The Fine Art of Recipe Storage

febc780f-6768-41c2-a35c-e53864dfa41c_A_200001One of my simple pleasures in life is browsing through my collection of cookbooks.  Especially when I’ve had the book for something silly like 20 years and can’t remember the last time I used it…’s always good to be refreshed on what goodies it contains to be cooked or baked.

One of the challenges is, of course, how to do you keep a track of what recipes you want to try, or find the ones you have already tried and loved so much you want to use it again?  Or maybe more importantly in this ‘paperless’ world, how do you store recipes so that you can easily lay your hand on them?

Well, because I’m somewhat process driven… to be organised…and am, quite frankly, somewhat ‘anal’ about these sorts of things, I have a well embedded system to deal with all of this.  <Yes, I hear the nodding and chuckling from my good friends out there>.  Since I’m also a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, I thought I’d share what my systems are so that you can adapt to your style and use.

Recipe Journal:
Recipe Journal Cover (Copy)Most of us have seen those Recipe Journals you can buy, which tend to be organised by topics such as Poultry, Meat, Seafood, Pasta, Desserts, and Baking etc.  If you don’t already have one…this is an easily justifiable shopping opportunity.  I’ve had mine for nearly 20 years and it’s my little treasure trove of my favourite recipes.  This is the key to the system.

Like all good things, how I use it has evolved over the years; initially I used to painstakingly write the recipe into the Journal.  This might be your kind of thing….but I quickly got over it.  Firstly, you might write it down incorrectly, secondly it takes too damn long, and lastly, it takes up too much of the valuable space in your journal.

The ‘New and Improved” process is that I write down the name of the recipe, where I’ll find the recipe in the house, and what page it is on.  Quick and easy to jot in and only takes up 2 lines.

Recipe Journal 2 (Copy)If, when browsing through recipes, I think to myself “I must give that a go sometime”, I either grab a Post-it and scribble it down and slap it into my Recipe Journal, or I make a note in MS OneNote (see below for more on this).  Sometimes I also add a small note such as “only uses egg yolks”, or “requires preparation the night before”.  Pretty straight forward huh?

Ok, so more on the “where I’ll find the recipe in the house” comment…..

If it’s in a cookbook that I own, it’s pretty straight forward…..I just write down the name of the book.

Helen’s Recipe Folder:
This is a ‘pretty’ ring binder that I bought 20-odd years.  It’s a wonderful place to put those recipes that you tore out of a newspaper or magazine, or printed from the internet.  I try to have some semblance of order that lines up with my Journal (Poultry, Meat, Seafood etc).  I guess I could buy some dividers….hmmm, that might just be a shopping opportunity…….

Sorry, distracted by the thought of shopping….

MS OneNote:
OneNoteThe third place you’ll find my favourite recipes is on my PC.  I use MS OneNote.  If you haven’t tried this application give it a whirl, it’s one of my favourites!  My husband would probably argue that there is some fancy shamcy storage place in the ‘Cloud’ that I could store them…..but, well, whatever!  I like OneNote.

What I like about OneNote is that I can surf the internet for a recipe, right click on the recipe, and click “send to OneNote”.  I have a special folder for Recipes and can organise by topic (Baking, Cooking, Preserving etc).  What’s also great is that it captures the URL of where the recipe came from so you can easily go back to the original page if you want to look for more recipes on that site.  When I decide to use the recipe, I print it off and if it met the “Yeah Baby, I’m gunna be making that again sometime soon” criteria it gets filed in the folder I mentioned above and entered into my Journal.  Of course the other snazzy thing about OneNote is that if, for example I need to use up some egg yolks, I can search the folder for the word “yolk” and fnd which of my recipes lists that an an ingrediant.

Well, that’s pretty much my system.  Having written it up, it sounds quite complex, but it’s not really.

I’d love to hear how other people store their recipes, and keep a track of which books their favourite ones are in……


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