--Just kidding, sorry there is walls of text here too.
While I was kidding, what I said should be done. Cooking affects the economy the same exact way that farming would, only more so because it works WITH farming. Not only that, it opens up a branch of the economy geared toward "main stream" play (IE Food items.)
Alright, cooking is way easier to explain that farming. You make something hot. Done! Of course that is just the basics of cooking, in depth you could cook by making something cold "Banana Split", or fudge the numbers on your taxes. Needless to say, cooking (like farming) would be a helpful addition to the struggling economy. Not to mention the "all level" content that would be added
What does one cook? How do they cook it? WHERE do they cook it? There are those questions again! Well, surprise surprise I have an opinion on how to answer those
1) What does one cook?
Out of the three questions, this is by far the easiest to answer. To start, you would cook "real" versions of replicated foods. Those "real" versions would be better than the replicated counterparts, remember "I want real ice cream, not the synthesized substitute" (Paraphrased, Troi's reaction to the replicator systems)
2) How do they cook it?
This, unlike farming, has no easy answer to start. This needs a whole coded structure, that I have not witnessed in-game (yet). I suppose you could use the memory alpha again, but it seems "off" when it comes to cooking. Time would have to be a factor in preparation (of certain foods), not to mention precise calculations. That drink Guinan was making in "All Good Things" (I think), the one that evaporates if you are not super careful.
3) WHERE do they cook it?
Again, like farming, this is the best part! They could cook as a bartender in "Ten Forward", making drinks, and other bartendery type items. They could serve shifts in the "Mess Hall" cooking meals for their BOffs. Really, where they cook it is half of the fun. Don't want to mess with desserts? Dislike making candies? Well, as they say: "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!"
Of course, this would be "just another window" as well, but a window filled with "all level" content!
I don't really have any "points" to cooking. I feel this one really should sell itself, I mean we already have foods in-game, this would give us "better version" of that food that are player generated content at the same time. I know "technically" they are not, but if they are "enhanced" due to the skill level of the maker...then aren't they player generated?
I know this doesn't focus on "end level content" or "PvP" (directly) but it is something that could be implemented, in a relatively short term, that would give folks something to do to pass the time. Not to mention, having other things to do than just "pew-pew" IS fun, sometimes...
Anyway, there you have it. A basic concept for "cooking". The next topic will take longer to formulate, and it deals with "alchemy" (for lack of a better term) It delves into the realm of the science officer, and hypospray creation. (Think of it as creating "med-kits" that do more than just heal)