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Here's the relevant ability from Xanathar's guide to Everything:

Prepare Meals. As part of a short rest, you can prepare a tasty meal that helps your companions regain their strength. You and up to five creatures of your choice regain 1 extra hit point per Hit Die spent during a short rest, provided you have access to your cook's utensils and sufficient food.

This ability comes as part of proficiency with cook's utensils.

Does this ability stack? Is there anything in the rules that would prevent it from stacking? I have a group where we allow custom backgrounds (per the rules in PHB), and three players out of the five independently took cook's utensils. I'm wondering if they all get +3 healing per Hit Die.

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It's limited by the need to actually eat the food.

Because Xanathar's was written entirely inside a Magic Circle Against Editing, the writers didn't think to say "You and up to five other creatures can eat the meal to regain 1 extra Hit Point, etc." But that's clearly what's happening.

What you're describing is each member of the party eating three complete meals in one hour. That's probably impossible, and even if it was possible, it's not clear that you'd get extra healing from it. If that worked, then since you can make six servings of food with Prepare Food, you could just as well eat all six servings yourself and get +6 HP per hit die. Nothing in the ability indicates that you can do that--it's a buff that applies to up to six creatures, not six buffs that you can distribute among creatures.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think that this is a sound and logical ruling, but I could see the fuzziness of HP allowing the opposite. Nutritious food might help an adventurer feel more hale and hearty, but it won't stitch any wounds closed. It could also matter if the cooking requires resources (like rations or forage), but that gets beyond the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Sep 20 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ While it seems sensible to rule against eating three meals in an hour, I think most players wouldn't bat an eye at a character chugging three gallons of healing potions and scarfing 30 goodberries in a shorter timeframe. \$\endgroup\$ – user2357112 supports Monica Sep 21 at 4:24
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No - Effects of the same name don't stack

After asking this question, I found a relevant tweet by Jeremy Crawford:

A class feature doesn't stack with itself. In fact, nothing in the game that has the same name stacks.

That means that two different instances of an effect named Prepare Meals wouldn't stack. You can't regain more than one extra hitpoint per Hit Die with this feature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Rather than the unofficial tweet, quoting the DMG errata would be a much better source. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 21 at 2:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ The actual DMG errata is specific to effects with overlapping durations (and it pretty much has to be - imagine if you could only benefit from drinking one Potion of Healing ever, because additional effects of the same name wouldn't stack). For the anti-stacking rule to apply here, you would have to rule that the durations of the effects overlap. There's no stated duration, and the argument for non-overlapping seems at least as strong as the argument for overlapping. \$\endgroup\$ – user2357112 supports Monica Sep 21 at 4:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2357112 I was about to quote XGE p5, which restates that same rule, although your argument about durations has convinced me that it might not apply. \$\endgroup\$ – Taxi4Dave Sep 21 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ The duration of 'Prepare Meals' is "As part of a short rest". Thus, you can benefit from a single instance of 'Prepare Meals' during a short rest. While someone might argue that players could try to 'abuse' it by cooking up a batch of tasty snacks during every short rest, I think that's actually the intent of the ability. The snacks provide the fuel the body needs to recover from the abuse of adventuring, and who doesn't feel better with fresh food during a break in your travels? \$\endgroup\$ – Theo Brinkman Sep 21 at 19:51

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