As I've mentioned in many blog posts recently, I've been going through magazines, bookmarking recipes I want to try, and getting rid of the magazine. So, I thought I'd share my recipe organization technique.
I started ripping pages out with the recipes I wanted to save. This posed two problems: 1) sometimes recipes spanned two pages, which often ended up separated from each other, 2) where do I store all this paper?!? Then I tried a filing box, but it quickly became overstuffed. And my foster kittens gnawed it to death.
I tried re-typing them into a Word document. LABOR INTENSIVE. And I never saved the original source of the recipe. Darn my past self for not foreseeing that I'd get into food blogging and need that information!
I tried scanning. Also somewhat labor intensive. I'd scan in batches at work, then separate the pages out into separate files and name each file with the name of the recipe. Then sort into a system of folders and subfolders. Wasn't a fan of that either. Took up a lot of space on my hard drive.
Then someone on a message board briefly mentioned her recipe collection that she organized in a Google Docs spreadsheet. I asked to elaborate, which she kindly did. And I immediately set off to make my own spreadsheet.
It's not perfect. I need to scroll sideways to see all the information. But I can easily see the recipe title, easily access the original source, and easily identify the healthy recipes, the special occasion recipes, the main courses, the appetizers, the desserts, etc. I can easily sort, and re-sort based on how I want to search. I can easily make notes. I can easily add and delete tags as needed.
Here's what I did.
1) Went to Google Docs (http://docs.google.com) and created a new spreadsheet. I named it recipes. It's private, viewable only to me.
2) I created a header row. These are my column headers:
- Recipe name
- Recipe source (name of site, blog, book or magazine)
- Recipe location (URL or page number)
- Course (breakfast, appetizer, main dish, dessert, beverage, etc.)
- Type (alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage, type of dessert, etc. — not filled in for every recipe)
- Cuisine (if applicable, Mexican, Italian, French, etc.)
- Method (if applicable, grilled, fried, baked, etc.)
- Main protein (if applicable)
- Main vegetable (if applicable)
- Main carbohydrate (if applicable)
- Main dessert flavor (if applicable - is it a fruit dessert, chocolate dessert, etc.)
- Is it healthy?
- Is it fast (ready from start to finish in 30 minutes or less)?
- Is it freezer-friendly?
- Is it a special-occasion dish? (roast turkey, surf and turf, etc.)
- Notes (substitutions I plan to make, etc.)
|Click to see larger, legible image|
If I want to make something with carrots, I sort by "Main vegetable" so all the recipes with carrot as a main ingredient are grouped together.
It's not a perfect system, but it's the least labor intensive, takes up the least space, is accessible from anywhere I have Internet access, and it's free.