Tragic Sandwich

Food. Family. Fun.

Drowning in Recipes


Growing up, this is how my mother collected recipes. She’d write them on 3×5 cards and keep them in a recipe file box. She also had a variety of cookbooks, although her mainstay was The Joy of Cooking.

I have that same system, although I find that it’s where I’m most likely to keep family recipes–making pretty much any recipe file box much too large. Here’s how I store recipes (as you may guess, “Where is the recipe?” is often my first question in cooking):

  • The aforementioned file box
  • Ring binder of 4×6 recipe cards (my mother sent me off to grad school with this, and since it’s in her handwriting I will keep it forever–although I will always wonder why she included the recipe for escabeche when she knew I hated it)
  • Ridiculous number of cookbooks
  • File of Word documents on the computer
  •–which in spite of its name is not actually a cooking site–with a specific tag
  • My “recipe box” on

In fact, is where I’m most likely to go for new recipes. I know a lot of people use Pinterest, and I have a board with pictures of food, but I’ve never cooked from any of those recipes.

So how do you organize recipes? And why do I have so many cookbooks I never use?

Photo by pirate johnny, via Flickr.


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8 thoughts on “Drowning in Recipes

  1. I’ve been accused of being the only person that ever “reads” a cookbook, like a regular book. But, while I also collect many recipes in the same ways you have listed, I still love to look at and read cookbooks…with their photos and stories…sort of like reading cooking blogs! 🙂

  2. yeah, I have had lots of different storage for recipes over the years. I realized that I like to change the recipes as I go along. I just really need the pic now, which is why I love pinterest. Though, I am looking into transferring them to evernote and printing them out.

  3. I laughed when I saw the index cards….I have a TON of those, old ones from my mom and newer ones that were given to me at my bridal shower. I had the 3 ring binder thing going, but it was getting way too messy. Now I just download recipes to my iPad and saving them there. Oldschool though – I love my Barefoot Contessa & Lidia bastianich cookbooks and my cooking bible How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

  4. I was told by chef friend (who had 5,000 cookbooks) that if you find one good recipe in every book, it justifies its presence in your library. I agree (although I only have about 30–and lots of recipes found online saved in Word).

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