Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Recipe for Organization

I love to bake, but I've been getting into cooking a lot more lately. I might say it's because I love food, but that's only part of the story. My husband truly loves food. If I make food for myself, I make it to eat it. He'll make himself a tuna sandwich and garnish it with paprika and some parsley. He makes it to enjoy it.

Besides enjoying good food, I also have fun trying new recipes. When I'm looking for something interesting while planning the coming week's menu, I'll search the web, as well as my collection of books and printed recipes. I have a lot of recipes in Word docs, and I wish they were in a database, but that would be a serious challenge. There are a few programs out there, but nothing that I'm too happy with. Besides, even if I were to get all of my recipes in there, that would leave half of my collection (my more used half) untouched. I use my books so much, some are actually falling apart.

So, in order to make my chaotic system a bit more usable, I do a couple of things:
--Print out all recipes for reference
--Title all Word docs with easy to search titles (e.g., pork ginger stir fry)
--In my books, I use multi-colored flags to mark pages of recipes I like. Red = meat; green = vegetables; yellow = desserts; blue = other

I'm a big fan of the earlier books of Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver since we've found some truly stellar recipes in their books, so the flag system is a nice way to make interesting recipes easy access for those times when I have less time to ponder food. I can take advantage of the rare downtime when I sit and flip through a recipe book and find something delicious that I never noticed before. I flag it, and if I have time, write something quick and descriptive like "quinoa."

It saves me a lot of time, and it allows me to avoid the same meals again and again. My husband asking for the same meal again and again...that's another post.