I am officially on summer break. I don’t have an official to-do list this time around, which is making me somewhat nervous that I’ll fritter away my time. I berated myself the other day for spending the few child-free hours I did have updating my recipe binder, until I realized that perhaps I was being an eensy bit hard on myself. I like my recipe binder. I have, for many years, put old-school, pre-mom attention to detail into it, making it as useful to me as possible. Old-school, pre-mom attention to detail is a very, very good thing.
Once upon a time, I thought of the recipe binder as a finite project. Cooking was a means to an end. It merited some attention as a domestic endeavor, but only in service of function. I did not anticipate that cooking would turn into a thing for me, or the hunger I would develop for trying new recipes. I have recipes that I love and that I make over and over again, but cooking for me, and thus the binder, is evolutionary. As I get better at cooking, I try different, more difficult recipes. As I more clearly recognize my taste preferences, I try different recipes that cater to them. And when I find recipe sources I like (Alton Brown, America’s Test Kitchen), I try their versions of old favorites.
As I have a few weeks to cook and experiment in the kitchen, I realized that now would be the perfect time to update and refine the recipe binder. I don’t add recipes to the binder until I have tested them and consider them binder-worthy. When I find such a recipe, I type it or copy it into a template I made. Then I print it and put it into a plastic sheet cover, so that when I’m cooking, I don’t ruin the paper. I put the sheet into the appropriate section of the binder, and voila! Instant cookbook.
Of course, due to the evolutionary process, some recipes are discarded in favor of stronger ones. And I don’t update everything instantly, so I eventually get a backlog that need to find their place among the worthy.
So why am I clogging up the internet with this piddly information? Well, I’ve decided to share the template (see picture at top.) If you’re still reading this blog, you may be a candidate to download the template, but believe me, you gotta want to be this organized. And you have to be a recipe person. More power to those of you that cook al fresco, but I have to have instructions. The only time I cook without a recipe is when I have the recipe memorized.
Wait, sorry, why am I doing this again? Because
shit stuff like this is all over pinterest, and I think my version has more to offer. I borrowed the look of this template from delish.com several years ago (the recipes on their site no longer look like this), but I created it from scratch. The formatting is all set up and it’s easy to tweak if you know how. You don’t have to write anything by hand. Just type it up and print it out. I have a section for family member ratings, which you can use or delete. I used to have a section with nutritional info, but I found that hard to come by so I deleted it, but you could add it in. All you have to do to change the picture is click on the existing one and either import one you’ve taken or copy/paste one from the web and resize.
The recipe in the template is a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe; the picture of the cookies was taken by me. There’s plenty of room to add ingredients and instructions for more complicated recipes. Without further ado, for your downloading delight, here it is: