My Recipe File ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My Recipe File

A few years ago, I finally got fed up with all the magazines piled carelessly in my living room. Not only were they unsightly and unstable (the stacks had gotten so tall that they were apt to topple at the slightest touch - as a result, I rarely vacuumed in there, it was simply too dangerous...), there were also whole colonies of dust bunnies growing to truly terrifying proportions in the safe darkness of the towers' long shadows.

So I bought a sturdy-looking accordion file and began going through all the mags to clip out my favorite recipes. It was a herculean task that had to be done over a number of sittings, spread out over several months to allow sufficient recovery time after each brave plunge into years of old Martha Stewart Livings, Food & Wines, and Cooks Illustrateds. But, just a few months later, I surveyed my uncluttered living room with a feeling of deep satisfaction. Not only had I demolished the unsightly magazine towers and vanquished the dust bunnies they had sheltered, I had also built a totally kick-ass recipe file!

I LOVE my recipe file. It's an incredible resource when I have something that I need to cook but am not sure what to do with. It's also a central place to store all the recipes I want to try someday making me less likely to lose or forget about recipes. It also feeds my deep and insatiable hunger for order and organization (yes, I am kind of anal.)

Mine is organized into the following categories: rice, pasta, potatoes, chicken, seafood, veggies, soups and stew, salads, pork, lamb and other meats, glazes & marinades, baked goods, and desserts. I would like to break it down into about twice as many categories but have been limited by lack of space since my file only has twelve dividers. I just decided that it is time to move on to a new, larger recipe file - probably of the big plastic file box variety which should give me plenty of room - at least for a few more years.

If you like to cook (which you probably do if you're reading this...) and don't already have one, I strongly suggest that you start a recipe file of your own. I'd also recommend that you use one of those plastic-handled mini razor blade tools to clip the recipes as tearing them leads to messy edges that can be hard to get in and out of a crowded file.


Rekha said...

You have given me my weekend project! Thanks for sharing your categories - I often get taxonomy paralysis during my organization projects, because I'm not sure whether I'll remember where I chose to file something.

Eve Fox said...

Ha! Totally. I laid all the clippings out on the floor and just sorted them into the piles that made the most sense (a HIGHLY scientific system). The more specific you can be the fewer places things have to "hide" (which is why I need a bigger file with more dividers...)

Mya said...

I wouldn't know anything about towers of old Martha mags ... :)

Sue Wilke said...

Hi! I'm sitting at the dining room table with Mya, trying to organzie recipe clippings in a user-friendly way. Complaining to her about category decisions, she said you had already shared your categories on your site. Since your wedding advice was invaluable (thank you so much), I happily consulted yours. I loved the glazes and marinades category and the distinction between baked goods and desserts. I wouldn't have come up with those. I might combine the rice, potato, and pasta categories into one formidible CARB section, and I might have to add a separate holiday cookie section. How fun to compare ideas! Mya's mom

Eve Fox said...

Hi Sue! How great that you guys dove right in. I like your ideas. A few of the other categories I've been wanting to add are: eggs, hors d'oeuvres, and beans. I'd also like to be able to split the meats up into more individual sections.