Friday, May 28, 2010

Recipe Organization

I love to cook. I love trying out as many new recipes and ways to prepare a dish as possible. Recently, I subscribed to two new cooking magazines, one of which has at least 100 different recipes in each issue. With great excitement, I rip out the recipes and add them to my pile of recipes to try. Unfortunately, that pile grows faster than I can keep up with it! I decided recently to combat that pile and get some order to its unruliness.

Initially my loose recipe pile was stashed in a bulging manila file folder. Well, three bulging manila file folders, to be exact. It was a mess, at the very least. As if that wasn’t enough, my cookbook cupboards couldn’t fit another darn thing in them (that’s another story…). I had recently seen a recipe book where you can protect recipes in sheet protectors bound together in a 3-ring binder and separated by category. Of course this could be a do-it-yourself project – find a plain old 3-ring binder, buy a ginormous package of sheet protectors and some file dividers and call it a day. I however decided that since this binder would house all of my very best recipes it needed to have a bit of style and class.

I scoured the web. I mean scoured. I needed to find the perfect recipe storage book. One of the most important components to my perspective purchase is the categories of foods that would separate the recipes I was going to store. I wanted something that didn’t just break the sections into “breakfast,” “lunch,” and “dinner;” but had some thought into them – baking is too generic, it needed to be separated into “desserts” and “bread” (I would have liked to have added “pastries” too, but I guess that was too much to ask) and pasta needed its own special place (right up front) – it doesn’t quite fit in the “main course” section with the chicken marsala. I think that I was more dedicated to my quest for the perfect recipe storage book than I was to some of my college research papers!

Finally, after hours of searching and days of pondering, I made my decision: the C.R. Gibson Pocket Page Recipe Book in Paddock Shawl.

And I thought that was going to be the hard part.

The hard part was fitting my recipes in the darn book! Let’s be real here, I have probably 14 cookbooks and several hundred loose recipes (not to mention hundreds of recipes stored in online recipe books) – how likely is it that I am ever going to cook even half of the recipes I have? Probably highly unlikely. I love to try new things, but don’t get me wrong, I do have a staple of “go-to” recipes in my back pocket when nothing else sounds good – I do tend to stick with familiar recipes I can trust. That means I must consolidate my enormous recipe collection and become a little bit more realistic. I really cut down - I probably recycled at least 100 recipes. Now, my recipe book is basically complete and I can actually find everything without sorting through hundreds of loose recipes. Every recipe has its place and I still have a little bit more room to add fun new recipes as I find them.

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