Recipe Hoarding

While I’m stuck at home, I’ve been working on a massive organizing/optimizing project, going space-by-space in my house to sort through things and arrange them in a logical way to make it easier to find things. I’ve already sorted through my media racks to arrange my DVDs and CDs. Now I’m tackling my recipe collection.

I’ve come to the realization that I have a serious recipe problem. I collect so many recipes, and I end up using so few of them because I tend to repeat the usual favorites. I could make a new recipe a day every day and still never get through all the recipes I’ve saved from the Internet, and then there’s my clipping habit. I had whole folders, two recipe boxes, and a photo album full of recipes I’ve cut out of newspaper and magazines over the years. I have made a number of them. I have a fat file of recipes I’ve made and liked. But still, there’s a huge pile I’ve never even looked at after clipping them.

Over the past few days, I’ve been sorting through all the clippings. There are way too many recipes that fall into the “why did I ever think this would be good?” category. There are also cases of me collecting dozens of recipes for the same thing, and never making any of them. I seem to find the idea of tomato-basil soup, apple cake, and chocolate cake appealing. I’ve made some of the soup recipes, but I don’t think I’ve tried any of the apple or chocolate cake recipes. When I’ve made those things, I’ve used recipes from cookbooks.

Some of this has been an exercise in nostalgia, since there are whole newspaper food sections and magazine pages going back to the early 90s in this collection. I think of the 90s as being recent, but the graphic design and ad pictures now look really dated. Even the papers from the late 90s and early 2000s look old-fashioned.

After all this work, I have a trash bag full of newspaper and magazine clippings and newspaper food sections. All the recipes that I think I really might want to make are sorted by category in an accordion folder. I’ve also sorted the recipes I’ve made and actually use into another accordion folder, and the ones I use most often are in the photo album so the pages are protected by plastic. I’ve emptied one recipe box that I can now use for other things, and I’m in the process of putting the smaller clippings on notecards to go in my recipe box. This should save me a lot of time because a big part of my cooking process was digging through my recipe folders to find the recipe I needed.

Will I make any of all the recipes in my remaining stash? Looking through them has given me ideas. When the stores are a little more back to normal and I’m able to more easily get ingredients, I may start a routine of trying a new recipe every week. There is a summer (no-bake) cheesecake recipe I want to try that I may get ingredients for next time I go shopping, and there are a few salad recipes I’ll have to try. This fall, maybe I’ll actually bake one of those apple cakes.

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