Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Recipe organisation

This is a really special project for me. Something I've been thinking about for some time. Something which I hope will be in my possession for years to come. Hopefully something which will be treasured by my children and their children. Not that I like to put pressure on myself or anything ;-)

Basically, since my final year at university, it is fair to say I've been obsessed with cooking and all things food-related. I have a massive folder full of printed out recipes and magazine tear outs. It looked neat at first, but I can't say it's aged very well. It barely ever sees the light of day. It's become too massive, too bulky, too messy. I had it organised with alphabet dividers (A to Z), with the main ingredient being used for filing purposes. Only things can get a little complicated when you speak more than one language. It's not all apricot/ abricot you see. What happens to the likes of strawberry/ fraise? What happens there? Do I just put it all under S, or F? Seems a bit of a waste of time to have to trawl through two sections of the folder when I'm only after one ingredient. Anyway, you get the idea, it wasn't working. And then there's the other folder. The one where I've put in lots of random magazine cut outs. Calling this one a mess is the understatement of the century.

So I did a bit of thinking. Quite a bit actually. I think I even enjoyed having my little thinking cap on, made me feel Arty you see. I can't draw to save my life. But in this instance, I've been able to scribble down how I'd like things to look. I've even got a little notebook out of our ridiculously large stationery collection, and declared it The Inspiration Notebook. Somewhere for me to jot things down, make notes of ideas, possibilities, inspirations. But I'm digressing, back to my recipe dilemma and new found solution. I wanted to work with an easy concept, something cute, something easy to use in the kitchen (no point having a great big old folder that takes up all the space on the working surface), something that I would look forward to flicking through.

So, want to see what I came up with?Well, I prepared 5 little notebooks. Why five? One for each season plus one for miscellaneous recipes (those that are season-less) of course! And I've got a rule for those recipes that do make it into the notebooks. They have to be tried, tasted and liked by me. None of those "ooh this looks nice I'll keep it for a rainy day". No no no. It has to have convinced Boyfriend and I that it is indeed yummy, and made it into the I-want-to-eat-this-every-day-for-the-next-month category. Ok I'm exaggerating a little here, but you get the idea!

Off I went to a major supplier of all things stationary, purchased 5 little notebooks (don't you love the little ribbons to tie them up?!) and some photo corner things. I had this idea of making simple paintings of symbols representing the seasons. It soon became obvious that using coloured pencils would be a lot easier. I still managed to preserve the idea of a cycle of the seasons by positioning said symbols in a circle. I'm aware this may not make much sense, so have a look!

These can be removed and changed as I please, and I quite like that. Some I've embelished, others have been left plain. I wasn't too sure what to draw for the miscellaneous book, and I can't say I like what I did very much, but it'll do for the moment, until I come up with something better (maybe you have an idea or two?).

A page in the Inspiration Notebook is currently full of recipes that need to make it into the recipe books. Easy things, it doesn't have to be something fancy. Take for example mackerel pate. My life just wouldn't be the same without it. All you need is a smoked mackerel fillet, some cream cheese and lemon juice and BANG, magic happens. Trust me, it's true. But it's not necessarily obvious you see, fashions come and go, and this is definitely one thing I want my children and grandchildren to be enjoying. I love food, it brings such joy, such happiness. I can't imagine such moments being lost and wasted. Now's the time to get recording.


jociegal said...

Love, Love, LOVE this idea! A lot! I too have this same problem - loads and loads of recipes that I have pulled, ripped and printed from the internet and magazines. What a wonderful way to display them.

Jennifer said...

They look gorgeous! I have been slowly trying recipes from my big must try binder and the ones that pass the test are being handwritten out on notecards to put in my great grandmother's care file. It will be so nice for you to flip through such beautiful (and seasonal) files. Talk about inspiration. What about "all season" or "more deliciousness" :)

Jill said...

What a lovely idea. I especially liking your Winter cover.

I keep all my recipes in those clear pocket folders - nothing even half as fancy-pants as yours.

BTW - next time I go to Ikea I'll pick up some fabric for you.

Jill x

The Girl said...

Good work, I loves it. Especially the little pictures and the idea of organising things seasonally.

I am forever pulling bits of paper out of my bag where I've scribbled down recipes that I've seen on blogs or online.

I'm like you though - the only ones that get written out nicely and put in the folder are the ones that have been tried and tested!! All the others remain in a lovely little pile, waiting for their chance to join the hallowed file.

It is such a good idea, my Mum wasn't the best of cooks and we didn't do home economics at school so I'm really not good in the kitchen, I don't have that instinctive knowledge that others have. I like to have a recipe to hand to follow!! It would have been great if I'd had something like this to take to uni with me.

Diane said...

What a great idea, good enough for gifts too! By the way, I made some of your Birthday cards (for men) and personalised them with names for my sons friends - they looked great. You are becoming Martha Stewart! xxxx

little pink room said...

This is a great idea. I have been pondering on something like this for ages. Thanks for the inspiration to go and sort it out. A x

topchelseagirl said...

I too have recently been trying to whittle down/organise my recipe notes and magazine tear-outs.
At the moment they're only in 2 categories; baking and desserts then starters/main courses. You have given it a lot of thought and care!

The Curious Cat said...

Love the idea! And didn't know you spoke French?! Pourquoi? And...not arty? I'm liking the sewing snowflake action there...xxx

Sue said...

Ils sont trés beaux, je les aime beaucoup.

You have really inspired me with this post.I'm teaching my sons to cook and it would be great to have all our favourite recipes in one place. I can feel a list coming on.

The inspiration notebook is a great idea too. I have one to jot down blogging ideas.