Friday, January 7, 2011

Recipe Collection Meets Technology

While I don't have a lot of actual cookbooks to speak of, I've had an extensive recipe collection for some time now.  I store them a few different ways.  The recipes I find online and print out go into 3-ring binders, in plastic sheet protectors, and are divided by category- chicken, desserts, breads, etc. 

I also had a subscription to two different cooking magazines, Martha Stewart Everyday Food and Bon Appetit, for about 3 years each.  Every month when I received a new magazine, I pored over it cover to cover.  I marked recipes that looked good with a tiny Post-It note with the recipe name written on it.

About 2 years ago, I started an index system to keep track of what I had.  I went through the binders and magazines and made a list.  Binder recipes were indicated by "NB" for notebook.  Magazine recipes were marked with "BA" or "EF" and the issue date.  That way, I could scan the list of recipes, make up a menu, and mark my menu with a quick notation of where to find the recipes.  Easy peasy, and that system worked well for quite a long time.

Here comes the end of 2010, and I've got a big drawer full of back issues of magazines taking up valuable storage space in my dining room, and a brand new Nook Color for Christmas.  (If you haven't laid eyes on this fancy schmancy e-reader from Barnes and Noble, go get you some.)  Not only can you read electronic books, magazines, and newspapers, but you can store and view photos, play Sudoku, do crosswords, listen to Pandora, surf the web (with WiFi), and read Word and PDF documents.  It's like a mini iPad for the PC crowd, but without the $600 price tag.  Economy WIN!

I'm the wife of a computer dude and somewhat of a gadget whore myself, so one of my dreams in recent years was to have an electronic recipe collection at my fingertips in the kitchen, completely paperless.  Now, I had the perfect piece of equipment to help facilitate my dream.

Over the last week or so, I've been visiting the websites of Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart, looking up the recipes I have marked in my issues, and creating PDF printouts of each one.  It sounds time-consuming, but has gone very quickly.  I do a little at a time, and my stacks are getting smaller.  I will take my paper issues to the local library to give away- they have a give-away magazine shelf that gets pawed through daily by patrons.  I've offered this culinary goldmine to two people in my family who proclaim to be learning to cook, but they turned them down.  I call "bullshit" on their purported interest in cooking.

Soon enough, minions, a world of electronic recipes will be at my fingertips!  *insert maniacal cackle here*

Some of my Everyday Food issues with their wee little Post-It notes.

A fraction of my Bon Appetit mags.  Good bye, friends.  You've served me well.


Katie said...

You should try using Evernote! I use it to keep track of patterns and stuff, I'm a HUGE fan.

Jill of All Trades said...

I try very hard not to buy recipe mag's as they start piling up and I don't really like all the recipes. I usually tear out and then glue them on index cards and someday I'll organize them. Have tons of cookbooks but don't use them too much. I'm a good cook and when I have a recipe I tend to tweek it right off the back.