Cooking is more than getting edible food onto the table. If that was your only goal then heating up canned food or one of those frozen dinner things would be sufficient. As thoughts occur on the Philosophy of Cooking I will share.
You do still need to get food on the table. The good news is that you don't have to have a lot of bullets in your culinary revolver. Most families eat the same few recipes over and over again. While this is boring for the gastronome, it is comforting for most members of the family and has even been used in slogans like "Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Night". So with the theory that you only need to know how to make, say, twenty different things and you will be at the head of your culinary class I offer Essential Dishes. Learn these and everything else will be gravy (which is a good thing).