Heat before light

« Animals | Bed and shelter »

Next, you need to cook your meat before you get hungry, and also make torches to light up your shelter at night. To do this, you will need to craft a furnace.

Place it somewhere (generally next to your crafting table) so you can work with it. As it is made with cobblestone, you will have to use your pickaxe to collect it if you wish to relocate your furnace. If you haven't found coal, you will need to find an alternate heat source. Burning your wooden pickaxe will smelt exactly one item. From this, you can make a piece of charcoal, which will then allow you to smelt eight more items.
To make charcoal, you have to smelt blocks (logs) of wood. In furnaces, the top slot is the item to be smelted, and the bottom slot is the fuel. Place a wooden log in the top slot and your wood pick in the bottom to smelt the charcoal. Then you can put the charcoal in the fuel slot to smelt more items. It is generally advised to smelt more charcoal if you do not have a supply of coal.
Once you have your first pieces of charcoal, use that as fuel any time you have 8 or more items to smelt. Each piece will smelt 8 items (just like mined coal), and you have other uses for planks. If you have both coal and charcoal, use up the charcoal first and save the coal.
Now you can cook your food and make torches. Ration out a piece of coal/charcoal for the food, and cook the food just like smelting the wood above: food in the upper input box, fuel (coal) in the lower one. Even though it's first day, it's OK to “waste” some of a coal/charcoal lump if you have fewer than 8 pieces of meat.
Use the rest (up to 8 for now) of the coal or charcoal with some sticks to craft into torches. One log crafts into 8 sticks to match 8 pieces of coal or charcoal, producing 32 torches (half a stack.) Throughout the game, you will be crafting more and more torches as you need them, so always keep some coal or charcoal at hand.
Now you're prepared to light up your shelter.