Sunday, March 1, 2009

Organizing Roundup: recipes/ cookbooks attacked!

Organizing Blog
This month I decided to give 'er (as they say up north) in the recipes and cookbook department. After being married for almost 17 years, I would say that I have become a recipe slacker.

I started off great, at the ripe age of 22, following every recipe right to the letter. Somewhere along the line, I got in the habit of memorizing the recipes. Then I started a down-hill slippery slope to "winging it" and now we're at the unfortunate state of "everything tastes alike"..

So, we're having a mini "cooking revival" here. The Hallelujahs are starting with me.

So, first I downsized the cookbooks. You can read more fully about it here.
These are the 18 or so that hit the trail.

These are the "elect few" who get to stay.

So, now what? I have less cookbooks. It just limits my choices a little, but it does not make more organized, does it??

The challenge from the organizing junkie was

1. to be able to find the recipes you need
2. to be able to find them in under 2 minutes!
and I am adding
3. to create a sustainable system for the every-growing collection of recipes whether from: cookbooks, the internet or homemade!

So, I have the new and improved "Webber family recipes" binder!!

First, I went through all of the cookbooks in the pile and marked on a piece of paper if a recipe looked good and what page it was on.

If the cookbook only have 5 or less good recipes, I either photocopied them or tore the page out.

If I wanted to keep the cookbook, I made the list.

Next, I organized a page of paper like this:

The main category is: Chicken Dishes

Recipe name ----------Cookbook--------page

for example:
Parmesan Chicken-----Bonhomme......p. 112

(Bonhomme is a church cookbook from Aunt Elizabeth--love it!)

That's great and all, but what do I do with all of these recipe cards and pieces of stuff from the internet and everything that does not come from a cookbook?

Well, it's not pretty but it is very easy!!

I made sure everything loose was attached to a large piece of paper 8 1/2" x 11. I tried grouping like things together, but sometimes it didn't work. That's O.K. though.

Each of those pieces of paper gets put into a sheet protector. Notice the number "1" at the bottom of the sheet protector? That is put on with a permanent marker. Each sheet gets a number on the front and back.

Make sure the entire recipe can be seen from the front, so you don't have to take the paper out of the protector. I could re-type them all to make them neat, but for now, they are functional.

Yes, there are few recipes that I just shoved in the back of the folder.

What sort of main categories did I use?

Chicken dishes
beef/ pork dishes
side dishes
soups and chili
pasta/ Italian

In order to document these type of recipes and keep track of them easier, I wrote the name of that recipe right on the main dish page but I used "home recipe book" as my cookbook. In other words, they really are just in this binder behind the main category pages, but they too are easy to find!

When I get a new recipe that is a "keeper", I find a way to get it attached to a piece of paper and in a clear sheet protector. If needed, I'll add a new number to that page. (It doesn't matter if you have a chicken recipe next to a dessert recipe, as long as you remember to catalog the recipe with the other chicken recipes on your ever-growing main pages)

If the recipe comes from a cookbook, I'll just write the name of the cookbook and page number.

So, at a glance you have every chicken recipe option--right there at your fingertips. ditto for beef or veggies or... you name it.

There, I think I can cook again. No more kitchen slacking!!! I think there's other kitchen revivals going on at the organizing junkie's place. She's such a butt-kicker.

Organizing Blog


L2L said...

I love to see people's personalities come out in kitchens. Great job on the organizing. So, what's for dinner tonight?!?!

Anonymous said...


Right now, I have few enough recipes that I still usually know which cookbook/collection of papers and note cards a given recipe is in, but I can imagine if a collection got much bigger, a catalog like you made would come in very handy.