Sunday, August 30, 2009

CT Decade 4: Ze bonz.


Clean and organize your recipe or cookbook collection, making sure that what you're likely to use is what's handy. If you do not have recipes to support your preferred level of culinary effort, it's time to go find some!

Would you believe I just re-read Wende's instructions only to discover I didn't follow them at all! Yet, I did what needed to be done and I'm really pleased. It didn't take very long, either. And it was just the task for a sleep deprived brain.

These are my cookbook shelves.

I did not, actually, deal with the cookbooks at all, per se. I've weeded these out many times and I'm currently happy with what's there. I generally use only the ones on the lower shelf. Some of those on the top shelf belong to the husband and I don't have his permission to get rid of them.

So, what did I do?

See those binders?

The black ones next to the Milk bones box?
(Yes, it holds Milk bones. They're kept here, kitty corner to the stairs to lure the puppy down should he dodge the gate at their foot.)

The skinny black binder is my printout of weekly housecleaning chores from Motivated Moms.

The other is MY "recipe box."

But the binder had become dysfunctional. You can see it bulging there on the shelf. Very little was organized--and I had recipes in there which pre-dated my computer that I hadn't probably made more than twice, ten years or so ago. So, it was time to sort through this collection of recipes.

I love keeping my recipes this way. I sort of fell into this format over time, but it's just so sensible. First, I can photocopy a page from a cookbook, three hole punch it and put it into the binder. I can also, naturally, print out recipes from on-line. I can type recipes into a word document and print them. The 8 1/2 x 11 format is by far the easiest way to capture a recipe. Why bother with writing everything out on a 4x6 card? The sheer amount of work: even with a program for it, smothers all desire to even have recipes on hand.

The second advantage to this format is that should I ever be bothered by the mish mash of styles and formats I could stream line the whole thing into some sort of attractive work of art with Word and artwork and pictures and what not. I may do something of the sort as a "going away" gift for the kids when they leave home, but I can't think I'd bother otherwise.

The third best feature of this format is that I can use page protectors. I'd like to get those extra-wide page dividers, though. Right now I can't really "see" the dividers I've already got in there.

I now have my recipes categorized like this:
1) Salads
2) Entrees, beef
3) Entrees, Chicken
4) Entrees, vegetarian
5) Soup
6) "Cooking Lessons" from Canadian Living
7) Holiday menus and recipes. (Here is where the stuffing recipe goes, the Carrot and Yam dish, the Bacon wrapped Shrimp, Turkey Pot Pie.)
8) Recipes focused on one ingredient, like Rhubarb.
9) Miscellaneous. (How to make Chili five ways, type thing.)

Nonetheless, even though I weeded out a lot of old recipes and retyped one to fit on one page instead of two, I decided to create a second binder for Baking. It's the blue one, now on the shelf.

This one is much simpler:
1) Muffins and quickbreads
2) Cookies
3) Other.

At the very least, I can now send the kids to get the Brownie recipe and not worry that everything else is going to fall out. At most, we might even eat a bit more variety around here. We'll see how the monthly menu planning goes this weekend.


scb said...

That looks great! I'm planning a similar cookbook type thing, printing all the "recipes" that I devise as I go through Culinary Therapy (and beyond) and putting them in page protectors in a binder.

Well done! (One adapts the instructions to fit one's own situation, I think...)

Alana in Canada said...

Of course one does!

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