Unlike coding or writing, when you make food you can simply enjoy your creation without worrying about anything else. I enjoy discovering and creating a variety of food but I really dislike following recipes. I've finally designed an alternative to recipes that has been working well over the last year - doing experiments and noting my findings!
I write down three things in a notebook each time I make something new, along with the date - the process, the outcome, and what I want to do differently next time. Here is an example from my Focaccia experiments:
Making Foccacia Bread Take#1:
Notice that I've left out a number of details (so this cannot be really considered a recipe, not a good one at least) - for examples what is the size of my baking tray. This is not relevant to me as I only have that one tray and that's what I am going to use each time :)
To start the experiments, I do some research and discovery which involves reading some recipes and watching couple different youtube videos. From there, I come up with the starting process. Basically I make it up based on what makes sense to me. Because from then on, I know I can use the previous experiment's outcome to iterate on my steps.
Writing down my process in detail, describing the outcome, and adding notes for what to do differently next time, allows me to pick up right where I left off next time. I used to try to remember this in my head, but writing it down is much more freeing! There is a much better chance of improving and optimizing in the next iteration. Or being able to actually recreate something that turned out well in the past!
After several experiments, you will get the outcome you desire with very little in the "To do next time" section. At this point you can start following "the process" in your last experiment as your recipe. You don't have to go searching for online recipes or youtube videos each time you want to cook something. I keep my experiment notes in a notebook close to the kitchen.
P.S. If you do decide to follow this process I would love to hear about it. And of course if you're craving some focaccia bread you can use the process in take#2 as your starting point :)