March 31, 2010

How do you organize your recipes?

I don't have a good system for recipe collecting.

In fact, my "system" consists of a cookbook stuffed with loose recipes that I've printed from the internet or written out by hand. The more recipes I keep, the harder it is to close the book because of all the paper inside. This obviously isn't working so well.

Last year, I bought a plastic accordeon file folder at Staples. I planned to use it to organize all those loose sheets of paper. That never happened.

I recently read an interesting post about recipe-organizing software. The writer actually designed her own software because the ones she tried didn't work for her.

I'm not sure I could ever use a computer model for all my recipes. There's something so tactile about reading a recipe on a page and keeping it stored in a book.

Ideally, I'd love to be organized enough to create a large recipe scrapbook, where I could paste recipes I'd printed from the internet or collected over the years. I think this would create a lot more memories than online software.

I'd love to do a feature story for CBC about the new ways people are organizing their recipes with software. From my preliminary research it looks like there are a lot of programs out there. Some of the more popular ones are MacGourmet, Living Cookbook, and Mastercook.

How do you organize your recipes? I'd love to hear what your systems are. If you don't mind me contacting you for my radio story, leave your website info or send me a quick email.


HomoHausfrau said...

I love love love printing recipes from the internet (especially from THE PIONEER WOMAN! or ripping them out of magazines, and I, too, had the same problem organizing them that you did.

I went out and bought a 1 1/2" three-ring binder and filled it with those plastic page protectors. Now, everytime I print or rip a recipe out, I file it in there.

I'm still in the process of dividing it up based on recipe type (desserts, main courses, sides, etc) as well as sub-dividing it based on the source (Pioneer Woman's recipes, Kraft Canada Website recipes, etc), but for now, it works!

PLUS I don't have to get my cookbooks all wrecked and full of sauce! (plus cookbooks NEVER stay flat on the countertop and I end up losing my page way too often!)

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to know more or feature me in your spot on CBC. I love to cook and try new recipes, and I very much pride myself on how I've managed to accumulate and organize my recipes!

-Venessa Benson
(780) 905-5001

Milo Bloom said...

I'm with V.. we use a 3-ring binder and plastic page protectors too. With dividers for appetizers, main course, desserts, beverages, whatever..

Anne said...

Claire and I looked through my old recipes today. She was hoping for some things with Dad's handwriting, and there wasn't much. If you remember, I have a 3-ring binder with recipes from magazines glued onto paper pages (no page protectors in those days), and a lot of loose things stuck in with it too. Then I have a smaller accordion file designed for recipes, with recipe cards and other smaller bits. It had categories on the dividers. The funny part is that the vast majority of all the recipes were never used. They were fun to collect, though.

I agree with you about having something tactile to work from - I like it. I haven't used the internet much for recipes so far, but when I do I'll print them out and put them in page protectors.

Unknown said...

My philosophy is that there are too many recipes to try so I don't print them out or rip them from magazines. Anymore. If I find a recipe on-line I want to try, I set my laptop on my kitchen counter- on a makeshift stand. If I see a recipe in a magazine, I make it before I throw the magazine out. I love the creativity and experimentation of cooking and when I "owned" stacks of recipes I'd planned to try one day, I hated the implication that I hadn't gotten around to them, yet. Those forgotten recipes mocked me. I do own many cookbooks and I often use a recipe as inspiration. So, my vote, organize only the recipes with some personal meaning, let the rest go. You have a lifetime of cooking discovery ahead of you.

Anonymous said...

I keep a small pile of recipes to try out, then only the ones that are definite make-agains get put into a small 3 ring binder divided by appetizers, mains, salads, sides, other and desserts. This makes everything manageable and I know for sure that a recipe I pull out from the binder will be a good one. I don't use page protectors for the same reason I keep my grandma's old cookbooks- the dirtiest pages highlight the best and most-loved recipes.
Roxanne Coelho

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that you've done your story already, but in case you haven't here's what I do. I e-mail them to myself and have a specific folder where I dump all my recipes. And then when I want to make something I use a keyword search. :)

I do prefer to print out recipes though. At the moment I stick them all in a magazine box but eventually I'll get organized and stick them in a binder. I hope.

A Canadian Foodie said...

I do what Brulee Blog does - but do not e-mail them to myself. I copy and past them into soft copy and organize them all in categories and folders in my larger recipe file on my hard drive. When I want tried and true - I use my tried and true recipes. When I want something new... I search my not tried (but look good)found recipes. If they don't look good when I need them, I delete them. I use what looks good then. I don't do the search, persay. I look in my folders. Then, if there are no found recipes, I do a search of my favourite sites, then a google search.
I can no longer keep paper copies. They drive me crazy as I lose them or can never find them when I need them. I have ALL family recipes and all favourites typed and on file.
Hope this helps!

Samara said...

Hi, I'm also with V. I have a binder with plastic inserts - it has saved many a small recipe clipped from the newspaper (e.g. the Red Ox Inn breadpudding recipe) that might have otherwise been lost.

When I lived in France and Belgium I had soft-sided notebooks with plastic inserts - they took up less space on my bookshelf, but a binder works well too.

Of course I've never organized these recipes into anything but the order in which I've collected and printed them.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for this valuable tip. Even I can do 20 minutes a day and make a real difference in my home.
organizing your life