21 December 2019

Weekend Cooking: Organizing for a New Year

weekend cooking at Beth Fish ReadsI know we have another Saturday before the end of the year, but I thought I'd take this week to talk about one of the kitchen-related projects I have planned for 2020.

Even though I'm lucky enough to receive a number of print cookbooks to review each year, I still find quite a few recipes from Pinterest or via internet searches, magazines, and digital cookbooks. I'm not a big fan of cooking from my tablet screen (I worry about spills and I hate when the tablet goes to sleep), so I usually print out a copy of any digital recipe I plan to use.

That's all fine and good, except I tend to save the hard copies, even when they don't include any cooking notes and even when I don't really plan to make that dish again. I imagine that I'm gong to immediately file or take note of the week's winners and toss the rest. But, um, you know how that goes.

Once the pile of paper gets out of hand (like mine is now), I know it's time to get organized.

weekend cooking at Beth Fish ReadsIn a perfect world, I'd save every successful online recipe on Pinterest or maybe Pepperplate and every newspaper and print magazine recipe in one of my disc-bound notebooks (as seen in the opening photo). Every cookbook recipe would, of course, be entered in a spreadsheet or at least in a searchable document.

Guess what? I don't live in a perfect world, and it's been at least two years since I've gone through my gigantic stack of printouts. See that pile in the photo to the right? Now take a look at the one with the ruler just below. Yeah. That stack is almost 6 inches high.

I  need to get a grip! In full disclosure, I should say that the pile also contains a bunch of weekly dinner plans. I started saving my plans to help me through weeks when I was too busy to start planning from scratch. But what good are my saved plans doing buried in a huge pile of recipes? I can't find them when I need them.

weekend cooking at Beth Fish ReadsOnce we get past the holidays, I plan to spend about 15 minutes a day going through this stack and trying to create that perfect world in which every recipe is in its place and every dinner plan is filed by season.

Does it sound like a grueling job to you? Not to me. I'm actually looking forward to rediscovering some winning recipes and getting organized for the new year.

I know over the years some of you have mentioned different apps that you use to save your recipes. I've used Master Cook and Pepperplate. Both work well . . . if you remember to use them. Which apps or programs do you use?

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.


rhapsodyinbooks 12/21/19, 6:25 AM  

I print out a bunch too and even put them in clear protectors sheets. But they don't do me much good without organizing, which I also need to do. Great idea for a New Year's project!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 12/21/19, 6:58 AM  

I discard my paper recipes after I make them- If I want to make them or something like it again, I post it on my blog.I can't tell you how many times I refer to my own blog for a previously made recipes. I also have drafts on my blog for me that I don't post. Good luck organizing!

Mae Travels 12/21/19, 7:29 AM  

What to do with paper? How to remember a good recipe? Universal problems (well, maybe first-world problems).

Using the iPad directly bothered me too. So I bought one of those plastic cookbook protectors, and I stand my iPad in it to keep it clean. I set the iPad on never-go-to-sleep. As for paper -- I recycled all my disorganized print-outs and never-tried clippings a while ago. When I find a good recipe online, I email the name and link to myself with enough description that the email search function can find it. (Or cut & paste it into the email message). But I still can't bring myself to destroy my mother's hand-written folder of recipes she would get from friends and family by calling them on the phone.

Everyone needs to find a personal solution to all this technology!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

GypsyPlate 12/21/19, 7:38 AM  

Jeez, I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one! Someday I'll get organized!

bermudaonion 12/21/19, 8:13 AM  

I did that a few years ago. It took a while but it's so nice to have those recipes organized now.

jama 12/21/19, 8:42 AM  

I have a pile of printouts too -- not as tall as yours, but still. Would love to get organized in the New Year.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 12/21/19, 8:42 AM  

I have a handmade wooden recipe box that I received as a wedding gift from my aunt over forty years ago. I will never give it up. But I also keep a Google Doc with recipes I find online (many of them here!) I print out the recipe for work as I am making it, but I also copy the recipe online and add it to the Doc. Over the years I have also scanned in recipes that I use a lot so that I can easily share an electronic copy when someone asks for it. I often scan my favorites from print cookbooks and add them to this file. I hope to put them in better order some day, but at least I can easily search and reprint anything I want to make.

Tina 12/21/19, 8:43 AM  

Oh, sister, you’re preaching to the choir on that problem! My papers are out of control....again. Next year it’s one of my projects to weed through the recipes and organize. My method, such as it is, required notebooks. They are the binders with the three rings.

I have several with labels of chicken, beef, soups & stews, Instant Pot, etc. once I try a recipe & know I’m keeping it, I (ideally) place the printed copy in a clear sleeve and pop it in the appropriate notebook.
My problem comes with new recipes which I shove in a generic folder for later. That one gets unmanageable. I’ll probably post about my progress next year. I wish you luck!

Claudia 12/21/19, 9:45 AM  

I have that stack of print-outs too, in a box, in a cupboard, and very rarely referred to anymore. The ones I use are in a recipe file under documents. If I like one in a book or magazine I take a picture of it and send it to myself. So there's also a recipe file on my phone. Some get deleted after trying. Like you say, it's not a perfect world.

Beth F 12/21/19, 9:48 AM  

@Claudia Taking a photo! Brilliant. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that.

Melissa 12/21/19, 10:24 AM  

So here's my system, if you can call it that:

I love, love, love Plan to Eat (www.plantoeat.com). That's where I save any and all recipes I come across online. It's usually my first go-to place for looking up recipes.

When I try one and we like it, it gets printed out and added to one of two binders. I have one binder for Tried and True recipes and another for Instant Pot and Slow Cooker recipes. That second binder is divided into Tried and True and ones I want to try.

It sounds complicated, but really isn't. Like you, I have piles of paper to organize, too.

Jackie McGuinness 12/21/19, 10:54 AM  

I do the same thing, print them out. Some become keepers. some I don't ever make but can't remember if I did. I also don't like my tablet in the kitchen, my fingers are usually covered in flour or something or other.
I try to record them in my blog at least, but that doesn't always happen either.
I pin stuff but never usually refer back to my pins....

Deb in Hawaii 12/21/19, 10:56 AM  

I have no great solutions to offer. I used to have a large box where I kept printed recipes but I finally went through it a few years ago and streamlined it and scanned the ones I wanted to keep and then moved away from printing and mostly use Pinterest or save them in an online file. I cook off my phone or Ipad & yes, it's annoying when it times out. ;-) I still have a small box with recipe cards that my mom copied for me and I will always keep those.

Beth F 12/21/19, 11:10 AM  

@Melissa I remember you had a program/app you liked but I couldn't remember the name. I need to re-investigate that one.

SuziQoregon 12/21/19, 12:46 PM  

I’m a huge fan of the Paprika 3 Recipe manager app. I primarily use it on my iPad but I sync it to my phone so I can pull up recipes if needed while out shopping.

Nan 12/21/19, 10:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nan 12/21/19, 10:42 PM  

I deleted my previous comment only because of one wrong letter.

I still use recipe cards which go in my recipe boxes. I still have a few of my mother's and I so love seeing her handwriting. Maybe some distant descendent of mine will love my cards, who knows?!

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 12/22/19, 12:56 PM  

I dislike cooking from a screen also, I usually jot down notes from a screen on a scap of paper and work from that, but do I have a couple of "books" of the recipes I use all the time written down.

Les in Oregon 12/23/19, 2:16 PM  

If I see a recipe I want to try, I print it out and stick it in a file (creatively labeled "Recipes"). I used to have (and probably do somewhere!) files for each type of food item. Salads, appetizers, chicken, beef, etc. That stack grew and grew, so now I have only one file. I look through it once a month or so and discard what no longer appeals. Once I try the recipe, I type it up and share it on my blog (or keep it as a draft until I can get a photo), which makes it very easy to find when we're on the road. I also print out a copy and put it in a sheet protector and place it in one of two binders (broken down with dividers by categories). I flip through these binders to find inspiration. Sometimes I'll try one of those tried-and-true recipes from years ago and see if I still like it as much. Our eating preferences have changed quite a bit since the late 80s!

Heidenkind 12/31/19, 11:21 PM  

I use printouts, and my stack is 3 inches high. Lol It’s not the greatest, but it seems like papas are even more of a pain

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