To me a recipe is a more of a guide or suggestion for cooking food that I like or some thing I think I might like to try. In my experiences, it is sometimes impossible to follow a recipe to the letter. You may be missing an ingredient or you just can’t stand something the recipe calls for. In that case it is important to be able to improvise, and if tragedy strikes, be willing to start over. Some of the best, and worst, food I have ever made was from recipes that I hacked to make it more to what I liked or thought it should be. There is a major exception to this. That is baked goods and pastries. These recipes need to be rigorously followed or you will end up with inedible crap.