If you've been playing No Man's Sky Beyond and you've visited the new multiplayer hub, you may have already run into Cronus. He stands at a kiosk on the right side of the multidimensional space station, waiting to taste your food and spit out insults. He's Space Gordon Ramsay: Rude, picky, demanding, and easily the best alien in the entire game.
No Man's Sky Beyond added a nutrient processor you can use to create advanced bait, which not only allows you to tame and ride creatures (opens in new tab) but gather edible resources from them. Eggs. Honey. Milk. Other assorted goops and glops you can scrape from an alien when they view you in a positive light after you've charmed them with their favorite bait.
Refining, re-refining, and combing those edible secretions in your nutrient processor, along with gathered plants and hunks of meat (from creatures you, um, didn't make friends with) will produce various foods.
The food can be basic: putting raw meat in the nutrient processor will produce processed meat. Eggs will become baked eggs. Alien milk will become butter. Honey, for some reason, will become synthetic honey, which definitely doesn't sound like an improvement.
Keep refining and combining and you'll be able to cook actual complete meals. And once you've cooked something, you can bring it to Cronus, and he'll taste it and then mock your cooking skills. In fact, he'll eat and insult just about anything you've got.(opens in new tab)
The first time I met Cronus, the only food I had in my inventory was creature pellets, the most basic type of creature bait, which is fed to aliens simply to make them poop. I gave one to Cronus. He didn't poop, but he did—metaphorically—shit on my offering.
"I do not believe anything more unpleasant has passed my lips. How did you ruin creature pellets?" he said.
I also had carbon nanotubes in my pocket, which I didn't consider to be food—and neither did Cronus.
"I... I have eaten your carbon nanotubes," he said. "I have never regretted anything more."(opens in new tab)
Clearly, to impress Cronus I would have to do more then just rummage through my pockets for any technically edible items. I left The Nexus, flew to a nearby planet, gathered a few items and scraped some gunk off a few alien critters, and started using my nutrient processor in earnest. When I had a few more culinary creations and a few spare ingredients, I went back to Cronus to get his expert take.
"Well... You have created the most average fresh milk imaginable," he said. "Quite some achievement."
"I do not know what to tell you. I did not gag. That is the only positive of this Heptaploid Wheat."
"Consuming this creature egg is an insult to my body!"
"The primary sensation is not taste. It is blandness. Utter blandness."
"You dare to call this refined flour? Pah!"(opens in new tab)
Eventually, though, I did manage to win him over.
"Acceptable. Technically, this is synthetic honey. But it did not move me."
It was the closest thing to a compliment I'd gotten so far. Then I fed him a concoction I'd made from refined Star Bulbs, called Pilgrim's Tonic.
"Pilgrim's Tonic... this is not Pilgrims' Tonic," he said, and my heart sank.
"This is art. This is life!"
A twist! He actually likes my weird alien drink!
And I'd saved my best for last. My honey tart, which I'd made using milk and wheat to make butter and flour for a pastry, which I'd then processed into a pie crust, which I then filled with synthetic honey and cooked again.(opens in new tab)
Finally! Cronus not only approved of my alien honey tart, but he liked it better than any other alien honey tart he'd ever had. I was walking on air, and not just because I have a jetpack.
All those hours of squeezing secretions out of alien cows and slaving over a hot nutrient processor were worth it. Clearly, it's time to begin construction my alien restaurant. Just call me BlasterChef.