I have many pet peves surrounding food industries. One of them is concerning recipes. I have several cookbooks that I've collected over the years. When I first started cooking I thought that if I got one big cookbook like Fannie Farmer or Joy of Cooking all I would need to do is follow them and I would have great food to eat. I quickly learned that just wasn't the case.
A recipe should spell out what ingredients to use and how to prepare them to create a dish. It has been my experience that most recipes in most cookbooks are not good recipes. By that I mean if you follow the instructions exactly as written you will not have a dish that tastes good and/or a dish that works. For example I recently tried making a turtle cheesecake I found in one of my cookbooks. It did taste good but the recipe didn't work because the layer of caramel never solidified. It was supposed to set in the refrigerator but it remained liquid so when you cut into it the caramel just spilled all over. It just didn't work.
I'm left to assume that most of these recipes are either not tested or that the author doesn't know how to write instructions correctly. My bet would be on a lack of testing. They want a recipe book of soups or pastas or whatever but the time is not taken to really scrutinize the recipes. You never know when you pick up a cookbook if the recipes will really be good or not until you get it home and start making them.
These days I look through cookbooks to get good ideas. I'm getting better at looking at a recipe and imagining the taste somewhat accurately. I then take out parts that I don't like and add in things that I think will work better. Then I try the recipe and evaluate what works and what doesn't. Then I modify it again if necessary and rank it on a scale; fair, good or great. If it just doesn't work at all it gets a bad rating and is thrown away.
Once I get enough of them in my recipe box I'm thinking about putting together a small binder with pictures and all of the recipes that are good with detailed instructions. Might be a fun project down the road.