So I was thinking: there is an excellent feature in Star Wars: The Old Republic that I love. All classes have a special ability that restores all of their health and their special power (heat or force or rage) but is only usable out of combat. 30 seconds is all it takes to restore everything from 1%, but most of the time you only need a few seconds total.
Food in WoW is fairly useless. Mage food is useful only in that it's free, but it works the same as any standard food of the same level. You can also cook some interesting food choices that give you a stat buff, but beyond that there is little use except during leveling for classes that can't heal or you didn't level first aid on. The problem is that it takes too long overall to restore health, especially if you're in heirloom gear. The food was never designed for people who have double the HP it restores.
I suggest taking the feature of SWTOR and putting it into WoW, but I also don't want to ding mages. So what I say for them: the food they conjure gives you a 250 stat bonus to your main stat (akin to a banquet) if you choose to use it. Perfect for people who don't have access to their food, on par with banquets, and prevents mage food from being worthless. Of course, cooking your own 275 - 300 is a perfectly viable choice. Add in this feature to help those leveling to move on from battles quickly and keep moving. No one wants to sit around for so long eating food and then eating more just to heal up after a particularly protracted or poorly completed fight.