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Storing, Tracking, and Accessing Favorite Recipes


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#1 nakji

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 06:54 AM

Like a lot of members here, I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and recipes. We have more resources than ever - myself, I use food magazines; but I also follow blogs; sites like the New York Times and Guardian food pages - there's usually more out there than I can reasonably keep track of.

I spent today going through my most recent pile of magazines snipping out interesting articles and recipes and putting them into a notebook and a file folder. But my fridge is covered with cue cards of internet recipes rewritten to be taken into the kitchen.

I'm interested in hearing how people wrestle their resources into some semblance of referable notes?

#2 DanM

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:11 AM

I have a recipe management program for my netbook for managing random recipes. The rest are printed on 3x5 index cards which are kept in my grandmas old recipe box.

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#3 Crouton

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:15 AM

Google Docs, I can access my recipes from anywhere... my computer, iPad, cell phone etc. Plus you get full text search to easily find what you're looking for.


https://docs.google.com

#4 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:27 AM

I use google docs and Memento, an Android database app, for cocktail stuff. But I never try to do this with food recipes. I long ago gave up any confidence that I could keep on top of that chaos.
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#5 nakji

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:36 AM

Google Docs, I can access my recipes from anywhere... my computer, iPad, cell phone etc. Plus you get full text search to easily find what you're looking for.


Do you type in recipes you find in books/magazines?

#6 feedmec00kies

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:39 AM

Google Docs here as well, organized into folders. I have a link to the original source (recipes I collect are always either found on the internet or from magazines that make them available on the internet at least for a limited time) and make changes/alterations in red. Plus I can check what I need when I'm still at work or on my phone at the store, and I read the recipe off my laptop or iPad when cooking.
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#7 Crouton

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:51 AM

Google Docs, I can access my recipes from anywhere... my computer, iPad, cell phone etc. Plus you get full text search to easily find what you're looking for.


Do you type in recipes you find in books/magazines?



Surprisingly, I'm usually able to find a published recipe online, and I just copy and paste into a new document. If I can't find it, and really want to save it, I'll hand type it. A majority of my recipes are from well known cookbooks, cooks illustrated or something on Television such as Lidia's Italy, all of which are easily found, copied and pasted :)

Here's a screenshot of what mine looks like...

Capture.PNG

#8 Melissa

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:10 AM

I have a mixture of online prints of recipes, recipes friends and family have given me (in paper form) and ones I've cut out of magazines. I don't keep the entire magazines anymore (with the exception of Fine Cooking).

I have them organized into binders, by category, using sheet protectors. I am up to 4 binders now. I've thought about moving them online but I am not ready to invest the time into scanning them (at least the ones from friends and family).. yet. That day is coming.

I have moved all my hand written French Culinary school recipes/notes online. I scanned them and store the files locally and have a backup in the cloud. These are my most cherished recipes and I'd be devastated if I lost them.

#9 BeeZee

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:14 AM

I do something similar to Melissa with 3 ring binders. The reason I like that format (vs keeping them on the computer) is that when I'm planning a menu I like to pull the potential recipes out and scatter them on the kitchen table so I can evaluate the whole menu, appetizers to dessert. That way I can re-shuffle and winnow down to the finalists.
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#10 nakji

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:19 AM

I also have a binder of photocopied sheets from books I've gotten out of the library; copied favourite recipes from large cookbooks I've left behind in Canada; and magazine tear-sheets

I don't favour a computer myself mainly because I don't have a printer - so things eventually have to be put on paper by hand so they can come into the kitchen! I like the idea of building a permanent collection of on-line things on GoogleDocs; although it's blocked more often than not in China.

#11 Crouton

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:23 AM

The iPad has really changed the way I bring my recipes into the kitchen... I no longer print them off or drag a huge book around wasting counter space.

#12 Okanagancook

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:58 AM

If you are a Mac user, MacGourmet is quite good for organizing recipes and our wine inventory. It also has a feature for making notes about things, for example 'how to use my sprouter' which I copied from the internet.

I use it to either cut and paste recipes from the internet (their internet import feature doesn't always work well); to make reference to a recipe in one of my cookbooks that I have made (the cookbook and page number) or to reference a recipe from my binders which contain magazine/newspaper recipes organized into categories with page numbers. This way I don't have to type in the recipe and all the recipes are categorized. The binder has to be flipped through to find a recipe the first time I make it. I don't have a lot of these kinds of recipes so this adequate for me. I use EatYourBooks to find recipes in my cookbooks. This website has been tremendous. I like their bookmark feature where you can earmark recipes that you want to make or ones that are your all time favourites or choose any kind of category you wish to make up. I have taken to using this feature more than referencing them in MacGourmet. So I have two places to look for recipes I have made...oh well, better than nothing.

#13 Marlene

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:04 AM

I use macgourmet as well which I have on my computer and my iPad. For recipes from magazines I generally see if they are online and if so I use the text clip feature rather than the import feature to clip my recipes into the software. I can sync my ipad and computer software and I use the iPad in the kitchen. for random recipes I can't find online, I'll scan them in, then follow the same procedure so that all of my recipes reside in MacGourmet
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#14 rooftop1000

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:21 AM

I usually stuff scraps of paper with hand written recipes or printouts into a kitchen cabinet if the recipe actually got made once...if not it is usually a cut and paste into an email to myself that I have seved in a folder...that I never look at again


I have a bread recipe that is only an ingrediant list...I can remember if it a free form or panned bread LOL
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#15 dividend

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:40 AM

I have an accordion file with 26 tabs labeled with categories (poulty, grains, Italian, soups, desserts, etc.) Paper recipes go in there. I generally don't print or clip (from a magazine) or photocopy (from a cookbook) a recipe until the week I plan to use it (they get flagged ad hoc, though). Each week's recipes get clipped to the front of the accordion file with a binder clip. If I like a new recipe and think I will make it again, it gets filed. If not, it gets tossed.

Recipes online get bookmarked in a folder labeled "TO TRY". They're printed as needed, and deleted from the bookmarks at that point.

I'm to the point where 90% of the recipes I cook from are in the accordion.
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#16 Melissa

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:59 AM

If you are a Mac user, MacGourmet is quite good for organizing recipes and our wine inventory. It also has a feature for making notes about things, for example 'how to use my sprouter' which I copied from the internet.

I use it to either cut and paste recipes from the internet (their internet import feature doesn't always work well); to make reference to a recipe in one of my cookbooks that I have made (the cookbook and page number) or to reference a recipe from my binders which contain magazine/newspaper recipes organized into categories with page numbers. This way I don't have to type in the recipe and all the recipes are categorized. The binder has to be flipped through to find a recipe the first time I make it. I don't have a lot of these kinds of recipes so this adequate for me. I use EatYourBooks to find recipes in my cookbooks. This website has been tremendous. I like their bookmark feature where you can earmark recipes that you want to make or ones that are your all time favourites or choose any kind of category you wish to make up. I have taken to using this feature more than referencing them in MacGourmet. So I have two places to look for recipes I have made...oh well, better than nothing.


Thanks so much for posting this. EatYourBooks sounds fantastic - exactly what I've been looking for! I'll also check out MacGourmet.

Have you ever found any cookbooks you own are not in the EatYourBooks database?

#17 Mjx

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 12:03 PM

I have both a folder and an .rtf document labelled 'Recipes'.

The folder contains all the .pdf files of recipes I've downloaded from the Internet. To find a specific recipe, I use Spotlight (I have a Mac) to find the name of the recipe (if I can remember it), or the central ingredient or resultant product (e.g. 'duck' or 'bread').

The .rtf file contains modified recipes, that is, recipes that are fundamentally good, but were poorly written or organized, so rather than download them as .pdf files, I edited them a bit. Since this file is also searchable, I just do a 'Find' search for the same sorts of terms I use to locate a recipe in a .pdf file.

I annotate pretty heavily.

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#18 runwestierun

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 12:15 PM

I also use EYB. It has given me hope that my recipes can be organized, because it gives me a searchable index for about 300 cookbooks. Maybe 20% of what I have isn't indexed, mostly French things, but all my books are quite new.

I have been thinking about this organization issue recently. I've relied for so long on the "oh I remember where that is" method, but it's not working anymore. I really need to devote a week to it.

I love the idea of Google Docs. I am posting to point out that organization is important, but it's also important to back up and protect your collection. We lost our house in a storm in 2007 along with all but my most recent recipes. I am embarassed how much of it I could not recreate. Google Docs seems like it would organize and protect a recipe collection. Thanks for the tip.

#19 Okanagancook

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 12:26 PM

Yes, some of my older and more obsure cookbooks are not on EYB but most of them are and most of them are indexed. EYB staff have to index all the recipes in each cookbook in their library so not all are indexed yet but you can request that they be indexed and the more people who request a book to be indexed the more that becomes their priority. Highly recommend giving it a try.

#20 toolprincess

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:14 PM

I guess a pile of printed out recipes in a corner of the counter doesn't count as organization?

I also have a "recipe" file on my computer. I usually copy and paste things I find on the internet to this.

Using Google docs seems genius! why didn't I think of that? :hmmm:

I can never seem to trash a recipe even if I only made it once. I'm a terrible packrat.

#21 rarerollingobject

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 02:46 PM

I use Evernote. It's a online service with the same principles as Google Docs but with more functionality - for food, I use it to either bookmark URLs or 'clip' images and text from a webpage and using a one click browser add-in, export it straight into an online repository. This syncs to my iPhone so I can call the recipe up when out and about shopping for ingredients etc. The benefit of this clipping thing of course is that if the original website is taken offline, you always have a copy with the appropriate images.

Liks Google Docs, it also has full 'search within' capabilities but what sets it apart for me is that I can scan printed recipes from books and magazines and Evernote makes these searchable, even though they're essentially images (using OCR character recognition). Or you can type them in and convert them to shopping lists etc.

This functionality also extends to images you snap with your cellphone - I've taken a photo of the label of a bottle wine I've liked and wanted to remember later, synced it into Evernote, it automatically OCRs the image, and you can then search on any text in that image! I think that's pretty cool for a free program. I also like its tagging features, and that it's free for the basic version, which has all the functionality I need anyway.

If you have recipes from a mix of online and printed sources, Evernote is great. I used to use a huge Google Docs Word doc I'd copy paste everything into but Evernote's functionality blows it away. I actually use it to store and capture just about everything in my life these days.

I know I sound a bit evangelical here, but I love it, most especially for my miasma of recipes/food ideas/musings! :biggrin:

Edited by rarerollingobject, 21 January 2011 - 02:56 PM.

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#22 nakji

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 06:34 PM

I have an accordion file with 26 tabs labeled with categories (poulty, grains, Italian, soups, desserts, etc.) Paper recipes go in there. I generally don't print or clip (from a magazine) or photocopy (from a cookbook) a recipe until the week I plan to use it (they get flagged ad hoc, though). Each week's recipes get clipped to the front of the accordion file with a binder clip. If I like a new recipe and think I will make it again, it gets filed. If not, it gets tossed.

Recipes online get bookmarked in a folder labeled "TO TRY". They're printed as needed, and deleted from the bookmarks at that point.

I'm to the point where 90% of the recipes I cook from are in the accordion.


ACCORDION FILE! That's genius. I have one going for all the brochures and business cards to places I've travelled, but I never thought of one for recipes.

Have you ever found any cookbooks you own are not in the EatYourBooks database?


Here's our EatYourBooks topic.

When I started out with them, about 20% of my library was unindexed - probably because I have a lot of less popular regional books. Since then, they've indexed most of these books. Every time I log in I find new recipes up. I think they're hoping to move into magazines at some point, too.

Rarerollingobject - Evernote looks great, and has the added bonus of being as-yet untouched by Chinese censors. I have neither an iPad or a smart phone (still working with my classic Nokia 1110 candybar that refuses to die) so picture and searching functionality are less important to me now, but eventually I'll have to upgrade.

#23 pedie

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 11:27 AM

What a practical topic...thanks!

I have lots of cookbooks but the majority of what I use these days are from clippings out of magazines or newspaper and printed recipes from the internet's various websites. My current method of organization is:

one accordion file that holds "recipes to be tried" arranged by category. Once I have actually prepared the recipe and decide if it is a keeper, then I manually type it into my Mastercook software application. Most of my tried and true recipes are in this computer database. I do not use the cookbooks that come with Mastercook; I only use the database feature to hold my own recipes. One thing I like about Mastercook is that it allows me to convert the recipe as a pdf which I can then print out or email to a friend.

I am going to look into Google docs. Thanks for the idea.
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#24 Okanagancook

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 07:47 PM

Rarerollingobject: Thank you! What a great tool evernote is. I downloaded it and am in full learning mode. We are off to New Zealand on a wine tour and I am going to use to organize that. For my recipes, though, I already have what I need but for someone who is looking for a way to organize their recipes it would be wonderful! Thanks again.
cheers

#25 Chef Hermes Blog

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:14 AM

As the blog has a virtual library we use Dropbox. Can be accessed by multiple computers & iphone app as well.

Nearly all our recipes are created in word then a PDF version is created.

To give you an idea of size, the free version of Dropbox is 2GB & ours is full already :wacko:

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#26 nolnacs

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:45 AM

I use Gourmet recipe managerto catalog all of the recipes that I have made. I've only used the linux version but there is a windows version as well.

Recipes that I have not yet made go into a list that I use to plan meals each week - I generally try like to make 4-5 new recipes for dinner and the others are previous favorites.

#27 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 11:57 PM

Recipes that I have come up with first wander around on random scraps of paper and e-mails to myself, and get either handwritten in my recipe book, or now, more often, go straight to my web site--if they're good enough.

Recipes in books, I mostly remember which book they came from, if I still own the book.

And I have a couple of 3-ring binders with recipes copied from various sources--borrowed books, newspaper clippings, books I decided not to keep but that had one or two special recipes I did keep, recipes shared from friends or family. They're stored in sheet-protectors, organized roughly by category. I take a sheet with the recipe I need out, use it, and return it (ok, there is a 'to be refiled' folder too).

#28 nakji

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 08:39 AM

I favour the "plastic cover" method, too, for cut-out recipes. I can mark my place in the recipe as I go along with whiteboard marker, so I don't miss any ingredients or steps.

#29 Darienne

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:03 AM

I favour the "plastic cover" method, too, for cut-out recipes. I can mark my place in the recipe as I go along with whiteboard marker, so I don't miss any ingredients or steps.

Great idea...I never thought of it.

Most of my recipes are printed, but not in plastic. The ones I use all the time are in plastic. However, at Staples, for about $.70, you can buy a heavy see-through plastic cover, open on two sides, and I simply take my recipe out of its binder and slip it into the plastic cover and then using a rare-earth magnet which is on a knob, I post the recipe on my stove hood to read it.

But I do like the marker idea...
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#30 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:37 AM

then using a rare-earth magnet which is on a knob, I post the recipe on my stove hood to read it


Aha.....I have a refrigerator covered in magnets that get too little use as it is.....d'Oh!