The Old Fashioned Recipe Notebook

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recipe-notebookBefore I left the US, and decided to pare down my belongings, I owned 300+ cookbooks.  Even now, when I’ve spent the last six years simplifying my life, I still have over 100 cookbooks.  And yet, I rarely cook from a book.

Like a lot of women, at least 90% of the meals I make come from my own recipes,  accumulated over the years. My great aunt had slips of paper stuck in a cookbook and my mother had index cards organized in a file box, but it was all the same idea.  We  begged recipes from any great cook we came across, and kept them forever.

How I Store Recipes

I first stored my 25 year old accumulation of recipes by taping and stapling them into a spiral notebook.  When the pages started to fall apart, I glued them to computer paper, hole punched them, and filed them in a binder. In ten years, when the binder cracks, I’ll just buy a new one. The one thing I’ll never do, is throw the recipes out.

What’s In My Notebook?

The recipes in my notebook come from dozens of sources.  Some are from family members and neighbors whose food was so good I wanted to duplicate it.  Some of the recipes come from, my favorite online cooking source.  And, a lot, come from cookbooks.

The Cookbooks I Culled Recipes From

I must have penciled in recipes from at least 50 different cookbooks, but here are the ones that stick out in my mind.

  1. a biscuit and a pancake recipe from an old Joy of Cooking
  2. a universal muffin and a grain recipe from Tightwad Gazette
  3. a herb biscuit recipe from Herbal Treasures
  4. tons of pasta recipes from The 5 in 10 Pasta Cookbook
  5. a pizza dough recipe from The Fanny Farmer Baking Book
  6. a broccoli sauce recipe from an early Mollie Katzen books
  7. a chili recipe from Quickies (Chatelaine)

If you’ve spent years working on your own cookbook, or if you’ve inherited one from a relative, I’d love to hear about it.  Please drop me a line the comment box, and I’ll be happy to post it.

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