I am not one of those people who has a set meal for any day of the week. I know that it makes some people feel good to know that Wednesday is meatloaf day or Friday night is pizza, but I just can’t stand it. It feels too restrictive week after week. I am always on the prowl for new things to try or at least ways to make something better this time than I did last time.
So, here is my recipes “to try” pile:
But, it’s not so hopeless. Soon it makes the move to here, my shelf of recipes that made the cut:
There are so few books that I really want to root through or have in my way on a day to day basis. Don’t get me wrong. I seriously love to read cookbooks. I love to look at the pictures, to read the stories about how the recipe came about, to look at the publish date and realize how old they are, to plan for holidays and events. I am a serious recipe nerd. But my collection has to find other places to park. In the thick of the kitchen, ready to grab and consult, I want my mainstays. So the problem with the pile was that it was too hard to find what I wanted.
So I started making some rules so I could manage my “to try” recipes and my “good enough to keep and make again” recipes. The white binders are the latter. Here are my rules:
- When I see a recipe that I want to try, I print it. I know, I know, I am so old school about this. But I don’t want to cook from my iPad. I want to be able to carry a paper around to the pantry and the stove and make notes on it about what’s good and bad and what I changed and then refer back to it later. So there. I print them.
- Once I make the recipe, it either gets put in the trash because I am not going to go there again. Sadly, that happens more often than I want to admit. But, if it’s a winner, then I punch holes in it and file it in the binder under its category (Appetizer, Dessert, Veggies, etc.)
- I write the date I made it somewhere on the page. This is just fun because you can see how often you make it, when you first made it, etc.
- Make notes about what I need to do next time (like too salty, sauce needs to be thicker, etc.)
- Make notes about substitutions I made both in measurements and ingredients.
I love to see stains on the page and ripples from getting wet and notes from myself. It is just comforting. And it helps me do better each time.