Don't get me wrong. I love reading cookbooks and looking at the well-lit pictures of beautiful culinary creations. I just don't follow them exactly. Here are the reasons why:
1. Recipes may require ingredients you don't have already stocked
You have iodized salt. The recipe calls for kosher salt. You have jalapeno peppers. The recipe calls for cayenne peppers or chili powder. You have lemons. The recipe calls for limes. The list goes on and on and on. It is nearly impossible to find a recipe that has what you have already stocked up in your refrigerator or pantry, because you tend to use ingredients that are on sale or are local in your area. The fancier the recipe, the more ingredients the recipe requires, and the less likely you will actually prepare the meal.
2. Recipes may use exotic or expensive ingredients
Some fancy-schmancy recipes use exotic or expensive ingredients that you have never heard of. You look them up in your local grocery stores, and they are really expensive. Do you really think you will buy the ingredient just to prepare one meal? No. Do you really think that buying exotic food products is more economical than buying locally grown plants? No.
3. Recipes are not categorized by difficulty level
Everyone knows that grilling is the best way to make a hamburger, and deep-frying is the best way to make French fries. But you know, these culinary techniques are not easy tasks. It takes a lot of skill to flip a burger and carefully dip the frenched potatoes in hot oil without burning yourself. Baking is considerably easier for a beginner. You just pop some food in the oven and set the temperature and time.
4. Recipes use strict, exact measurements instead of proportions
A recipe may require you to use ingredients in specific amounts. The problem is, sometimes you don't know WHY you are using that amount or HOW MUCH food you will get in the final product. If you know how much food you will get in the final product, then you will adjust the amount of ingredients you use. One recipe on the back of the dried pasta box calls for a certain amount of water and a certain amount of pasta to make a certain amount of servings. During cooking, I had to turn off the stove for a moment and quickly dump some water in the sink. Then, I returned the pot to the stove and continued cooking the pasta until it was tender. I later decided that I really didn't have to use so much water, because I had a relatively small container. From then on, I decided to boil pasta in water in a 1:3 ratio -- 1 part pasta to 3 parts water.
5. Recipes assume that you have to pre-heat the oven before preparation
I think this step is really dumb in recipes. If I pre-heat the oven BEFORE I even prepare the food, then I may not be able to make the food in time to put it in the ready-heated oven. So, I usually make the food and then put the food in the oven. I set the time and the temperature. The oven will start pre-heating first and then go into heating phase. The oven alerts me when the baking/roasting is done. I grab the food out of the oven as soon as possible. My plan never fails me; it always works.
6. Recipes are not imaginative
Although recipes can certainly guide you in a step-by-step process on how to make a dish in a specific manner, some things must be adjusted to fit your situation -- ingredients you have in stock, relatively cheap ingredients that you can find in grocery stores, your cooking level and expertise, your personal tastes and preferences, how many people you will be serving, and the like. So many variables dictate what the meals would actually look like, so you should not expect that the finished product is what you prefer to have it.
7. Recipes may use ingredients that you are sensitive to or are allergic of.
A lady on YouTube made grilled hamburgers. She put monosodium glutamate in the food as a flavor enhancer. If you are particularly sensitive to monosodium glutamate or peanuts or soy, then you may look for recipes that are free from those things or make up your own recipes by taking inspiration from others.
Humans are not machines. Machines can do the same thing again and again and again. Although machines certainly make repetitive tasks easier and quicker and can produce the exact same food on an industrial scale, they have no whim or creativity. Humans are whimsical enough and creative enough to invent brand-new recipes, regardless of whether the product is going to taste good or bad. But if it's a good-tasting product, then the ingredients can be recorded and taken to a machine to be reproduced efficiently. To make sure that the foodstuff has a good shelf life, the food may be pickled in acidic solution or salted, but that may influence the flavor of the food. So, the manufacturer has to resort to using man-made food preservatives to maintain taste and appearance without doing significant damages to human health.