Are you are a well organized person? I am most definitely not. Although I do like things neat and clean, for some reason I have a hard time keeping certain areas that way. There are a couple of fields where I could clearly do better, browser bookmarks for instance or proper recipes organization.
Despite my affinity to the computer per se and as much as I appreciate the web as a vast inspirational resource, I simply cannot become friends with electronic recipe organization. Having tested various applications over the last years, not a single one managed to convince me to stick with it. Sure, the search functionalities are a huge plus, but the missing paper factor weighs much harder for me. Handwritten recipes develop their own personalities, may it be the aged paper from previous centuries, a beautiful handwriting (which I have not) or the stains and greasy marks, that tell a story of victory success (hopefully). Some of my most precious recipe notes date back to the 70s, were written by my mum or grandma and – more often than not – leave me a bit puzzled, because important information like actual title or “minor details” such as the baking time are missing… but it’s tangible, you can hold it in your hands and feel it.
I use three different ways of keeping my recipes orderly:
1) Bookmarks: tempting recipes I come across online are tagged using recipe specific tags
2) “To-try” recipes are sorted in an ordinary, multi-fragmented folder
My folder grows constantly but helps enormously to keep magazine rip-outs, newspaper clippings, prints-outs, copies and recipe cards organized. It is spiced up with colorful labels and has 12 sub-divisions:
*pasta & rice
3) Successful, “to-keep” recipes are written down in a special notebook
Is it just me thinking that most food bloggers use the famous Moleskine notebook? Having tried other notebooks over the last years I still have a strong preference for them, mostly due to their silky paper quality and slim shape. My typical choice has always been the pocket-sized basic notebook with square pages, but when I finished my last one with a yummy tartlet recipe (soon to come), I somehow fell in love with the idea of creating a personal, customized Moleskine cookbook, using the larger format of 13 x 21 cm (5 x 8¼”).
Here is how to turn your Moleskine notebook into a recipe book:
Decide which recipe sections you want to use for segmentation (I used the same as for my folder, see above) and how many pages you want to dedicate to each section.
Keep a few empty pages either in the front or back for other purposes, like general tips or information.
To separate the sections use self-adhesive tabs or design your own choosing a decorative font as well as different colors. If you’re happy with my way of categorizing recipes you can download my tabs draft here » (PDF, 371 KB, print in 100%)
Stick a couple of Post-it notes on the inside of the cover to be able to easily and visibly comment previously written recipes.
Write down every keep-worthy recipe as detailed as possible – ingredients, instructions, yield, preparation time, tasting notes, ideas, tips, pitfalls, source, etc. – and try to develop a consistent style.
Mark your favorite recipes with color markers, little icons or stickers.
If you want to get the most out of your Moleskine besides making it a recipe book, check out these Moleskine hacks and the especially helpful instructions on how to adapt a pen holder to your notebook – probably the only thing I really miss on a Moleskine.
How do you organize your recipes?