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I've organized my small collection of cookbooks (by cuisine) and food magazines (by season)--but what do you do with individual recipes? These are recipes culminated from websites, cookbooks borrowed from the library, newspapers, etc. Some recipes were used in the kitchen, some recipes were saved to try out on another day.

I've tinkered with the ideas of binders with dividers, file cabinets, a journal, and saving them onto the computer. I feel recipe cards, while visually more appealing, don't always give me the space I need to write out long recipes.

I'd also like to keep track of when I used a certain recipe and how it turned out. Maybe include if it was a special occasion (kinda melding journaling with recipe collecting) and what was served with the dish, who was there, etc.

So how do you organize recipes, and what categories do you include?

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I've tinkered with the ideas of binders with dividers, file cabinets, a journal, and saving them onto the computer. I feel recipe cards, while visually more appealing, don't always give me the space I need to write out long recipes.

I'd also like to keep track of when I used a certain recipe and how it turned out. Maybe include if it was a special occasion (kinda melding journaling with recipe collecting) and what was served with the dish, who was there, etc.

So how do you organize recipes, and what categories do you include?

I keep mine in an accordion folder. entree, salad, side, dessert and beverage first, then subcategories of meat, seafood, grain, fruit/veg, etc. I also keep an accordion folder of information on local food resources and restaurant menus

I have a seperate 3-ring-binder notebook where I keep info on past and future events (menus and such), results, favourites and other things (records of the local food co-op's available products in certain departments, data on different topics (stock-making, infused oils, different food traditions tech, meat, cheese, wine, produce, etc), dietary and menu creation guidelines, pantry inventory (what I try to keep stocked at all times, shopping list templates, idea to try out later, reminders of area I tend to neglect, etc), quickie meal ideas that I can make with what I always have on hand (in event of an emergency) and similar related topics.

that help any?

Sincerely,

Dante

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Wait...you're supposed to organize them?!? :laugh:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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If I find the recipe online, it goes on my computer. Then I update a master file with links to my local HDD version.

If it's not online, I can either scan it in, type it in or write up a list of recipe names & where to find them i.e. which book in my collection contains the recipe.

This allows me to do a keyword search in the master file so that I can quickly find what I want.

And from Tejon I recently learned about a software program The Living Cookbook which looks kinda cool.

Also, check out the following: How do you manage your recipes?

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I keep mine on the computer, organized into files: Appetizers, Soups, Meat, Poultry, Fish, Shellfish, Dairy & Eggs, Vegetables, Salads, Breads, Cakes & Pies, Cookies, Desserts (including the few beverage recipes I use), and Misc. (sauces and other recipes that don't fit elsewhere). Within these categories, I then group them by main ingredient or type of dish

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I've started to use Gmail for keeping all my recipes, including links to recipes I want to try or have used in the past. Since Gmail organizes messages as conversations (similar to threads), it works perfectly for developing versions of recipes.

There is also the added benefit of having my recipes stored off-site, and accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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So how do you organize recipes, and what categories do you include?

It's not exactly one system -- it's more like several. And some of them are less like systems than, well, let's just call it benign neglect.

There are a bunch of files in a folder on my computer called Recipes. And a bunch of bookmarks in a similar folder in my browser. Also a large (physical) accordian folder full of pages torn from the food section of the NYT Sunday Magazine and various cooking magazines. And a card file with more magazine and newspaper clippings stapled to individual cards. Plus recipes on cards from my mother and grandmother.

But lately, the recipes I actually use, no matter what format, end up inserted in vinyl page protectors in a 3-ring binder.

And here's the novelty to my special "system" -- I take out the sheet for the recipe I want to cook. Then, when I'm done, I put it back in the *front* of the binder. So the most frequently used ones naturally gravitate toward the front and I can usually find what I'm looking for pretty quickly just by flipping through.

Of course, I can search through all those other "systems" for something obscure or long-forgotten or really different. Or I can just look here on Egullet, or Epicurious, or Google. Which is what I usually do, anyway.

So now at least forty or fifty of you will tell me that you have individually invented the exact same unique system.... :smile:

- L.

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So now at least forty or fifty of you will tell me that you have individually invented the exact same unique system.... :smile:

- L.

Yeah, I thought I'd seen you at the meetings, Lapin! :laugh:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Family recipes are in our family cookbook, both online and in a 3-ring binder. I slipped them in the vinyl pockets to keep them clean. When I need a new recipe I look online and print it up. That also goes in the binder. Notes are made right on the page. If the recipe is no good it goes out.

The advantage to having our family cookbook online is that I can access it from anywhere.

Family cookbook: http://www.maystar.org/Cookbook/cookbook.htm

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I have a couple of different systems, too. Recipes that I want to try go in one of two different places. If I want to try them soon, they go in a pocket file on a shelf in the kitchen with my cookbook collection. These are not arranged any special way, because there aren't that many of them. If they are something I just want to try sometime, they go in files in my file cabinet, arranged by type (fish, poultry, veg, etc.).

For recipes I have cooked and want to keep (sometimes because I liked them, sometimes because I think I could work on them and make something of them) I use this site. I'm sure that there are lots of sites like this, but this was the first one I found, it's free and I like it. I have printed out each recipe and keep them in page protectors in binders.

I also keep a kitchen/restaurant/entertaining journal with menus of meals that we served and what worked and what didn't. The recipe keeping is all business, the journal is a labor of love.

Kim

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For my wedding, my mom hand-wrote all the family recipes out on 4x6 cards and put them in a photo album. It had never occurred to me the two formats -- photo and recipe-- were the same until then. Now, seven years later, I've stuffed the rest of the slots with printouts either thoughtfully formatted by the likes of epicurious and food network, or reformatted in Word to be four inches wide, then folded accordion style and slipped in a pocket. I'm only now considering buying a second album... they are pretty roomy.

Lately I've been copying recipes into my recipe box on epicurious, marking them private if they are someone else's recipes and public if they are mine, so I can be lazy and not have to reformat them, and so I can look them up online more easily. Now they have the new print yrou own cookbook, it might be even more useful (and no, I don't work for conde nast...)

"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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OK, I'll be honest. I keep the ones I cut out of the paper, etc., in a big basket in the kitchen/dining room. When it overflows (or has been overflowing for a while!) I break down and file the ones I decide to keep in the beautiful library-card file cabinetI bought a while back, under general headings (chicken, beef, fish, bread, cakes, cookies, soups & stews, etc.), or specific holidays (Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.). Soon I'll have to do a major cull, though, as it's filling up fast. Cookbooks are in four bookcases (two in the kitchen/dining room, one by the comfy chair, and one in the bedroom for the overflow), on the shelves of the little occasional tables in the living room, and in piles all around the comfy chair and the bed. Magazines are in more baskets. Oh, and there's always the front of the cheesebox (Refrigerator, for you non-Pushing Daisies fans). No, not very organized. I can't always find the recipe I started out looking for, but I CAN always find A recipe! :raz:

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I also scan recipes into my computer.

A few years ago I bought a high speed scanner because at the time I was historian of a national dog breed club and had 60+ years of stud book registers, pedigrees, photos, articles and interesting correspondence to convert into a permanent record because much was very fragile.

It is ideal for recipes, photos of foods, sources and interesting observations about them.

Mine are broken down into the normal categories but some are duplicated in files that are identified as:

All Time Favorites

Favorites of Family & Friends, (sub-identified by which family member or friend like particular recipes)

Holiday Standards (recipes that are dredged up every year because people expect them)

Must Try soon! (with an entry made in my calendar so I will get a reminder email from ICal a few days ahead of when I want to try it - so I will have time to shop for it)

Ethnic favorites and recipes suitable for friends with dietary restrictions.

Several sub-divisions under this one.

Vegetarian and Vegan favorites of friends who adhere to these.

Recipes for large groups that do not require a platoon of helpers to prepare.

My "Secret" recipes.

My Original recipes and recipes from earlier times that have been resurrected and converted to modern measurements, tested and refined.

Very few in this category.

I also have Mastercook and Mangia! for many years but with the ease of the search function on Macs, I found it was easier just to keep my own files and folders.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Wow, that gmail idea is sounding better and better.. maybe I should make an account just for recipes?

I've been following this topic because I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to do this myself. At the moment, I've been printing all my recipes to PDF (a.k.a. making them into adobe .pdf documents) and saving them, without really any folder organization. Ideally, I think I should probably make some sort of database in MS Access or something where I can cross-reference my recipes and see what file name goes with what.

Alas, that would mean me sitting down and actually doing it... :wacko:

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Wow, that gmail idea is sounding better and better.. maybe I should make an account just for recipes?

There is some merit in setting up a separate account specifically just for recipes. The only disadvantage would be having to fire up another browser in order to have both my regular Gmail and recipe Gmail accounts open simultaneously.

Another advantage of Gmail is its strong indexing and search engine. I can instantly narrow down recipes by ingredients, for example.

As part of the shift to Gmail, I've also tried to cut down drastically on recipe clippings, photocopies and printouts. If I like a recipe enough after making it, I'll take a few minutes to type into Gmail (except recipes I already have in books). Since my computer is next to the kitchen, I no longer print out recipes and just read them from the screen.

The fact is, despite the reams of loose recipes I have, I will only make a fraction of them, so I need to do a better job of weeding out the recipes that I will actually use.

EDITED TO ADD: Although Gmail users may already by familiar with this, I would suggest only sparing use of Drafts to save partially written notes. The reason for this is that it takes only one click to delete all of your saved Drafts...forever!

Err....not that I have ever done this. :raz:

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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