One of the best things you can do for yourself to be a better cook is learn a few basic recipes or processes. This is true for seasoned professionals, long time home cooks, novices who are just learning, or people who really don’t enjoy cooking but are trying to cut back on eating out for one reason or another. Once you learn how to make some of the most basic foods (or foods that you eat often and enjoy), you can build on those skills to make more complicated items, to tailor any recipe to suit your personal preferences, or even to create your own recipes.
Think of it this way: when you were in school, first you learned the alphabet. Then you learned how to read and write your name and other small words. Then bigger words and sentences. Questions. Exclamations. Clauses. Prepositions. Eventually you could take all of these skills and write papers. Some people can even write whole books!
Cooking is a lot like that. While you can easily skip some of the basics and be a pretty good cook, a better understanding of the little things can lead to better food in the long run. I’m not saying learn all the things they would teach in the first semester at Le Cordon Bleu, but master (or at least learn about) how to properly cook your favorite proteins, sauces, and baked goods and you will be well on your way to better meals.