First, the why? Because you and your family will probably be eating three meals a day for the rest of your life. If you don’t want them to be all peanut butter sandwiches, make them interesting if only to make the time with your family and friends more fruitful.
The how is easy. Start with what you know and what you grew up with. If you didn’t like eating Spam three times a day, buy a cooking magazine or two and try out something easy. As with Amy, if you can make scrambled eggs, try to make a different kind of eggs and add bacon (if not veggie) and toast and some juice and coffee or tea and have a neighbor over for breakfast to practice.
See my cookbook section for James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, that provides sound information on technique, not individual dishes. Or Julia Child’s The Way To Cook. Check out my pantry list as well as it’s quite extensive. It’s not showing up anymore on the main page and I have to check on that. Search for pantry contents on my site. There should be five ingredient entries and recipes, too.
Start easy and move on from there. I went to the nth degree with French cooking and came back to very simple food with good ingredients. Check out your local farmer’s market. Make friends with a fishmonger and butcher. If you’ve a grocery that you can ask the butcher “X is on sale, how would I cook that?” and they answer in a way that works out for you, bravo!
Use your taste buds as a guide. They may take you far from your childhood, which is OK. When you go out, what do you really like to eat? Indian? Italian? Take clues from what you really like. Ask friends who are good cooks to have you over in advance of a meal so you can help and learn.
I found my husband a home, three months after we met, about 1,000 feet from my place. Within a day I had enough kitchen stuff there that I could cook for us, because I had a cat and he was allergic. We were trying to save money so I cooked, otherwise he would have gone out three times a day to restaurants. A year later we married.
One day he came home and I was making grilled (aged cheddar) cheese sandwiches and he said “I always wondered how you made those.” Not kidding. Which is why I keep a photo of him at age four on the frig, making toast. It only took 30 years to get to the next step and he still says I make them better.
Food is powerful. It is interesting, exciting. It makes one think out the day/week/month. Go to a farmer’s market and buy the freshest produce you can, then figure out what to do with it. But don’t get a Hubbard squash unless you have an axe or chain saw. Been there, done that.
Happy cooking! Dee