I don't think my cooking has improved much. I can follow recipes, because they tell you exactly what to do. I still don't know/understand general cooking rules.
For example, seasoning. I've cooked at least five recipes with seasoning. Taco seasoning, noodles, rice-a-roni, hamburger helper, etc. Every single recipe has the same series of steps. You put the meal in a saucepan and cover it with water. Start boiling the water, then add the seasonings. Let the meal simmer, until the water is gone.
Since I've seen this sequence of events repeated so often, that must be a cooking rule, right? "You can only add seasoning to boiling water". I don't know why that's a rule, but every recipe seems to follow it. I also don't know why seasoning water is simmered away, instead of boiled away, but I'm guessing it's because simmering takes a long time. That gives the seasoning more time to "sink in" to the meal, as it were.
So right now, I'm at the point where I can kind of recognize general cooking rules, but I don't understand why they are rules. It'd be nice if they were written out somewhere. I've read the longish "how to cook" introduction in the front of the Betty Crocker cookbook, but that's mostly an explanation of what kitchen utensils are. Plus, the author was really insulting, which turned me off.
Side Note 1: The only recipe I've seen that doesn't follow those unwritten seasoning rules is British-style chops, but maybe that's a British thing.
Side Note 2: I didn't know what seasoning was, until Katie told me to get some for burritos. Why didn't anyone tell me about seasoning before? I've been cooking by myself for years, and I never came across anything that mentioned seasoning before. Is there something else important that I'm missing? I know there are, like, four aisles at the grocery store I never go down, because I don't know what their products are.