On the road to a simpler life, I recently cleaned out recipes. I don’t know about you, but I have way too many recipes. It seems that I must like the idea of cooking more than actually cooking. If I had someone to prep the ingredients and then to clean up afterwards, I’d cook more often. But on this day, I sorted through recipes, keeping only those I’ve tried and liked, some I’d like to try, and those old ones that connect me to another time and place. It was interesting to me how recipes and cooking changes in various ways over time.
I still have a traditional recipe card file, filled with recipes from friends and family near and far, and other various sources.
I went through a Pillsbury recipe magazine phase. I loved getting the latest one at the grocery store in the checkout line. It was time to part with these beauties.
I pulled out those great community cookbooks, so popular decades ago. I got some as gifts at my wedding in the early 90’s. I had some from churches and one from my former employer. I even had one I treasured from Pella, Iowa, a hometown of a good friend.
I don’t use these recipe books any more, even though some days I do crave a classic Jell-O salad potluck recipe. Did you have a few favorites, too?
As time progressed, I wasn’t using recipe cards and books as much. Enter Food Network TV. Eventually, I had way too many printed recipes, and lots of ambition to try them all, from my favorite Food Network cooking shows: Good Eats, Barefoot Contessa, and others. Now I also watch Pioneer Woman, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, and simply save some recipes on my computer.
Have you noticed how ingredients have changed over time as well? A lot less cans of soup in recipes. A lot more interesting ingredients like feta cheese and even Brussel sprouts. I don’t even think I used the word vinaigrette until the last decade or two.
Have you noticed how mainstream it is for guys to be good cooks now, too? That’s a big shift in society from when I was young. I like it!
Using a computer to get access to many recipes is the latest convenience. And we use smart phones to look up a recipe in the kitchen or even in the market, too. Then I can see the ingredients while grocery shopping.
Later that same day, as I purged the recipes I was no longer interested in trying, keeping, or storing, I came across a variety of recipe cards. Does anyone use recipe cards much anymore for sharing recipes? Seems like many of us type up a recipe and send it in an email or some other more contemporary form of sharing something good to eat.
Recipe collections, however we keep up with them, are a gold mine of tasty goodness that we share with those we love in various settings, building traditions. A great part of our good life! What are your favorite recipes or sources for recipes?
Stay tuned for What’s Cooking? Part 2 in the weeks ahead.
Stay charming, my friends!
I’ve been thinking about tossing all those cookbooks I NEVER reference. They each seemed like a treasure trove and clearly I am not into the treasures they possess. When I look at those books I can see the stages and seasons of my family’s dietarychoices: comfort food, low glycemic, clean eating, paleo… currently our ketogenic recipes are all printed off the internet. I really should tap into new recipes more often so we don’t run into palate burnout.
I do love the cute recipe cards. Stationery has always been a weakness of mine.
A favorite recipe is Shepherd’s Pie. I cleaned it up- ex: organic ingredients, grass fed ground beef, fresh green beans from our garden. It is a meal that takes me back to my Grandma’s kitchen and now also fits into our clean eating lifestyle.
I love you sharing your process with us.
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I appreciate that you see life’s transitions in eating on your shelves, too. It is interesting. And I did not know we share the stationary weakness. Printed papers. Ahhhhh! If you have a formal recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, please email me. I’d love to have it. Shepherd’s Pie is so great! So interesting how certain recipes bookmark moments for us. Thanks for your comment!
Hm, I think for your first paragraph you read my mind. Well, until the actual recipe purging part. I still haven’t worked up to actually doing it.
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It’s not easy to purge recipes. Thanks for reading and identifying with me in this.
I type my recipes now and then scan and save as pdf’s. I save them to Dropbox and can pull them up on phone, iPad or computer and easy to share with family and friends. I don’t use cookbooks much at all anymore and I should go through and toss mine also. Thanks for the reminder.
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That’s a great idea! Never thought of setting them up in Dropbox. Thanks for sharing that.
I’ve weeded out most of my cookbooks, but some are too full of remembered promise. There was one book I’d borrow from the county library now and then. This was back in the day when you signed a card that stayed in the back of the book. When I realized that my name was repeated several times in a row with no one else having borrowed it in years, I knew I had to buy it. It was long out of print, but after a some years’ wait someone invented the internet and then the Web and finally I found the book online. Oddly enough, it was an old county library copy, but not my library or my county or even my state.
I don’t believe I’ve ever made a single recipe, but I love the premise embodied in the title, Feasts for All Seasons. “When Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is approaching, the stores assume their festive colors, with the fragrant delicacies of the world: the dried muscat raisins, still on the bough, from Australia; red-wrapped plum puddings from England; cinnamon-scented Christollen from Germany; hazelnut baci from Italy; crisp almond turron from Spain; lush dates and figs from Araby…”
He’s cleary not shopping at my local Vons. To read this is to return to my childhood when I read, for example, Louisa May Alcott and imagined that I lived on Aunt Hill with Rose and her many cousins; that is, to imagine a whole other life full of its own treasures so different from mine.
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This is beautiful – in sentiment, in writing. Thank you for taking the time to share it. I enjoyed reading this.
Spotted that familiar cookbook even before you mentioned it LOVE! I still have mine plus all of the other ones from Pella. Your blog was good timing. Just unearthed a second box of family favorites in my mom’s handwriting. Impossible to part with that. That;s why I still hand friends of written copy of any recipes they ask for. #1) adorable bordered cards and #2) they’ll always think of me when baking it since it’s my handwriting and I make little extra comments. Most of my friends now have the cook get out her recipe and everyone takes a picture of it with their phone….convenient, I know, but I still love a handwritten recipe card….but then again, I also miss the library card catalog too! haha
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I can still remember sitting at your mom’s kitchen table, and that Pella recipe book is connected to great memories. I enjoyed your comment. Thanks for taking the time to share the thoughts. My recipe box does have cards in your writing. And I do think of you and hear your voice. I even had two copies of the chocolate sauce recipe! And one time I broke something at your house, ducking under the kitchen table, if I recall correctly. A funny story for another time.