A query for Russian salad on the Home Cooking board turned up this cool link where the blogger surveyed readers about cooking phobias (nice pie chart too ... and appropriate ... pie)
Summed up, the top eight reasons
1. Our mother or mother-in-law cooks it better:
2. The Food Police scared us:
3. It went really badly the last time (or times) we made it:
4. We jinx ourselves:
5. It’s hard to get our head around the steps.
6. There’s a very specific deal breaker:
7. We’re afraid of wasting an expensive ingredient:
8. Our skills aren’t where we wish they were
Since my first post on Chowhound when I asked where to buy a pre-bought pie crust the response is often, it so much easier and better to make your own. I agree. I just don't like to do it. Reasons, 3, 4 ,5, 8 figure big for me.
I'll probably link to this article the next time ... and there will be a next time ... someone encourages me to cook.
And my big reason is I'm just not interested. Cooking bores me and I just don't have the patience.
Ruining expensive ingredients isn't so much a bother to me. However, after five summers of attempting to make tutti fruiti and five autumns of throwing the rotted mess out ... with over $100 of fancy top-notch fruit ... I got the message from the food gods and gave up. This should have been simple. Booze in a jar. Add fruit and sugar as they come in season and let age ... if aging means it turning into the final steps for Dorian Gray ... that's what always happened.
The blog does link to a funny NY Times article on ingredients that are deal stoppers.
Recipe Deal Breakers: When Step 2 Is ‘Corral Pig’
From the link
"The chef Thomas Keller is the modern king of the fussy recipes. His books are stacked with one deal breaker after another. To make his cornets filled with salmon tartare and crème fraîche, one must first figure out how to make “a 4-inch hollow circular stencil.” Then the cook must balance a baking sheet on the open door of a hot oven and set the tips of cornet molds on par-baked circles of batter at the 7 o’clock position before rolling.
These are the kinds of instructions that make people open a box of brownie mix and call it a day."
Yeah. I wouldn't try that ... besides I'm one of the few people who wasn't all that blow away with the cornets at the restaurant. I'd probably just buy Bugles (do they still make those) and fill them with whipped Philly cream cheese mixed with smoked salmon.