As a follow up to my post on where to get recipe inspiration from, I thought I would go on to discuss how to store your favourite recipes. I store cookery books and magazines on bookshelves of course, but it can be frustrating trying to remember exactly which book and on what page a recipe is on. I spent half an hour the other night looking through magazines for a recipe I knew was there somewhere. It didn’t come to light until a couple of weeks later when I found said magazine under the coffee table instead of in the magazine box.
I’ve got a couple of these folders:
They are called expanding organisers, and when you open the lid you have a row of slots that you can slip papers into. I found this useful for storing magazine recipes where I didn’t want to keep the magazine, and just tore out the relevant pages and put them in the folder. They are also good for the recipe cards you pick up in the supermarkets.
I also inherited a box of family recipes on index cards that were stored in a box similar to that at the top of the page. I later reorganised them into the expanding organiser to try and get everything in one place.
I also had one of those blank recipe books that you are meant to copy your recipes into, but of course the problem with that, and also the index cards, is that it involves handwriting every recipe either in the book or on a card, which is a bit tedious. When the original family recipes were done some of those were typed onto index cards, but it was probably easier to get an index card in the typewriter than it is in the printer.
The other thing is that these days I use recipes off the internet. I do end up printing some of them so I have a copy in the kitchen, but simple recipes I tend to note down the details on a post-it note and chuck it afterwards, or stick in on the back of another recipe if it was any good. Sometimes I just bookmark them on my phone and then use the phone to help me do the recipe, although that can get irritating it the phone keeps turning off. I suppose I could find that setting and change it though.
Some recipe websites also have recipe boxes that you can log into and tag your favourite recipes, or even type your own in, but I find I pick and choose recipes from all over the place not just one site, although some sites I use more than others.
Anyway, what I want to be able to do is it to have a core of recipes that I have tried, that work and that I can easily cook on a weeknight, and that I can just refer to the day before and decide what I am doing. Many of the above methods of storing recipes are things that might be nice to try, or things you did once for a special occasion and you end up with a mass of paper that you have to flick through and it takes ages to decide on what to cook.
As an aside, its useful to annotate cookery books and recipes to remind yourself of how the recipe went. I keep a pencil in the kitchen, and if I try a new recipe from a book I will lightly annotate to say if it tasted nice, or any improvements I should try next time.
So, I think I’ve found my recipe solution. I have a Google account, and I use Google Drive to store documents on. Google Drive allows you to store spreadsheets, straight documents, presentations, photos, and other things. It’s basically the equivalent of Microsoft Office but the documents are all stored in the cloud, and it has an app for my smartphone so that I can access my documents from my phone or any computer, providing there is an internet connection.
The plan I have just started is to create a recipe folder within Google Drive. Within that folder I have created different folders for dinners, lunches, desserts etc. I am then creating documents with copy and pasted recipes from the internet, including my own blog, which sorts the internet side of things. Only tried and tested useful recipes will make it into the folder. Then to deal with magazines and cookery books I am taking photos of the recipes with my smartphone, and uploading the photos to the same folder so I effectively have a picture of the recipe instructions. I’ve only done a few so far and it’s working pretty well. You need to get the pages properly flat and have a decent light but they have turned out quite readable.
So if I build up the folders over time with favourite recipes it should give me a complete recipe book, a mixture of documents and pictures from all my recipe sources, of things I cook on a regular basis.
What do you think? Any improvements to this system I could add? What’s your system for storing recipes from different media?