a recipe for disaster

When there's a situation that seems like it could cause big problems, you can call the situation "a recipe for disaster".

This is often expressed in the form "(doing something) is a recipe for disaster":

Leaving security in the hands of multiple air carriers was a recipe for disaster.

Giving former corporate executives high-powered jobs in the government agencies that regulate those industries is a surefire recipe for disaster.

When you're cooking something, a "recipe" lists several different ingredients. In the same way, a "recipe for disaster" often means that there are several small risks which add up to a very dangerous or annoying situation:

The quickly aging population, low rate of immigration, and a younger generation that seems barely interested in working all add up to a recipe for disaster for Japan's economic future.

This phrase appears in these lessons: