My friend Jeremy is a FANTASTIC cook. He almost always amazes me when he brings something to a potluck or has us over for dinner. This weekend he made an appetizer of fried tofu with a spicy peanut sauce, a broth-based potato-leek soup, and brined pork chops with sauteed apples. WOW!
As he was cooking, I asked him if, when he cooked, he sort of visualized the tastes and how they would come together. As I expected, I got an enthusiastic yes. I figured - since that's how I cook. (not that I can claim to be as good as he is!)
Jeremy rarely cooks with a recipe. And while I do use them, I'm rarely faithful 100%, and I often do just throw stuff together based on how I think it will taste. To do that well, you need to know how a lot of things taste, and together. So, in my opinion, to be a good cook, one needs to eat and enjoy a lot of different things - to gain the taste palette necessary for later.
So, in lieu of an actual recipe today, there's just food for thought.