The internet is the best thing that ever happened to me in the way of learning to cook. Don't get me wrong - I think with absolutely everything becoming digital, we can become disconnected from grounding, earthy things - we don't even need to speak or even message someone to find out what they're doing, let alone go and visit and hug them, we already know it all from their facebook feed. When was the last time you had a spare 15 minutes with nothing useful to do - did you ponder about life and death or draw something, or did you check your emails?
But I think cooking is a creative, come down to earth thing, and there's nothing that has helped me develop my passion and breadth of experience anywhere near as much as the internet. Have you noticed old people call it the 'world wide web?' If you call it this, you are old, and it's time to play on your eccentricities.
The thing is, the other day I knew exactly what I wanted to eat: chicken curry, with some sort of thick, a bit creamy, almonds-blended-up-into-a-paste, a bit cinnamony, not necessarily terribly spicy, sauce. Don't know where the craving came from, haven't eaten anything like that for ages, and only when someone wimpy orders something like it in a group takeaway. So, I knew what I desired, and I was very much up for spending an hour or two creating it. But if the 'web' wasn't in existence, how would I make it? I could ring round my neighbours and see if they'd got a curry cookbook. I could take one out from the library? But the thing with cravings is, you have to seize the moment, because if you hang about too long, it goes away, but if you catch it and feed it what it wants, nothing has ever ever tasted so good.
The other thing about getting recipes from the internet is, you can look at as many different people's takes on the same sort of dish, and decide what's essential, what's not, and what you might do differently. YEARS worth of cookery book learning, condensed into one or two meals.
I found a few recipes for the almond chicken curry I wanted, but this one was just perfect. It's from eCurry: http://www.ecurry.com/blog/indian/curries/gravies/murgh-badami-curried-chicken-in-almond-sauce/
I chucked in some prunes that needed using up, they were great. I've made this dish three times now, I absolutely love it.