Welcome! We'll have you whipped into shape in no time at all! If I'd really never cooked before, I'd stick to recipes to the letter for awhile. Then once you've tried a recipe once, you can branch off, changing it to your taste. Beware of friends who, like me, can be off-the-cuff because we've been cooking so long. I know I'm likely to "tell" someone how to make a dish they enjoyed my house, or even write the recipe from memory. Often this means that I forget something crucial.
If you have a friend who has a specialty you like, if possible and plausible, invite them over or ask to be invited for the preparation, so you can take notes!
Just so you know, you found out that a clove is one section, a head the entire thing when it comes to garlic. Celery is another confusing one. A stalk is the entire thing, a rib is one piece. Anyone else got any basics that are good hints to know when you read a recipe?