Sherri Kruger from Zen Family Habits writes about her long search for the ideal way to organize recipes in this guest post.
I love to cook and I love to bake. Almost as much as I love to eat.
I have a ton of recipes. Some are old family recipes passed down from my great-grandparents, others are from pages of magazines or printed from the Internet. Over the years I have tried a number of different ways to keep track of and organize our recipes but nothing ever felt right.
Rachel has written about organizing her recipes electronically using Evernote and I really wish I could make it work for me, but I just can’t.
Here are a few things I’ve tried.
Spread sheet on-line
- These are relatively easy to maintain and edit to include your own notes and modifications.
- Not so good recipes can be deleted from your collection with the press of a button.
- It’s neat and legible for everyone.
- The search functionality is fantastic.
- You need to print off recipes to refer to while you’re cooking or;
- You need to have a computer within close proximity to the kitchen.
- It’s a bit cold and lacks personality.
Binder with clear sheet protectors
- Keeps recipes flat and ordered.
- Spills and splatters can be wiped off.
- Easy to re-order recipes and insert new ones.
- Not all recipes are printed on the same size paper. You may need to fold some, while others float around.
- Binders are typically tall and so they take up a lot of vertical space.
- All recipes are contained in one neat little book.
- Doesn’t take up a lot of room.
- You can number the recipes and create an index at the front which makes finding recipes a snap.
- If you don’t like a recipe it’s tougher to get rid of it. Especially if you write on both sides of the page.
- It’s difficult to insert new recipes especially if you’re sorting by category.
- Difficult to share individual recipes with others. You need to transcribe it for them or give up your whole notebook.
Kicking it old school: Recipe Cards
All of these organizing methods have brought me full circle, back to the good-old-reliable recipe cards. I think there’s a reason they’ve been used for the past several decades. I love looking through my Grannie and Grandpa’s recipe box and seeing old family favorites as well as ones I have yet to try. They have such personality. Aged from years of living in the kitchen, handwritten, stained and grease marked — a sure sign of dishes held near and dear.
- One recipe to one card. These can be edited, re-written and modified easily.
- They don’t take up a lot of space.
- You can easily insert a new recipe when sorting into categories.
- They become messy with food splatter, grease marks and stains.
- Ink may fade with time.
- Can get out of order if not everyone is on board with your system.
Old school recipe cards are pretty tough to beat. Your handwriting adds warmth and personality even if it’s not perfect. Remember that the recipes you write out today may be fondly admired by your grandchildren years from now.
(from Rachel: Okay, I’m convinced. Even though my recipes are on the computer, I’m going to copy my favorite ones on to recipe cards, and maybe tape them to the inside of the cabinet door for quick glances.)
Sherri Kruger writes at Zen Family Habits, a blog celebrating all things family. She’s a stay at home mom of two and also writes at her personal development blog dedicated to sharing simple tips to enjoy life.