How should I get started learning to cook?

There a several types of cooking. I recommend picking one type to start learning, then branching out as you get more comfortable. This is especially helpful if you don't have access to a kitchen full of every conceivable piece cooking equipment.
Types: Baking (breads, many desserts, casseroles, pizza), Roasting/Broiling (chickens, turkeys, pot roasts, steaks), Stove-top Frying/Sauteing (stir-fry, pancakes, eggs, many italian dishes), Boiling (pasta, sauces, soups, stews), Grilling (meats, kabobs, vegetables), Smoking (fish, ham), Deep-frying (fried chicken, fish, doughnuts, corn dogs), Brining/Culturing (pickles, saurkraut, cheese).
I'd consider smoking, deep-frying, and brining/culturing to be more difficult for someone new to cooking. Grilling, Stove-top Frying, and Sauteing are fun for interactivity and flexibility. Baking is easy IF you can measure and follow directions exactly. Boiling pasta is easy, but I recommend getting some familiarity with how to spice dishes before starting soups and stews.
Depending on the type of cooking you pick, emphasis on different skill sets will be required. Skills: Cutting things up (slicing, chopping, paring), measuring ingredients (by volume, by weight, by estimate), temperature management (especially on stove top and grill), spicing/flavoring (what spices to use, in what quantities, in what combinations, at what time during cooking), evaluation (recognizing when a cooking step is complete, proper consistencies and textures for each dish), cleaning (how to wash knives, non-stick pans, clean stains), timing/serving (making sure each dish is ready for the table at nearly the same time, or that it is kept warm, cold, fresh until then), storage (keeping ingredients at their more fresh and flavorful, how to store leftovers, handling foods that can contaminate/be contaminated), shopping (creating appropriate grocery lists, maintaining a food budget, locating items in the store), and more skills I can't even think of right now.
It's a lot to learn, so don't get in over your head and try to home cook a gourmet dish for every single meal from now on.
Look to start on dishes/recipes that: That you want to eat, Don't use too many types of cooking (like braising), Don't require much more equipment than you have, Are slow paced (so you have plenty of time to figure out and prepare for the next step), Are forgiving of variation and mistakes (some dishes require precision or they fail completely), Have online video tutorials, Don't demand too much cutting (you'll speed up with practice, but no point in boring yourself).


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