my recipe storage system needed an overhaul
Not only were my two main recipe binders full to capacity and disorganized, I had recipe books and magazines all over the house and garage...literally!
|My cookbook shelves in the kitchen, the ones|
I use most frequently
|The basket on my counter with my binder and|
three favorite cookbooks and all the
loose recipes needing to be filed
|My pretty cookbooks are on display|
|My unattractive recipe magazines hidden away|
on the top shelf of a cupboard
|And my seldom used recipe magazines |
tucked away in the garage, next to
the breadmaker, which is also seldom used!
|The cat joined me as I worked on my laptop. I'm usually at|
my desk and rarely work anywhere else, so she loves it
when she finds me in a comfy chair!
|I sat on the floor and made piles in a semi-circle around me.|
Sometimes you have to make a mess before you can bring order!
As for my cookbooks, most of the actual books I own I have because I like the photos as well as the recipes. These I left on my shelves. I always put sticky bookmarkers on the pages of recipes I like best or want to try, so no problem there, and the books themselves are a pleasure to read or browse, so I chose to keep them as is.
One of my recipe books is very special to me. It's an antique...a big, fat book with EVERYTHING you could possibly ever want or need to know about cooking. It was my grandmother's. When she gave it to me she told me that she had read the whole thing in one night when she went into labor with my dad and couldn't sleep for the contractions, yet knew it wasn't time to go to the hospital. In the wee hours of the morning she distracted herself with recipes for deviled squab and pickled cow's tongue, how to thread fat through a roast, what made a good hostess, and how to be a thrifty, economic cook.
|This is the cover...it has that "old book" smell|
that reminds me of going to the library when
I was a little girl.
|This is the binding : (|
I really want to take it to a bookbinder and have it re-bound.
|This is the inside cover...very old-fashioned photographs|
in that funny "chromatone" color processing of the late 1930s.
|And then the handwritten page|
from my grandmother to me. It says,
To: Karyn Wells
May 23, 1942
David James Davenport
Born May 24, 1942
|Perfect "pinkish" eggs???|
|Green peas in fried bologna cups?|
This is what the caption says: "Slice the bologna straight,
leave on the rind and broil for perfect cups."
|This is what happens to a muffin when you bake it at too high|
or too low a heat. Now that's practical!
Throughout the book are little rhymes and anecdotes full of pithy advice for the young cook and hostess.
"You'll be one up on the rest of the crowd if you serve them this luscious chantilly sponge."
"Rolled veal roast is delicious when larded with salt pork or the fat of smoked beef. Use the larding needle and draw it through carefully or fold frankfurters into meat as you roll."
"Somebody shook the dreamland tree and down came all these luscious cookies!"
"Add this golden crown to your laurels as a hostess." (golden crown cake)
"Revive your drooping spirits on a hot day with a frosty glass of sherbet."
"Unexpected guests will not daunt a hostess who knows how to make a fish roll."
"Red layers of tomato aspic with potato salad between will tempt
the most wilted summer appetite."
"Starring meatloaf with a supporting cast of onions, tomatoes and duchess potato planked for company dinner."
"Don't fret over fritters
Just prepare them plain
Or fill them with fresh fruit
For lots of fame"
"High-vitamin vegetable stuffing is the clever meat stretcher for savory beef roll."
"Creamed chicken takes on new glamor when it appears in a noodle or rice ring."
The book covers such necessary topics as, "The Fine Art of Carving," three different methods for boiling eggs, how to set a table, the names of the cuts of beef and pork mapped out on the animal, home canning, menu planning, and how to please your family and impress your friends with your cooking skills.
And now you can see how easy it is to get distracted! I had to put my book away and refocus my efforts on my recipes. I think this is the main reason projects take so long...we find ourselves taking pleasant rabbit trails and trips down memory lane and forget what we set out to do.
So, with renewed effort, I headed to the store to purchase supplies. I switched from the small binders to large, standard size 8-1/2" x 11" binders. Then I bought see-through colored dividers with pockets, plain tabbed dividers for notebooks, and clear photo page protectors.
I set up my binder like this:
- Clear colored divider - Appetizers, Main Courses, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Salads, Breads, Soups, Sweet Sauces/Jams, Marinades/Sauces/Salsa, Breakfast/Brunch, Beverages, Health Food/Daniel Fast, Entertaining, Nutritional Information
- In the front pocket of the colored divider - recipes I am planning to try
- In the back pocket of the colored divider - information pertaining to the category (for the meat section, this is where I would tuck the diagram of the name of meat cuts)
- Plain tabbed dividers - sub-categories under Main Courses (meat, seafood, pasta, casseroles, Asian, Sandwiches), Side Dishes (potatoes, rice, pasta), Salads (fruit, green, grain, dressings), Brunch (Savory, Sweet).
- Clear photo page protectors - I slid my recipe cards into the page protectors. These work great for a number of reasons. 1) You can see the recipe but it doesn't get dirty while you're cooking. 2) Because the page protectors are pockets, you can see both sides of your recipe. 3) You don't have to re-copy recipes from magazines or newspapers, just slide them in. 4) If you have a handwritten recipe, it will stay archived in the photo page protectors. (This is especially useful if you have a recipe from your mother or grandmother written in her handwriting that you want to keep as a momento and not just for the recipe itself.) 5) Get two styles...one that holds an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper and one that is divided into four sections so smaller recipes don't slide around inside the large pockets.
|Binder, colored dividers with pockets, tabbed dividers|
|The inside pocket of the binder I used for blank recipe cards|
and a handy measurement guide
|In the back pocket of the binder, I've got|
ideas for entertaining.
|Here is a picture of a colored divider for "Salads" with information|
in the pocket...this one is for making vinaigrettes.
|See how the recipes are displayed in the photo page protectors?|
Easy to read, easy to take out, easy to clean, easy to see both sides.
|Even newspaper and magazine clippings|
can easily be stored in the page protectors.
|Now when I want to make Grandma's scuffles,|
I can take the recipe out, prop it up on a stand,
and not worry about it getting splashed, stained
torn or wrinkled while I'm using it.
It took me quite awhile to finish my first binder. I worked on it slowly, sometimes renting a movie and working while I watched. I kept all my supplies in a big box, including scissors, pens, glue and tabs, so I could take my project out when I was ready to work and then easily put it away when I was done.
For the outside cover of the binder, there are options: I can either keep it plain and label it, use an already decorated one, or make a cover of my own using computer graphics, my own art work, or a picture from a magazine, maybe a picture of cookies for my dessert binder and a picture of a beautifully prepared table for my "Meals" binder. I haven't decided yet, but here are a few examples.
|Generic...just add a label on the spine of the binder|
Now my recipe binders are super functional and much more attractive! I am very happy with my finished product, and I hope this system serves me well for many years...at least until I am retired and looking for a new project! Or maybe I'll just save my photo albums for that day!