Thursday, October 6

Recipe Collections

Today's post is something of a corollary to yesterday's. It goes without saying that once you start finding recipes you like, you need an organized way to store them so that you can find them again. Everybody has their own ideas, but it's imperative to find what works for you.

Although ideas abound, most fall into one of these common categories:
  1. Recipe boxes
  2. Three ring binders
  3. Notebooks
  4. Computer programs
  5. Cookbook collections

I personally suggest not using either of the last two as your primary system. If the power goes out, the internet is on the fritz or your hard drive crashes you can easily lose access to your recipes. Cookbook collections, while lovely, quickly eat up valuable space and money. 

My personal cookbook.

Whatever you decide to use, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  1. Kitchens are messy – sauces splash, counters get wet, fingers may be greasy. Especially if you cook with little helpers, consider laminating or using page protectors to keep your recipes clean and smudge free. (Or use the old cooking lab trick of stretching a piece of saran wrap over your cookbook before getting started to keep it safe and clear.)

  2. Your notes are valuable – Not everything you need to remember about a recipe always makes it into the recipe itself. Adjusted cooking times, great substitutions, who's favorite food something works out to be – never assume you'll remember stuff like that and never underestimate how glad you'll be for a reminder in the future! Whether you use sticky notes, your own personal code, or a simple “notes” section at the end, be sure to track all important information. It's worth thinking too, about who might want your recipes in the future. If you were going to pass something along to a dear friend or child, what would they need to know to make it just the way you do? Whatever it is, it's worth writing down.

  3. Appearances count – Presentation matters, even at home. You want your kitchen to be somewhere you're comfortable and if you're going to spend quite a bit of time looking at your recipes, you want them to be something you like looking at. Find a functional font and a pretty cover. Splurge on nice paper or create your own customized header for your recipe pages. It's worth it. 
  4. So does your learning style – What speaks to you – colors? Icons? Photos? Your recipes are for you! Write the important parts in a bright color if it helps you. Pick icons to represent main dishes, desserts, vegetarian recipes, whatever is important to you and use them as cues for yourself. Take a picture of a the meal (or copy it from a cookbook) and paste it alongside the recipe as a visual memory jog for yourself. 
  5. Keep it simple. I know, I know. I just gave you a whole bunch to think about and told you to go to town making it personal. And I meant it. Just don't get so carried away that you sell yourself on a system you can't maintain or that's too complicated to use.

How do you store your recipes?

1 comment:

  1. Right now I store my recipes in a pile in the cupboard. When I move I hope to get them all placed in a 3 ring binder (since a lot of them are printed from e-mails).