The last two items are the biggest reasons I cook. I like FLAVOR. I can't stand SALT. Too many places think salt IS flavoring. I also can't stand "gloppy" - which is what they think sauces should be - but not me. I also want my meal to look nice on the plate.
Of course - you must have a mechanical knowledge of how food and techniques work to be successful. And you must read and comprehend what the recipe says. Not to mention, you must not RUSH things. This is one of the cardinal rules I don't always follow. And my cooking suffers for it.
This month in Cooking Light they have an excellent list of the 25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes. I highly recommend you read it. It's good if you're just thinking about cooking ... trying to cook more for yourself ... or an experienced cook. Sometimes we need to be reminded of things ... like not rushing a process - or not touching food too often (in the case of searing for example).
I think these are also lessons we can apply to our lives. Don't rush through things - don't "touch" your friends to much (as in don't push them around to your way of thinking), seek out quality over quantity, and follow the rules (even the stupid ones like going the speed limit).
Happy Food Wednesday everyone!