I’m in cookbook rehab.
I have always been and will always be, drawn to cookbooks. I have collected over 100 cookbooks in my life, some of which I’ve given away or discarded because they got gross from use. Some I just can’t seem to part with. Even if I’ve never made a single dish from the book itself, there are some unused cookbooks I own that I can’t get rid of because I can’t bear to part with the possibility of the promise of delicious food.
Did I mention I can’t cook?
I mean, I can physically “cook” something, but I’m pretty awful at it. You can tell this because at around six o’clock every evening you can hear the sounds of my children crying because they don’t want to eat that disgusting mess on the plate in front of them.
But I enjoy trying. That counts, right? Plus, I can bake, so there’s that. I can whip up cookies, brownies, cakes, you name it. If it’s loaded with sugar and icing and chocolate then I can do that, no sweat. It’s going to be delicious even if I F it up, because that’s what sugar does. It masks poor execution. And because of this, I’m a much more confident baker than I am a cook.
Then in the late 90s, early 00s, the Internet really took off (I’m old, kids), and I started to look up recipes more and more, and buy cookbooks less and less. Don’t get me wrong – I’m on track to have purchased two cookbooks so far this year – and we’re only two months in. Granted, one was a gift for my father-in-law, but still – my credit card statement will have two cookbooks on it for the months of January and February. And there are plenty more I will buy this year, I’m sure.
My point is, I don’t buy cookbooks like I used to. Now, I’m more of an individual recipe collector, via all those stupid Tasty videos on Facebook, or all the Pinterest recipes I see first thing when I log in. I love them all! (and I’ve actually tried to make, like, four of them?) So where do all these individual recipes go?
I’ve found THREE different methods you can use to keep your carefully curated recipes organized for years to come.
The Recipe Box
This method works great if you tend to get a lot of your recipes from magazines, or if you print them out. Ideally, you’d want to try to get all the recipes in your recipe box to be the same size, so you can organize them with tabbed separators. If you need to cut and paste or just rewrite the recipe on the right size insert, it’s worth the extra effort to keep everything uniform – which only makes it easier to find when you’re trying to plan the perfect meal. Here are some great recipe boxes I fell in love with that can help do the trick.
I absolutely ADORE this modern bamboo recipe box from Oceanstar. It’s sleek design would look great in any type of kitchen, and it comes with the necessary dividers so you don’t have to come up with them on your own. But my favorite part is the clear frame that you put the recipe you use in, to protect it from splatters, which fits in the groove right on top of the box!
The only thing is, you need to get all your recipes on 4X6 size cards. But that size is pretty standard if you’re going to go the recipe box route. Know that going in, and it’s no biggie.
This citrus floral tin box from Rifle Paper company comes with uniform recipe cards that continue the vintage vibe throughout. Really sweet and feminine but totally functional.
Oh hello, you need the perfect engagement gift? Let me introduce you to the Kate Spade recipe box. Fill it up with some delish cocktail recipes that make you seem fancy.
Love the idea of a little treasure chest holding all your family’s most treasured recipes….in my family’s case, it would be where all their nightmares stem from. But cute idea nonetheless!
A personalized acrylic box would also make a lovely gift for the home cook.
The Home Cookbook
This is actually the method I personally use.
Since I love cookbooks sooooo much, I figured it makes sense for me to make one for myself.
So I picked this little number up one day at Sams Club? I think that’s where I got it. It’s really folksy and cutesy which isn’t usually my style, but I don’t know it seems like the kind of design a grandma would love and that’s what I want my cooking to reflect – a grandma’s love. So I kind of love it? You can get a copy of it here if you like.
The inside is organized into sections like Soups & Breads, Main Dishes, etc. and has plenty of room for ingredients, and directions. It also has cute, little illustrations throughout. And now you have my own personal recipe (if you can read my handwriting) for the BEST veggie chili. Ever. Seriously, try it.
But, if I had to choose another style of home cookbook to go with – I’d choose any of the following…
What I love about this My Family Cookbook by SUCK UK isn’t just that you can actually put in your own photos of dishes, but that it has room at the end of the entry for family reviews!
I love the Kitchen Keepsake Diary because it’s part fill-in cookbook, part journal to write down all the memories that went into sharing the meal with your loved ones (no matter how traumatic).
And if you’re REALLY serious about cooking and preserving all your family’s secret recipes, this book is the ONLY way to go:
A leatherbound, personalized cover, and binder inside make this fill-in cookbook a must have for the committed cook.
Even the pockets are detailed with a fancy lattice design!
And finally, you can organize your recipes via
Using the online method of storing your recipes is convenient because you can access them wherever you are as long as you have your phone or tablet.
The beauty of using an app like Recipe Keeper is that you can not only share recipes with family since it’s online, but your recipes are searchable – something that the ol’ pen and paper method makes a little trickier. Sure you can catalog your recipes according to the tab, but what if you don’t remember if you put your banana bread recipe under the bread section or dessert? Some recipes can fit in multiple categories, so being able to search your own recipes with a keyword is super convenient.
Paprika is also a great app for recipe organizing because you can keep a grocery list and do your meal planning in addition to managing your recipes.
And there you have it. I hope I’ve given you some great tools to stay organized while feeding your family – and all with a bonus chili recipe too. Happy planning! xo