There are many reasons to learn to cook and bake. First of all, and most important, survival. Cooking and baking can be considered therapeutic. It is also an act of love - - from the daily meals for our family, to a dinner party for friends, and those culinary gifts from our kitchen that we share during the holidays.
You don't have to have all of the proper culinary skills in your repertoire. You don't have to be Julia Child - - however, might I suggest that you pick out at least two recipes from Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume 1 or 2) - - and well - - master them.
One of my favorites from Julia's book is Boeuf Bourguignon. I believe I have "mastered" it. However, I have also made it my own by using less pans than Julia. Other Julia recipes that I enjoy using: the omelette, mayonnaise, pate choux dough (for perfect eclairs), quiche, potatoes Lyonnaise (actually my father taught me that recipe for my Girl Scout cooking badge) and others.
Julia's recipes may seem daunting, but they're not at all. You will find these recipes are the essential of home cooking using fresh ingredients and basic cooking skills that we have steered away from due to the convenience of processed foods. It is really okay if you tweak them a bit, add some of your own touches, and make these dishes your own.
You may choose to invest in Julia's cook books, or you can usually find her recipes online. Here is a list of some of her favorite recipes.
Cook. Put on your apron, turn on some music, relax, open a bottle of wine (even if the recipe doesn't list wine as an ingredient), sample, and did I mention to relax? Share your masterpiece with those you love.
In the words of Julia, "Bon Appetit!"