Sorting My Recipes

I have a recipe box. I got it when Howard and I were first married and I carefully collected recipes to fill it. Collecting and trying out recipes was part of how I learned to manage my own kitchen and was helpful for Howard and I to define our shared identity as a couple. We liked this one, we didn’t like that one, this one needs adjusting, we’ll never try that again. When we moved to our first house, the recipe box came with us. In our current house it first took up residence on the counter next to our library of cookbooks. Over the years it moved to a corner of the counter and then to on top of the fridge. We still cook, but I reach for the books more than I do the box. Half the time I’m reaching for one of a dozen pieces of loose paper, recipes that I’ve printed off the internet and stuck in the row of cookbooks because I make them again and again. The size of this stack of loose paper has begun to be ridiculous. Today I realized that loose paper is the reason that recipe boxes were invented. It is a place to collect the recipes.

So I pulled out my little box and I sorted through it. I got rid of all the recipes that I grabbed because I might make them one day. I kept all the things for which I have fond memories. I definitely kept the ones that we continue to make. It was like a walk down memory lane touching all the cards of odd things I collected over the years. There were card given me by people I don’t remember. I vaguely remember that giving me recipes was part of my bridal shower. Some of them came from there. Others were clipped from a cooking magazine that was given to us as a wedding present. But there is no sense in cluttering my life with little pieces of paper because they provoke a vague nostalgia. I cleared it out and made space for things to come.

Now I need to find a program that will let me transcribe recipes so that I can print them on cards, but which will also let me easily duplicate them for other people. My children are going to be heading out into the world to cook for themselves and I’m certain that some of them will be asking for copies of some of the recipes I’ve used. It would be nice to just be able to print those out instead of copying by hand. Except, I did keep one recipe that I’ve never made, because it was in Great Uncle Blake’s shaky handwriting. So perhaps there is value in handwritten cards.

Mostly I like knowing that I have space for things that are useful to me instead of it being occupied by things that are lingering without purpose.

6 thoughts on “Sorting My Recipes”

  1. My mother wrote out favorite recipes in a word program, printed them out on pretty paper, cut them apart, and used those small photo album books. It’s one of my favorite cookbook/recipe collections.

  2. When I turned 18 and moved away from my parents’ house, I went through all of my mom’s recipes and painstakingly copied my favorites by hand onto matching index cards in a brand new recipe box. That box followed me through four years of college and nearly a decade of marriage, and now it sits in a dusty corner on my kitchen counter. I tend to reach for cookbooks and loose internet-printed recipes more often too. I very rarely open that box anymore. This post makes me wonder what I’d find if I went through it again.

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