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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.

The word edible means that you can eat it. It does not imply that you should eat it. Some food is bad to eat. For example, some corpses are poisonous. Unless you are poison resistant, it is probably a bad idea to eat them.

Separately, corpses that are too old can cause food poisoning, a lethal affliction similar to illness. This is indicated by "FoodPois" on the status line, and is not prevented by having poison resistance.

Normally, if you don't eat, you will eventually die from hunger. There are several ways to postpone or prevent such a death, so it is possible to ascend without eating (see foodless for more information).

Another important reason to eat is that some comestibles give you useful intrinsics or improve your abilities. For instance, tins of spinach and royal jelly both increase your strength. For more information about beneficial and harmful effects of corpses, see Corpse#Corpse benefits and dangers.

Some monsters also eat comestibles. There are also monsters who eat things besides comestibles, e.g., metallivores eat metal items. If you polymorph into such a monster, you will also be able to eat such items.

List of comestibles

Item Cost Wgt Prob Nutr Nutr/Wgt Time Nutr/Time Conduct
food ration 45 20 380 800 40 5 160 vegan
cram ration 35 15 20 600 40 3 200 vegan
C-ration 20 10 0 300 30 1 300 vegan
K-ration 25 10 0 400 40 1 400 vegan
tripe ration 15 10 140 200 20 2 100 none
lembas wafer 45 5 20 800 160 2 400 vegan
cream pie 10 10 25 100 10 1 100 vegetarian
pancake 15 2 25 200 100 2 100 vegetarian
candy bar 10 2 13 100 50 1 100 vegetarian
fortune cookie 7 1 55 40 40 1 40 vegetarian
tin (homemade) 5 10 —* 50 5 varies varies varies
tin of spinach (blessed) 5 10 0.625* 600 60 1–2 450 vegan
tin of spinach (uncursed) 5 10 11.25* 401–600 50.05 varies varies vegan
tin of spinach (cursed) 5 10 0.625* 201–600 40.05 varies varies vegan
tin (other) 5 10 62.5* varies varies varies varies varies
apple 7 2 15 50 25 1 50 vegan
orange 9 2 10 80 40 1 80 vegan
banana 9 2 10 80 40 1 80 vegan
sprig of wolfsbane 7 1 7 40 40 1 40 vegan
pear 7 2 10 50 25 1 50 vegan
slime mold 17 5 75 250 50 1 250 vegan
clove of garlic 7 1 7 40 40 1 40 vegan
melon 10 5 10 100 20 1 100 vegan
carrot 7 2 15 50 25 1 50 vegan
eucalyptus leaf 6 1 3 30 30 1 30 vegan
kelp frond 6 1 0 30 30 1 30 vegan
meatball 5 1 0 5 5 1 5 none
meat ring 5 1 0 5 5 1 5 none
meat stick 5 1 0 5 5 1 5 none
huge chunk of meat 105 400 0 2000 5 20 100 none
egg 9 1 85 80 80 1 80 vegetarian
lump of royal jelly 15 2 0 200 100 1 200 vegetarian
corpse (lichen) 5 20 0 200 10 3 66 vegan
corpse (lizard) 5 10 0 40 4 3 13 none
corpse (other) 5 varies 0 varies varies varies varies varies
* For details on the probability of randomly generated tins, see the tin article.


Comestibles comprise 20% of all randomly-generated items in the main dungeon, 15% in containers, 22% on the Rogue level, and 16% in Gehennom. All comestibles except for tins are normally generated uncursed. Non-corpse comestibles have a chance of being generated in stacks of two: the chance is 12 (50%) for kelp frond[1] and 16 (16.7%) for other food.[2]

Sources of food

  • Many monsters have a chance of leaving a corpse when killed.
  • Sokoban always contains a large amount of food.
  • Antholes and beehives usually 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.

Eating comestibles

When you eat any comestible other than a tainted corpse or a rotten tin, you receive its nutrition value. The nutrition is provided uniformly during eating, e. g. if an item takes 5 turns to eat, then after 2 turns of eating eat you receive 40% of its nutrition value. See nutrition for more information.

When you eat a corpse, many good or bad things may happen. See corpse for more information.

Most comestibles have a chance of being rotten. Cursed non-corpse comestibles are almost always rotten, most others have 1/7 chance of being rotten. If a comestible is rotten, eating it may cause ill effects, and will only grant half its usual nutrition value. See the #Rotten food section below for more information. You will not know that a comestible is rotten until you eat it.

Tin are either from a monster (called tin of foo meat, or just tin of foo, if it is vegetable), or are tins of spinach.

Before you eat a tin, you are notified what monster (or spinach) it is made of. ("It smells like (monsters). Eat it?", or "It constans spinach. Eat it?" or "It contains some decaying (green) substance. Eat it?", if it is a cursed tin of spinach.) If you chose not to eat it, you "discard the open tin" and it is gone.

Tins of a monster (meat), when eaten, mostly cause the same effects as the monster corpse. For example, eating a tin of a domestic dog, unless you are an orc or a caveman, will give you the aggravate monster intrinsic, as if you ate the corpse of a domestic dog. There are, however, important differences:

  • Depending on what are you wielding, and whether the tin is blessed, it may take a while to open the tin. However, if you wield a blessed tin opener, the tin will open immediately.
  • Eating a tin takes only 1 turn.
  • Most of these tins are not very nutritious. For most tins, the nutrition value is 20-100. Only pureed tins have a nutrition value of 500. This can be advantageous: e.g., if you have 4 corpses of stone giants, you will hardly be able to eat more than one; but if you tin them, you will likely be able to eat all four without choking.
    • The nutrition value of a tin does not depend on the monster. It depends on the preparation method, which is determined randomly when you open the tin.
    • Some tins are rotten. Their nutrition value is effectively 0, and they case vomiting, which, in turn, makes you more hungry.
    • For tins made with a tinning kit, the preparation method is either homemade (6/7 cases, nutrition value 50) or rotten (1/7 cases). However, blessed tinning kits produce blessed tins, which are never rotten.
  • Even if a corpse is old, tins of its meat made with a tinning kit will be fresh (although they have the normal chance of being rotten).
  • Tinning poisonous or acidic monsters neutralizes the poison/acid and makes them safe to eat.
  • Some tins (fried, french fried) make your fingers slippery for a while. Weapons you are wielding will fall to the ground, and rings will slip off your fingers.

See tin for more information.

1/6 of randomly generated tins contain spinach. A non-cursed tin of spinach increases intrinsic strength (unless it is already at maximum). Its nutritional value is as high as 600.

There are also empty tins. One way to get an empty tin is to wish for a tin of a genocided monster. They provide no nutrition.

Eggs become stale after 400 turns. A stale egg makes you nauseated for 10d4 (more) turns[3] ("Ugh. Rotten egg."), thus being a good source of confusion. Wand of undead turning rejuvinates eggs. While 2/3 of newly generated eggs are just eggs, 1/3 are eggs of a random non-aquatic, egg laying monster (which therefore may eventually hatch if fresh). If the monster happens to be cockatrice or chickatrice, you get delayed petrification unless resistant.[4][5] Unless you identified the egg, you will not know it is a footrice egg until you eat it. There are no other effects from eating eggs (e.g., eggs never confer intrinsics).

Eating some other foods also produces special effects[6]:

  • Tripe rations sometimes give you 1 point of experience. More importantly, unless you are an orc, caveman, or polymorphed into a (non-human) carnivore, they have a chance of making you nauseous.[7]
  • Garlic makes you nauseous if you are undead.[8]
  • A sprig of wolfsbane, even a cursed one, cures lycanthropy.
  • Carrots, even cursed ones, cure blindness, except blindness caused by throwing a cream pie into your face.
  • A fortune cookie "has a scrap of paper inside." Unless blind, eating it will cause you to read a rumor, which is true/random/false for blessed/uncursed/cursed fortune cookies. (If blind, you instead get the message "What a pity that you cannot read it!")
  • A non-cursed Lump of royal jelly:
    • increases your strength by one
    • delivers 1-20 hit points. If your hp is now higher than your current maximum, it has a 1/17 chance of increasing your maximum hit points by one, and then sets your hit points to to the new maximum
    • cures wounded legs
  • A cursed Lump of royal jelly increases your strength by one but decreases your hit points by 1-20, and does not cure wounded legs.
  • A non-cursed eucalyptus leaf cures sickness and nausea.
  • Cursed apples send you to sleep for 20-30 moves, unless you are sleep resistant. ("You hear sinister laughter as you fall asleep...", or "You fall asleep" if deaf, or "Heigh-ho, ho-hum, I think I'll skip work today." for hallucinating dwarves.) This is a reference to Snow White.

Rotten food

Most foodstuffs have a chance of being rotten. (Not to be confused with tainted food, which is much more serious but only affects corpses.) For most comestibles, this chance is applied when the food is first eaten and cannot be determined in advance.

  • The following comestibles are never rotten: lembas wafers, cram rations,[9] fortune cookies,[10] lizard corpses, and lichen corpses.[11]
  • Cursed non-corpse comestibles other than specified above are always rotten.[12]
  • Non-cursed non-corpse comestibles are never rotten if their age is not more than 30 (if uncursed) or 50 (if blessed).[13]
  • Tainted, "old", poisonous corpses are never rotten in this sense. Acidic corpses are never rotten unless you have acid resistance.[14]
  • All other comestibles have a 17 chance of being rotten.[15][16]

Upon beginning to eat rotten food, you get the "Blecch! Rotten <food>!" message, and one of the following occurs:[17]

  • You are confused for 2d4 (more) turns. "You feel rather light-headed" (or "You feel rather trippy" if hallucinating).
  • You are blinded for 2d10 turns. "Everything suddenly goes dark." Never happens if you are already blind.
  • You pass out for 1–10 turns. During that time, you are deaf. Sleep resistance doesn't help. "The world spins and goes dark" or "The world spins and you slap against the (ground/saddle/...)" or "The world spins and you lose control of yourself". Which of the messages you receive depends on your blindness, levitation, and what kind of level you are on.
  • Nothing happens.

The chances of each outcome depend on whether you are blind or not.[17]

Outcome Not blind Blind
Confusion 14 14
Blindness 316 0
Pass out 316 14
Nothing 38 12

If a comestible is rotten, you only receive half its nutrition value (e.g. 400 instead of 800 for a rotten food ration). Rotten wraith corpses will "rot away completely" without giving you an experience level.

Food strategy

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). 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.

At lower depths, very nutritious monsters such as giants are not uncommon, so food is rarely an issue. The tinning kit can be used to tin very large corpses such as dragon corpses if the player would be too satiated to eat them normally.

Should I eat dessert first?

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. Lizard corpses
  2. Homemade Tins, stone to flesh products
  3. Cream pies, Lichen corpses
  4. Tripe (may make you sick!)
  5. Fruits and Vegetables
  6. C-rations
  7. Food rations, cram rations (slightly better for dwarves), K-rations, fortune cookies
  8. Slime molds (or however the "fruit" option is set), Candy bar
  9. Pancakes and royal jelly
  10. 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 whether 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 offers the most time-efficient nutrition (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 eating

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 these techniques 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. Thus, 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 math works out so 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.


Some new food stuff in SLASH'EM.

The pill and the mushroom have random effects.

tortilla % 9 2 ? 80 40 1? 80 Vegetarian.
holy wafer % 12 1 ? 150 150 1 150 Vegetarian. Cures sickness or lycanthropy (unless your starting race is lycanthrope, in which case it damages you and reduces your strength and constitution). Restores HP if you're lawful, and does non-fatal damage if you're chaotic
Asian pear % 8 2 ? 75 37.5 1 75 Vegan.
Sandwich % 10 10 ? 100 10 1 100
mushroom % 9 5 ? 90 18 1 90 Vegan. Can cause poisoning, stunning, hallucination, or increase strength by 1.
cheese % 17 2 ? 250 125 2 125 Vegetarian.
pill % ? Vegetarian. Can grant a wish, make you very fast, increase your nutrition, put you to sleep, poison you, stun you, or cause hallucination.
food ration 45 20 380 800 40 5 160 Normal food rations, For reference


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