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Monday, July 5, 2010

Recipe Organization

I recently switched the way I organized my recipes, but I'm wondering what other ways you use. For many years, I used folders in which I could stash my growing collection of newspaper clippings, print outs, magazine pages, and index cards. These happily multi-colored folders were divided into broad categories, which made filing relatively easy, but the finding and using of recipes didn't work as well. I got into the habit of finding a few go-to recipes in each category that I would use several times. Those would remain near the front of a folder and therefore accessible. I wanted to be able to be easily inspired by all of my recipes for dessert or salad or bread.
So I took the plunge and completely changed my recipe organizing tactics, and, so far, I'm really happy about it. I completely emptied the folders and then re-organized the recipes into more specialized categories. For instance, "Desserts" got divided into
  • cookies
  • bars
  • meringues
  • brulee, custard, pudding
  • candies
  • cake
  • crisp, crumble, pie
  • desserts and fruit (a catchall for the rest- crepes, baklava, various sorbets, hot chocolate, etc)
Then I put everything into plastic sleeves, *borrowed* a binder Official Tester no longer used, put everything in the order I wanted it to be in, and then used dividers to separate the sections. Finally, I used some cute paper to label the binder and make it look prettier on my bookshelf. Voila! A new and improved recipe collection! I really like the ease of browsing, and if I want to use a recipe, I simply take the whole page out of the binder and the plastic sleeve protects the information inside from my sometimes overenthusiastic mixing.

What about you? How do you organize? Are you a collector of clippings, even, or do you just use cookbooks? Has anyone found a great computer program we should know about? Share your thoughts below!

5 comments:

  1. This is the same way I just did mine a few months ago... SO much easier.

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  2. DO you have a favorite soup recipe? I am a huge soup fan!

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  3. I use the plastic sleeve method! I like it because I can put the recipe on my fridge with a magnet and reclaim space on my limited countertop while still having at-a-glance access to the instructions. Somehow I still end up splattering on the recipe so the sleeve is a must! When I photocopy out of a cookbook or magazine, I splurge on color copies because gorgeous photography is half the inspiration.

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  4. I don't have a great soup recipe right now. I used to. But without chicken stock/sausage/some version of meat, it just doesn't taste that exciting. So in the fall I'll have to work on that.

    I like the refrigerator idea! I tend to prop recipes on top of other things on the counter. The slight elevation helps it stay cleaner and helps me see it. And I totally agree with you about pretty pictures :)

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  5. Pasta fagioli (spelling??) often uses water as the base, lots of veggies and beans, no meat and is yummy. I probably have a recipe or two for it that I could share w/you. I bet you have one, too!

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