Baking is the art of turning various items into edible food. Many of you may be thinking "but why not just buy food from the vendors?"
There are several reasons to pursue baked foods:
stats - several player-baked foods now grant statistics (gained when the item is the first food item in your inventory). These stat bonuses stack with all buffs, and can be a boon to those trying to eke out every point in a stat (or resist) that they can get
weight - this is especially true for monks, since most baked goods weigh less (0.1) than most purchased foods
duration/yield - you can make long-lasting foods (hearty meals, banquets, etc.), as well as make several of some items at a time
price - since many of the items are scrounged from mob drops, relying on baked goods can save you money in the long run
satisfaction - now, truly, which would you rather bite into, an iron ration, or a nice juicy steak off that mammoth you just killed?
If any of this has sparked your interest, or you're trying to raise your baking skill for a quest, read on! ...