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Old 07-30-2005, 09:40 AM   #1
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Cookbooks & Magazines & Recipes

I have tons of cookbooks - probably around 4 or 500. Then I have another ton of cooking magazines. And then I have recipes on a single page or recipe card. And finally, I have a a huge batch of recipes on my computer that haven't been formatted for my recipe software yet. I seriously need to get organized. Any suggestions?

When I get a new magazine or cookbook, I go thru it & mark all the recipes that I want to try with a little Post It tape flag. And then half the time I can't remember where I saw a recipe that I want to try. So it becomes a frantic search thru the latest pile of books/magazines before I can get started.

I don't want to input all the "marked" recipes into my software program. For one thing, I wouldn't have the time to do that if I lived to be 100! I don't want to bother entering the recipe before I've tried it in case I make it & find out that it isn't a "keeper".

Does anyone have any ideas on how to get all my recipes organized so I can find them when I want them? I imagine I will have to do something on the computer - some sort of database, perhaps? I am on a Mac so things that are available to PC users probably won't be available for me. Are all the rest of you organized? If so, how do you do it?!



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Old 07-30-2005, 10:48 AM   #2
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I know what you mean! For me, it just came down to good old fashioned discipline. I, too have tons of cookbooks and magazine recipes, along with catering folders, family recipes that have been given to me, etc.

I finally started a document, made folders and sub-folders for each category (ie, like 'Meat', then beef, pork,etc.). Each day I would devote an hour to typing the recipes and then 'filing' them into each document. If you have a scanner, I suppose you could scan them in, but it might make it more difficult to send or post (not sure about this - 'puter wizards, help out! )

I've gotten brutal with keeping magazines; as a read a mag, I dog-ear the page with a recipe I want to keep; keep all mags stacked for a month or two, then sit down and enter those. Once I'm done, the mags go in the trash! (I know, there are folks who keep them forever, but I just can't!)

My next project is to go thru cookbooks, and enter favorite recipes from each book. I have done something with my cookbooks that may help; I keep an index card in the front of the book; as I try a recipe for the first time, I put down whether I like it, would use it again, modifications, and the page #. Helps a little, especially at Christmastime when trying to remember all those cookie recipes from the past!

Hope this gives you some ideas!

PS -Drinking lots of coffee makes you type faster! :)

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Old 07-30-2005, 11:53 AM   #3
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My advise, forget the cookbooks. I learned the techniques of cooking, how to make the mother sauces, how to use a knife, how to braise, roast, bake deep-fry, stir-fry, pan-fry, dry-fry, how and when to boil, poach, coddle, how to barbecue, and grill using direct, and indirect heat, how to smoke foods, etc.

After learning these basics, and how and what tools to use, I almost never have to resort to a cookbook. Only when someone asks for a specific recipe that I've never made or had before do I turn to a book.

You will find that when you rely on youself, you will get and intrinsic and intuitive understanding of cooking. For new cooks, these are the things I teach in my cookbooks. I'm a firm believer that a good cook uses the basics techniques of cooking to develop their own recipes, to create art.

Just as a painter must learn the differnet paint strokes, paintbrushes, paints, and mediums on which he/she paints, to create a masterpiece, so too does the successful cook.

Learn the flavors by smelling the various herbs and spices in your cabinet. Memorize them to the point that you know what they are in your mind before you use them. Then, when you are making something, be it a pork roast, or a polynesian feast, you will know what flaovorings to add.

I know this sounds difficult, but it really isn't. Think of when you were a child, playing with whatever you played with. You learned everything about that toy, or baseball glove, or hockey stick, or what ever, without it being a chore. For me it was shooting skills. I had a BB-gun, and a bow, and lots of woods around me. I knew the safety rules, and wasn't one to get into trouble. I was allowed to "play" with the bow and the bb-gun. I became well above average with those weapons. Using them well became as natural to me as usning a fork and spoon. Accuracy became natural. So too it was and is with cooking. The kitchen is my playground. I don't have to perform, and there are now textbooks and teachers to force me to learn. Thus, every experience, good or bad, teaches me something, and I enjoy the process.

Amost all of my experiments are sucessfull. Not because I'm a genius, but because I learned cooking by playing. It's a natural process for me now.

Do that and it will enhance your abilities, and your joy in the cooking process.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
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Old 07-30-2005, 07:54 PM   #4
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Recipes All Over the Place

[QUOTE=Goodweed of the North]After learning these basics, and how and what tools to use, I almost never have to resort to a cookbook.

No, no! I think I know the basics of cooking but I love my recipes & cookbooks. I love trying out new recipes. I have no intention of giving them up! I just need to get them organized so I can find them when I want them. Don't get me wrong - I don't always follow recipes strictly but I do like having the guidelines. Guess I'm not that creative!
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Old 07-30-2005, 10:40 PM   #5
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Keep the books with your post-its, but start a database file that tells you what you might want and where it is. I do this with both recipes and beadwork. When I see a recipe (beadwork project) I might want to do, (obviously two different indices), I simply go to the category, sort by the main subject, and up pops where to look for it (Gourmet Magazine, June 85, page 100, or Larousse Gastonomique, pg 300; or recipe file, mom's). Have gotten lazy about keeping it updated, but it does still work. You don't have to enter the whole recipe this way, it's just a reminder of where it is.
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