Taking 1 charge off of it? Or does it just check if the condiment is available and then it just adds a morale boost or something else to it?
i’m asking because not actually using up the condiment would be OP since you only need to have 1 of each stored somewhere to get a massive boost - on the other hand, using up a charge is in some cases way too much condiment, in other cases way too little.

I think one charge is good enough, for simplicity.

puts one grain of salt on waffles Now theyre perfect

We’d need a whole new UI for that, to prevent using spices that are too valuable right now (say, early salt you’re hoarding for saline solutions).
And a category system to tell apart savory food, sweet food, food that already includes spices or just won’t accept any, food that only takes very specific spices and so on.
Then someone would need to go through existing definitions and apply the new system.

The UI would not be mandatory, but ability to turn the spicing off would be.
Category system would be mandatory to prevent spicing up steak with ketchup, soup with mustard, water with mayo, meat jerky with salt, caramel with sugar and so on.
And the last part is obviously the hardest. I would not bother doing anything towards implementing that system until someone explicitly volunteered and promised to update at least ~30% of the food items in the game.

I know a guy who would disagree with you on that one.

Also, we’d also need to standardise a bit, since some of the components have much larger volumes than others. Jam is an obvious example, as 1 charge is enough for an entire jam sandwich. Putting 1 ‘unit’ of salt on a steak and putting 1 unit of jam on a steak shouldn’t just be enjoyment bonus if we’re using up 15 nutrition worth of jam to do it. (like ketchup, please don’t put jam on steaks)