Sep 17, 2011

The recipe collector: one year later

A year ago, I expressed angst over the decrepit state of my recipes here.


I gathered notebook, sheet protectors and everything I needed to finally get them organized and usable without worrying about more spatters and drips defacing them.

I gathered up everything I needed.  Except the resolve to actually follow through.

Yes, it's true. I moaned and groaned and then put them away. And kept tugging them in and out of a shelf in my kitchen hutch...loosely stacked, in that miserable, torn folder, for almost a year.

Finally one day last month, I decided it was the last time I was going to gently coax the slippery stack of papers and slips of paper out, plop them on a flat surface and frantically look for the proverbial recipe-in-the-haystack.

No more.




I started out slow. (Don't want to pull a muscle or anything.) My first act was to go through the stack and pull out the recipes I use the most. Those were tucked into their own sheet protectors and loosely organized according to cookbook etiquette: appetizers, soups and stews, main course, side dishes, yeast breads, quick breads, desserts, cookies, candies and miscellaneous. (Who decided that was the proper sequencing of cookbooks, anyway?)

After the heady rush of success at my minor accomplishment, I took a Sunday afternoon and spent a  few hours going through my somewhat organized (but very dated and floppy) binders, pulling out favorites from there. And rediscovering some recipes I forgot I have - many of them I have tried, others I still want to. (Chantilly Carrot Cake, coming up!)

I would definitely say this is a "work in process" - I still have a folder (much smaller) of loose recipes.  They are untried (but high potential) recipes, grouped together by subject; you can see them at the top of this photo. Yes, they fit in this slim and trim holder, with room to spare!

And -tucked away out of sight are my old notebooks, which I think of as a "bone pile" - I will continue to pick over them until everything is either test-driven or passed over so many times I finally have to accept they are rejects.

I know I could organize my "keeper" recipes electronically, and that would probably be better, considering that the entire world is slowly migrating to to e-reading.

But there is something very appealing about touching and seeing paper recipes, especially when they are hand-written or original clippings from newspapers, magazines and food labels. I'm not quite ready to give up that sensory experience, even for the sake of efficiency.  Having them encased in sheet protectors means it is very easy to keep this notebook handy and if splatters or spills happen, it only takes a swipe with a damp cloth to clean them up.

So how's your recipe collection?  Organized, or not?  Online, or not?  Do tell.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Happy organizing,