Monday, February 4, 2013

Organizing and Cooking

As a busy mom, there are many days that I loathe hearing the words, "what's for dinner?"  But, not because I don't like cooking.  In fact, one of the few household chores that I like is cooking.  The rest - laundry, dusting, mopping - I do because that's what grown people are supposed to do.  But I enjoy cooking, especially when I have the time to slice and dice and saute.  And if I am working from a new recipe, even better.  When I don't have time, I feel bored returning to the same meals over and over.  This boredom is colliding with my effort to de-clutter.

I read an article the other day by a de-cluttering expert that says you only need 2 cookbooks.  I don't know how many I have, but I think the count may start with "2", including a couple in another language (anyone know what "eierdooier" is for my "pecannotenwafels"?)  I'm not trying to cull my cookbook collection to 2 - that would not really be a collection, anymore, would it?

My cookbooks, although numerous, are in pretty good order.  I have them neatly on the shelves, tabbed with my favorite recipes, the tried and true go-to recipes marked by the spill marks on the pages.  It is my piles of cooking magazines and torn out recipes that are a little bit out of control.

"What's for dinner?"  The answer is somewhere in this pile.
To start putting this stack of "one day I'm gonna cook this" pages into a usable format, I sorted them out into categories, you know, like a cookbook.  Meats, Veggies, Desserts (baked and frozen - because I like making ice cream), Soups, Breakfast, Breads/Baking (not desserts), Pasta. I kept or discarded the recipes based on a few simple criteria:
  • is it something I'm really, actually going to make?  Although, I like the idea of making fresh, yeast breads, I really don't have the patience to wait for yeast to rise - out went all those recipes.
  • is it something the husband and kids are really going to eat?
  • are the ingredients easily purchased at the local grocery store?  If I have to go to any specialty market, it's never going to get made - out went those recipes.
  • do I have a recipe I already like for this food?  I have several cookie and dessert cookbooks, so I didn't keep any basic pies or cakes or cookies like sugar cookies, vanilla pound cake

Torn-out recipes sorted into food categories, ready to try out.
The keepers, I put in a vertical file folder.  I plan on pulling recipes each week and trying them out.  After I cook them, I'll keep the ones I really like.  If I'm in a particularly organized mood, I might even type them up.  (If you look real close in the photo, you might note a few scribbled on a piece of paper.  These are recipes I jotted down while watching TV or talking to someone.  I'm telling you, I get recipes from everywhere.)  The keepers will go into plastic sleeves and I'll add them to a binder of recipes I've already collected.  I'm thinking I might make separate binders for different categories, because already my existing one is almost full.

I'll keep you posted on the good ones (you know I will!)

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