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Kitchen journals and notebooks


heidih
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We had a topic here about shopping lists and kitchen notebooks but it did not address how the notebooks were used as a technique in our kitchens.

I walked into the kitchen today to once again experiment with some calamansi marmalade. I have made four versions over the last year and was sure I could remember my quantities. Nope....I reinvented the wheel again.

I have had the same problem with my grape leaves.

As a cook who mostly uses recipes as inspiration I am interested in how others journal their recipes and tweaks and ideas and make them available and understandable when they walk into the kitchen for a session.

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heidi, I don't keep a kitchen notebook, though sometimes I wish I did. Sometimes I scribble comments in the margin of a cookbook if I think there's an error or if I've substantially changed the recipe and want to remember. But usually not.

Yesterday's New York Times ran a story about a women who has been keeping a dinner diary since 1998: here


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I don't have a notebook, but I use index cards that I leave stuck to the fridge. When I'm working on a recipe, I use my kitchen whiteboard to jot down what I'm using, and then if it works, I transfer it to an index card.

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I wish I could keep a kitchen journal but it never lasts more than an entry or two. Currently I am using Living Cookbook Software and I am being more consistent in adding comments and reviews to my recipes. Still I wish I could train myself to keep a proper journal in the kitchen.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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No notebooks or journals...............

what I do have is a series of small "recipie books" small enough to fit in a breast pocket, with alphabetized tabs. I've done this since my apprenticeship 25 years ago and still do it.

The books change and evolve. Recipies change, techniques change, and all of this is noted down in point form.

And that's about it...

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I wish I could keep a kitchen journal but it never lasts more than an entry or two. Currently I am using Living Cookbook Software and I am being more consistent in adding comments and reviews to my recipes. Still I wish I could train myself to keep a proper journal in the kitchen.

I love my Living Cookbook software! I've been using it for several years and have used it to "publish" three cookbooks for my family. I have the recipes printed out and in plastic sleeves in binders. I make notes on the pages or on post-it notes and then update the database periodically.

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I've got twenty years of sketch books that I use mostly for work and partly for fun. Overall, they're 80% architectural, 10% food/entertainment, and 10% other. I tried to keep a little black foodie book after seeing Chef at Home Michael Smith do it 5 years ago, now I know I'll just loose such dedicated little books.

As a cook who mostly uses recipes as inspiration . . .

Not me, I like pictures.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I have a binder for recipes from magazines or online and in books I use post it notes if I want to add some notes, I don't like writing in my books (or getting them messy...)

I've started notebooks too many times for too many topics, I guess I'm not a note book person. I use them for a while and then completely forget about them...

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I do like a hands on written tangible record.

I have decided to start slowly (as it may not pan out) with a simple spiral notebook. The entries in the front and and ongoing index in the back. I am thinking for example an entry in the front that chronicles my stuffed grape leaves and an entry starting from the back that says "page 6 thru 8 grape leaves". I will manually number the pages. Pretty primative but no money investment and it will give me a chance to see if it makes sense.

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I write all over the recipes in my cookbooks. And my kids know which books and recipes are my favorites.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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heidi, I don't keep a kitchen notebook, though sometimes I wish I did. Sometimes I scribble comments in the margin of a cookbook if I think there's an error or if I've substantially changed the recipe and want to remember. But usually not.

Yesterday's New York Times ran a story about a women who has been keeping a dinner diary since 1998: here

That's a really interesting article. I've been keeping track since 2000. I started actually writing in a blank book - pasting in pictures of my dishes or restaurants and now do it mostly on the computer. I prefer the books that I can hold in my hand and see the tucked in menus and invitations, etc., but the physical journals take up so much room:

P1050474.JPG

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So between this topic and the fact that at more than one garage sale today lovely blank notebooks were on offer I decided the time had come to try again:

journal cover.jpg

That's me being chased by evil kitchen imps.

inside journal.jpg

Wonder how long I will keep it up this time! Maybe we need a topic where we must post a page from our journal each week!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I use the margins of the recipe books. Notations include: "This was terrible!", or scratching out the printed quantity to include my own corrected version, or adding another ingredient that was sorely lacking - like chives over mushroom soup. I always include the date.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi,

I was just reading a thread about braising and it reminded me of an amazing duck ragu that I once made. I'm just a passionate home cook and so alternate between simple couple of elements meals of an evening and more complex fine dinning dinner party meals.

The question is even for the great chefs out there do you keep track of what you have cooked and make notes on what worked and what did not? Guess I have had an epiphany in that if I always make some detailed notes on every time I cook something it will help me remember the great dishes that worked and those that did not.

I imagine as a professional chef it would be even harder to remember everything you have ever tried. I am sure I have forgotten some great dishes I have made even though I don't make that many.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Paul

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  • 7 years later...
8 hours ago, CantCookStillTry said:

Caught my son writing in my recipe journal. 

Nope. 

 

20200720_200823.thumb.jpg.6591e6abbc9e9a7defa13bcb3240f7e0.jpg

I love this.  I remember my daughter (now 36) would come up with elaborate meals that she wanted to prepare.  Mostly she just wanted to talk about them, but occasionally we'd have a kitchen-day and I'd try to gently steer her towards something actually doable and edible!  Her reach still exceeds her grasp sometimes.  😁❤️

 

PS - I for one, would love to see some of YOUR part of the journal.  I'm fascinated by that.  I even go back and peruse my own - both handwritten and digital.  

Edited by Kim Shook (log)
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16 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

 

PS - I for one, would love to see some of YOUR part of the journal.  I'm fascinated by that.  I even go back and peruse my own - both handwritten and digital.  

 

 

I only started it a year or so ago... and for kind of morbid reasons. I'm one of those cooks that never does the same thing twice you know? And so when the fam say they like it... I don't offen remember what I did and can't replicate it. So now if they really like something, they tell me its a journal meal right after. There's not much in there to be honest 🤣.

It is just 'classics' too - spag bol, potato salad, chili, stew, coleslaw etc. Being so far from home I am often nostalgic and wish for my "nans..." or my "mums..." and I figured if I wrote down my versions of their favourites, when I'M gone, my hub can still make my kid something close or my kid can. Being such a sporadic random cook I wanted to have a few "mums patented recipes". And I gotta write that sh!t down or it won't happen 🤣

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2 hours ago, CantCookStillTry said:

 

I only started it a year or so ago... and for kind of morbid reasons. I'm one of those cooks that never does the same thing twice you know? And so when the fam say they like it... I don't offen remember what I did and can't replicate it. So now if they really like something, they tell me its a journal meal right after. There's not much in there to be honest 🤣.

It is just 'classics' too - spag bol, potato salad, chili, stew, coleslaw etc. Being so far from home I am often nostalgic and wish for my "nans..." or my "mums..." and I figured if I wrote down my versions of their favourites, when I'M gone, my hub can still make my kid something close or my kid can. Being such a sporadic random cook I wanted to have a few "mums patented recipes". And I gotta write that sh!t down or it won't happen 🤣

 

re these recipe journals, remember at holiday or other gift giving times, these saved recipes are no-brainer presents.     Maybe 10 years ago I gave our son a binder with a dozen or so recipes for his favorite dishes.   Some were my mother's, and I included copies in her writing.   I put each page in a plastic sleeve.   Since then, every holiday season I check to see if there are new additions I should pass on.    After I once set up a page, it is easy to make copies for other family members a appropriate.  

I am seeing son put these recipes to use as he occasionally calls me for further explanation.    I am guessing that today he is making a birthday cake from this collection.

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eGullet member #80.

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