I have loved to cook since I was a little girl. I'd love to say that I come from a long line of fabulous cooks, but that's not true. My nana is a fabulous baker. My mom does a wonderful job of cooking good home food, but she's be the first to admit she'd rather not. (In fact, when we visit, I kinda float back into the role of the house cook while we're there).
I first started to experiment with food when I was a pre-teen. I gathered up my mom's cookbooks and started to read. I decided at the grand old age of about 11 that I would indeed make a 4 course meal to serve to my family and our closest family friends. And I did. I know now that the food I chose probably didn't compliment each other, but I enjoyed the experience all the same.
Cookbooks have since been the way I learned the basics of cooking. My mom's old 5 Roses cookbook had the staples I used to ground myself in. It was replaced by my Betty Crocker cookbook we recieved as a wedding gift.
My husband had worked in restaurants for a few years so he taught me how to adapt and flavour recipes to our own taste.
I've added an amazon link to my own favorite cookbooks. These are the ones that I actually use, not ones that you buy and sit on your shelf collecting dust (I have a number of those too). Eat, Shrink and Be Merry and the Betty Crocker cookbook are the two that I use the most, but all are in rotation in my kitchen.
If you are new to cooking, I'd recommend buying a good staple cookbook to start. I like to read recipe books to get ideas. Some of my best recipes are ones that I've made up by taking an idea from here and there and putting it all together.