Where do you get your infos from?
Which cookbooks do you like best?
Did you take cooking classes?
Where should a complete beginner start?
you can basically gain a solid knowledge by youtube:
learn very basics like how to cut, boil, fry, steam, etc
then watch some videos of well known chefs to see how you actually work with those techniques
then you can start looking for nice recipes and actually understand which ingredient does what and how you can varify them to your taste.
i also recommend gordon ramsays ultimate cooking course on youtube.
You could read the four tomes of Modernist Cuisine (I can share the books with you if you want). It's pretty extense and you learn a lot through the theory but in the end, the practice is what matters the most as you sharpen your knife skills as you work with a wide variety of food items to open your mind.
Sometimes it will be frustrating, some other times will be joy.
Never EVER do a dish for anyone if you didn't do it before as how that recipe behaves is unknown for you. You will look like a smartypants guy who doesn't know shit. It's really shameful.
Get a knife, invest in a good one. You must master your knife as you must master your life. Watch some videos regarding chopping. Jamie Oliver and Gordon cover the basics very well.
Later on get a deboning knife and (if you see it right) a small utility knife to carve details. I'd recommend you Wüshtof as a brand.
Ask me anything young apprentice.
Also, does ANYONE have The Joy of Cooking?
Just cook with someone experienced, a friend, a relative, a lover. I learned far more from them than alone. When I did cook alone I mostly just experimented with the basic knowledge I had, most dishes weren't good, but nothing was inedible, and I learned a ton.
Anyway, you are right that it's not the best place to start. The experimental information in the book is useful, but the cooking techniques mostly involve expensive equipment which you don't need to use unless you have money to burn. Traditional cooking methods involving a pan or a stove are more relevant to op's interest.
>learn basic chemistry
>visualize a dish in your head, then think of the best ways of going about it
>experiment with spices to find out what combinations work
>study the properties of everything you use, this will make it easier to be creative
>always make everything you can from scratch
>when in doubt, google