Gaming as an industry has developed a habit of thinking that more in any respect is better. The focus on a lot of games is the size of the map, the number of characters, the number of hours you can get out of it and other such numerical, quantifiable elements.
Thus, a lot of features in games simply exist... because they can, filed under the umbrella term of "immersion".
You aren't forced to play the entirety of the game, so feel free to pass by the cooking mini-games, but sometimes valuable development time is poured into creating features and mechanics that have literally no meaningful function.
Even today when games are more expensive than ever, these mechanics keep cropping up, with no one contesting their inclusion despite not having any impact at all.
Ranging from busywork to time wasters that don't have any bearing on the story or core progression, I'm not talking about mini-games as they tend to have some enjoyment factor within a game, but instead the mechanics that have less functionality than even the most throwaway minigames.
10. Hunting - Tomb Raider
The beginning to Tomb Raider was incredibly baffling. It put a massive focus on survival, with the tutorial for the bow (the main weapon in the game) focussing around hunting. It made it seem like this was going to be a central mechanic, with the player having to stalk prey and remember to eat food.
But even the game realised just how pointless that was, and completely brushed past it as soon as possible. The option to hunt was always there, with plenty of animals running around, but there was no incentive to actually pursue that. All you got was a little XP.
It was obviously intended to be a central mechanic, as the bare bones exist in the game. However, over the development time, the idea was scrapped leaving us with a mechanic that no one used, and that no one cared about.