I think I have 250 recipes. Oh, and that’s just for one-pot chicken meals. The internet gives me access to hundreds of recipes, often daily, right into my inbox.
But, what should you do with them all?
I have a copy of my mother’s personal cookbook. It’s a small blue binder with hand-written recipes and various clippings from ‘60s ladies’ magazines. It is divided into sections. Breakfast. Lunch. Meat. Side Dishes. Desserts. Potluck. Yeah, a whole section of recipes for food to take with you to feed a crowd.
Truth is, I don’t remember eating any of this stuff when I was a kid. Nothing. Well, I think she may have tried baking bread using one of these recipes once. But I didn’t get to eat it. Well, I didn’t WANT to eat it!
I think cooking talent must skip a generation. My grandmother was an incredible cook and was actually famous for her pies! My mother, well, not so much. She bought into the message that cooking was drudgery and women should not be subjected to such misery. So, although she had lovely painted fingernails, we had cereal for dinner if my father wasn’t home. Which happened a lot. He worked shift work.
Modern Recipe Organizational Methods
There are ways to organize recipes that do not include keeping a little blue binder. But a little blue
binder might be okay. Better when the whole kitchen is organized. Likely better than many of my
previous attempts anyway.
The idea in the beginning is to write out as many of your “go-to” recipes as you can. They say most of us
use the same 10 or so recipes pretty constantly, so start there. I tend to make the same few recipes in
my air fryer and electric pressure cooker, a couple of my favourite kitchen accessories. Write out the
instructions or general directions, if not a specific recipe. Nobody else needs to be able to follow along.Look for envelopes, or places to slide in loose paper in an organizer. As time goes on, you’ll find yourself printing out internet recipes, and tearing out pages from magazines (just like mom). The best idea is to rewrite them, 3-hole punch them or at least staple them to pages you can put in the binder. But that might not happen all the time. Have a way to contain loose pages so they don’t get away from you.
There’s an App for That
Yes, as there is for most everything else, there’s an app for that. Well, more like hundreds of apps for that. Download an app (or two) to your Smartphone and you can search through hundreds of thousands of recipes.
My local grocery store has an app and they have some good recipes in there, too. Those connect with the online ordering function so I can add ingredients to my grocery order automatically.
Big Oven – From their website: “Cooking simplified. The best recipe organizer, grocery list and menu app for home cooks. All your recipes on the go. Search 500,000+ Recipes”.
Some apps don’t let you import handwritten recipes. You have to painstakingly type them in. Big Oven’s recipe scanner takes pictures of your handwritten family recipes, and instantly you see them in the app. You can follow other cooks, like friends and family, who use the app. Sort of a Pinterest for food. Big Oven also has an option for using leftovers, coordinating shopping lists with others so you can buy in bulk and share, and even does meal plans.
Yummly – From their website: “Yummly is your smart cooking sidekick. From recipe recommendations just for you to handy tools and helpful videos, Yummly has everything you need to improve life in the kitchen.”
Yummly specializes in helping those who have special dietary requirements, like food allergies or vegetarians. The app filters through recipes to find the ones without the ingredients you specify. Yummly features over 2 million recipes that you can use right away or save to a calendar for later.
On My Computer Desktop
I regularly run into recipes that I consider to be inspirational in some way. Sometimes I do want to try to make something very similar (but seldom identical!). Often the recipe shows up in my inbox, because I do sign up for so many!
I tried saving the website links as bookmarks in my browser for a long time. They soon became unwieldy and I never looked at them. So, I found another solution.
I have a folder on my desktop simply called “recipes”. In there I keep screen captures of recipes that catch my eye. You can do that with a screen shot from your computer, but I usually find there is more information than I can get in one screen shot. So, I found an app for that, too.
Full Page Screen Capture is a free Google Chrome extension. From their website, “Capture a screenshot of your current page in entirety and reliably—without requesting any extra permissions!”
Just by clicking once, this simple way to create a full-page screenshot preserves the whole recipe that’s in your current browser window. Just click on the little camera icon (or Alt+Shift+P). The extension captures the whole page, and automatically opens in a new tab. Download it into the recipe folder as a PDF or an image, or just drag it.
So, I accept that no matter how many apps, binders or desktop folders, I will still search for something at 4pm. Recipe collecting is a hobby for me, much like it was for my mother. The difference? I think my family could look at my recipe collection and remember eating something similar, at least occasionally.