Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How I Organize My Recipe Box

I know it must be painfully obvious how overwhelmed I am with graduate school right now...I promise that in just a few short days, there will be more recipes for you :).

In the meantime, I'd like to share my recipe box - the home for all of the recipe cards I show for each recipe. I'm pretty OCD. I have come to grips with this. My recipe box is no exception - but it isn't overly so.

I painted this recipe box after my first year of college.

My mom is a wonderful cook. My grandmother was a wonderful cook. My mom has actually memorized several recipes: chicken and dumplings, biscuits, cornbread, know, southern staples. The rest of her recipes are a bit scattered. There are two piles of books and magazines. One pile is above the pantry, and the other is in the cupboard with the syrups and honey.

She has two recipe baskets. The baskets are full of recipes on index cards, paper scraps, and note papers. Most are in my mom's handwriting, but there are some in my grandmother's handwriting, some in my aunts', some in my mom's friends', and even some in my handwriting (including one from eleven years ago that tells how to start the oven timer). The various handwritings make me smile. There are also some magazine clippings, clippings from the sides of boxes, random recipes that came in the mail, and more. They are full of recipes that she (and I) know, make, and love, and some that we have never tried before. Some of them we really don't even plan on ever trying.

There are index tabs with categories, but none of the recipes are actually organized into them. So, when we want to find a recipe, we have to go through each basket - one card/note paper/scrap at a time. Then, if it isn't there, we start going through books. I am too OCD for the disorganization - charming as some of it may be.

My Rules for My Recipe Box
  • I do not put any recipes in my recipe box that I have not tried and liked. Recipes I want to try are kept on top of the stack of books in the cupboard with the syrups and honey :).
  • Each recipe card is placed behind a particular category.
  • I periodically go through the recipe box and discard recipes that I only ever made once a long, long time ago.
  • Even if I own the book or magazine for a particular recipe, I still rewrite the recipe onto an index card so I will be able to find it. (...and I usually modify recipes in one way or another anyway, so my index card reflects the changes.)
  • I write all of the recipes out on index cards so that they are all the same size and so they don't get stuck on or inside each other.
  • If I ever get a recipe in someone else's handwriting that I do not feel the need to modify, I will glue it to the recipe card.
I made the little tabs. I like them a lot. I traced an index card on black scrapbook paper, and then I freehanded a tab on top. I cut it out, and I traced it several times, moving the tab as needed. I freehanded the letters, too. I dipped the back tip of a very skinny brush in white paint (quill pen style) to write in the white letters.

My categories are Entrees, Grilling (there may be one card in that section), Breads, Side Dishes, Casseroles, Slow Cooker, and Desserts! I wish I had made a Misc. category, too. I will eventually. For now, I just put all the misc ones in the front. You can see the chex mix recipe there in front. I think homemade play dough is probably up there, too. You can't see this, but I have an index card with a blue sticky note that separates the last of my dessert cards from my blank index cards.

I keep plenty of blank index cards for new recipes. I also keep them because I tend to be clumsy in the kitchen. More than once I have had to rewrite a recipe due to spills, burned edges, etc.

I'm OCD, not graceful. :)
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1 comment:

  1. This is way better than my "system", which is numerous piles of paper in different cabinets, and a couple of Trapper Keeper folders full of more recipes in various handwritings of family and friends as well!! I need to do index cards, and I really like the idea of only putting in the ones you use regularly or have tried more than once! TFS!


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