I didn’t post our Kitchen decluttering post last week, what was I thinking… to spring clean the kitchen the same week that I began a “crack of dawn” gym routine. Everything round here has been thrown somewhat by the new gym regime, so I decided to embrace the rest I needed and I will just keep the posts rolling out as I write them. Meanwhile a little kitchen project that I have started and neglected and then started again, for the longest time… is the recipe and recipe book situation.
Se7en Steps to Getting Your Recipe Collection in Order
- Recipe Books:
- Recipe Collecting and Gathering:
- Make Time to Try Those Recipes:
- A Family Recipe Book:
- Creating a Quick Reference:
- Let it Grow Naturally:
- And a Challenge:
Honestly recipe books are works of art, their functionality has gone way beyond putting ingredients to work and following step by step until you have dinner on the table. Recipe books are beautiful collections of photographs and books that you want to linger over for hours. Even if you never cook a recipe from them, you will walk away inspired. I love recipe books and love reviewing them, but I cannot keep them all. The way I keep our recipe books under control is to limit them to one shelf, it is hard, in fact it is brutal. But one shelf it is and I only keep my absolute faves. I have a new trick, I gift the recipe books I love, but don’t fit on the shelf, onto friends because then I can call them anytime I need a recipe.
Whenever I see a recipe I like, or a friend shares a recipe with me I toss it in a box, and literally forget about it there. I never keep magazines or recipe pamphlets, I cut out the recipe I want to keep and literally toss them into the box and then forget about them until the box is full.
The question is, what do we do with all the recipes we want to try… firstly we have one night a week for trying new recipes. It has to be a planned night for us, because new recipes tend to require slightly different ingredients to the ones that you usually use and so require a special trip to the store. Not to mention new recipes take a little longer to prepare because there is usually something new to learn. Anyway, if a recipe is a keeper then it is written into our family cookbook on the day. If I leave it any longer it gets forgotten and never re-surfaces.
I started putting all our favourite recipes and recipes that we use frequently into a book… filling it up slowly and steadily as time wanders on. Whenever we review a recipe book and a new recipe becomes one that we embrace then I pop that recipe and which book it comes from and the page in the book was well. Every now and then I dedicate a double spread to a cook book we love… and list the recipes in there that we love, because is there anything worse than knowing that there is a recipe you want to make again and again but you just aren’t sure which book is it from. I want this book to be a bit of an heirloom, something that my kids would look back on and remember Monday Morning Pancakes and our favourite cookie recipes all on one page.
I found that while the family recipe book gets fuller and fuller as we try new recipes… it isn’t quite the quick reference that I need on our kitchen counter. We have a heap of kids that are all growing up and they like to cook… so I keep a small recipe book, just with ingredients in it. They have been watching how to make recipes for years… but sometimes you just need a quick reminder of the correct amounts of ingredients. So it really is a teeny tiny recipe book… a quick reference that is really unique to our family. Our basic cookie recipe, our quickest cake in the world, milk tart.
Every time the kids want to make something and the ingredients aren’t in the book, then I add that recipe to the book. Just this morning I added banana bread to the book. This little book is really just a guide, so that drastic mistakes aren’t made. If they need to know the procedure then they can refer back to the recipe in the family recipe book.
Right now our box of recipes is full to exploding… I need to go through it and toss the recipes that we will never actually try and make a plan to use and keep the ones that we really are. This is a task I can easily do, while the kids are busy at the table alongside me. I just never get round to it… a realistic goal to tackle this week… empty out the messy recipe box.