Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Secret Ingredient Is Love

Where do you put all those recipes that you love? 

If you're someone who entertains with emphasis on food, if you love to cook, if you're someone who has to eat, or if you need to feed people daily, at some point in your life you may find that you need to corral all those carefully chosen and cherished collectible recipes.

I started jotting down recipes when I was in college.  I lost my mom when I was 19 and realized then that, although she was an excellent cook, I never got the chance to share any of her experience in the kitchen.  Since my very first  Thanksgiving turkey cleaned (ugh!  no one told me about the neck) and cooked that year, I've been asking for and writing down recipes for practically everything I've ever made in the nearly 20 years since...And I do so love to cook!

Some of my favorite recipes are written on the back of scrap envelopes that I recycled from the mail.  I can  search the print and find the date stamped on the front, and it helps bring back the memories of that time and place.

When I was getting married, my bridesmaids threw a bridal shower with a request to all attending to bring a copy of a treasured recipe for my growing collection.  I still have most of those index cards in my collection today.

Several years later, my friends and I gathered together one night to share our best recipes, and find the best way to organize them for our own use at home.  The result for me, was a 3 ring binder that I recently realized had seen better days.  Well used, and much loved, my book needed a new look:

“There are things you do because they feel right, and they make no sense, and they make no money, and it may be the real reason we are here:
To love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.”

I decided that I really didn't need to start from scratch, but what I wanted needed to be better organized and show some meaning.  So this is what I came up with:


“The most important thing you leave behind is the stuff that turns to treasures when children find it.”

Having all of my recipes in one place is great, and keeping them neat inside plastic photo protector pages allows me to flip through, prop up,  and pull them out as needed.  Optimally, I should have a table of contents in the front, some labeled tab dividers, and groupings of recipes by meals, courses, or other sensible system.  However, that goes a little too far for my taste, so instead I have them placed pretty much in order of frequency of use, which often correlates with most loved!

Here's another neat thing: 


I've kept all these handy sheets that I've found over the years to help me whenever I'm lost or in a pinch.  Kitchen conversions, sensible substitutions, and storage guidelines have been tucked safely in the back for quick reference to all my kitchen questions.

These pages have clearly been hijacked from old magazines, but there are some online sources where you can find and print the same information.  Here are a half-dozen good places to start:

The back of the book houses my receipts for kitchen and cookware purchases.  All those lifetime warranties are a huge value and won't be lost in the shuffle when I need them:

If you're truly committed to the timeless treasures in your collection, you can consider taking it a step further and having your own book published.  There are several sites that make it easy to do, and with some pretty fancy results too!  

This would be great at home, as a special gift, or even for party favors at your next event. How fabulous would it be to throw a party and have your own recipe book with full menus to hand out to your guests at the end of the night!?!?  That might just make for one giant organasm!

Linking up with:
A Bowl Full of Lemons
A Bowl Full of Lemons 
Organize It!

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