Since I started play Dwarf Fortress I had some problems with game mechanics which wasn’t clear for me. So there is quick tutorial about food which could helps you in your starting phases.
Build kitchen / food storage / dining room
Food storage is basic thing which you must have build good. For me I’m building separated stockpile where I’m setting up just food to be stored here. For storing food and new food you must build barrels and is good to build doors to your food storage…
… I’m building this stockpile near kitchen and fisher to minimalize time to take food from stockpile to kitchen and work with it.
After that I’m building kitchen where could be prepared meals for mine dwarfs and fisher If I have access to river where fishes lives to organize this worker. It could be good build butcher but there depends on your surroundings of the fortress.
Above this complex you could see that is one “space” room which will be dining room for quick eating not for big celebrates and feast. At the start I minimalize everything to not cause problems.
This could be good place to start after that you must watch stats above the screen to identify if you have problems or not. In early phases you won’t have meat and it’s OK but you need to have food and drink or it’s going to be bad.
Where to get food?
There are several ways how you could get food. In early phases you will probably use fishing and gathering which are super easy. Another ways how to get food is hunting, farming, livestock, trapping and trading but on these ways we will look in separated articles.
You must build fishery for processing your catches fishes and after that you must setup zone for fishing. Is good to have two separated zones that are not close together because you can continuously catch all the fish and then your fisherman won’t work.
Fishing is not long term food source. You still must think about farming and trading because in later phases this way how to get food hasn’t good price x performance ratio.
Quick way if you have shortage of food. As we said above you must have prepared barrels and place in storage and if you will call for collection then everybody who doesn’t have another job goes out collecting…
… because they will get just raw food then you have to process it in kitchen. So this isn’t longterm way same as fishing but for first years could be enough for your dwarfs.
Where to get drinks?
Your dwarfs could drink water and alcohol. For the first you must setup water source zone where your dwarfs will gone to drink. This could be river or builded well where could your dwarfs drinking. But more accurate for them is beer and other types of alcohol. So in this you could focus in later phases.