Welcome, Derrick. I'm a home cook too, with a few years under my belt here at Chef Talk. Don't worry too, too much about people's opinions on this or that. In most circumstances, we're a civil lot! The moderators try to keep things that way. Many of us have our preferences about this or that. I'd wager one of the detractors has some item or other that would elicit a scandalized comment from someone else. Meh.....
We home cooks can read and browse to our hearts' content in every forum here, but we must consider the professionals' forums as "read only". We can post in all of the general forums, and our questions get addressed by professionals and home cooks alike in those areas. Using the search tool will yield lots of great information, as we have about 13+ years of conversations and content here. Just keep in mind some of those conversations may have ended quite a while ago, so check the dates when you consider posting to them.
Besides the forums, don't miss the excellent cooking articles, cookbook and equipment reviews, photo galleries and more. We hope you become a frequent participant here and add to the mix your insights and experience.
Are there cuisines, dishes or ingredients you especially enjoy? Was there someone who inspired you to cook, or did living in one of the richest culinary treasure troves in North America get your juices flowing?