aka: Your Cooking Guide to the Galaxy
Most people who aren't all that confident in the kitchen like to rely on recipes for their cooking expeditions. Truth be told, I think for the beginner, oftentimes recipes do more damage than good. What I mean by this is that a recipe has you follow a fairly strict list of ingredients and steps, but it doesn't necessarily teach you much about cooking at all. Don't get me wrong, I think recipes are great guides and you can learn from them.....but it should be just that, a guide.
My advice to you (other than drink heavily when your parents visit), is to work on basic culinary skills first and then experiment from there. Then, once you kinda get the hang of it, look around for some recipes to open your mind to some fresh ideas. Ok, maybe early on you need to follow a few recipes to just get the hang of stuff.....but you'll never really get good at it unless you embark on your own journey. Like, it was kinda uncool to have to sit through health class in High School, right? If that isn't enough, how wrong would it be if I had Mr. Lefkandinos with me in the room for the first time with my girlfriend.......? Point made. So, be smart, take some basic advice, then go at it on your own terms. Cooking, that is.
A. Sauces, Soups, and Such
B. Entrees and Salads
C. Desserts and Sweet Things