My recipes have been tucked in several places at various times. My first was a now grungy small recipe box, it is plastic and no longer closes, and is impossible to get sparkling clean after more then 45 years of service. My family recipes were all hand written on the sly, since my mother didn’t like to share recipes. It was kind of my newly wed recipe box, although I was definitely an experienced cook by then.
After the box came the Rolodex, I typed all the recipes out on Rolodex cards, many needing two cards. It was organized, before internet recipe browsing, but cumbersome and hard to keep clean, plus recipes back then got torn out of my old magazines and rarely typed out. I don’t have pictures of the old Rolodex but it was an ugly tarnish brown. Here is a picture of one like it except it is a better color, they are now called Vintage Rolodex.
This is the pile of the recipe cards taken out of the rusting Rolodex
After Rolodex came the computer, when I went back to school for my Masters at UMO, we needed a PC for all my classes, even the ones that made us work on the mainframe. I bought my first computer from UM, it was a IBM, with two floppy drives, you know the kind that were 5 1/4”, and a hard drive with a whooping big 10 MBs of space. Yup 10 megabytes, there are tiny little flash drives with 1000’s more storage space then that now. I was working in Millinocket Regional Hospital Laboratory at that time as Microbiology Supervisor. That job entailed being on several committees, ugh, and one of the Doctors was into computers. He paid for a course in dBase III, for both of us, that was located in Bangor for 3 days, we traveled each day for a hour one way, then 10 hours of class and back home, he also gave me a dBase III program. One of the cool things about dBase III is that you could program in dBase, make entry forms, printing parameters, and outward appearances just like ant other program. I made a recipe program, you could typ in your recipe, search and print or browse indexes, even according to ingredients. The drawback is over the years dBase was a DOS based program, and computers became windows based. dBase would only print on a dot matrix printer, printers became ink jets, and the newer dBase program was over $500. My program was on a 3” disk, not transferrable to a CD without corrupting the dBase files. Even with multiple backups it finally failed to keep abreast with technology. So I lost all the files, many were printed out, and most were in the either the recipe box or the Rolodex.
So enter yet another new age, the internet, and tons of recipes at the click of the print button, the scary part of that is that a great majority of recipes have never been tested. I try to stick to sites that actually test recipes before publishing them after several disasters. Epicurus is a favorite along with King Arthur, who will talk to you about any problems you might be having with one of their recipes. The problem with all this is I do print out recipes, tons of them, many do not cut the mustard, but instead of tossing them there is a big pile of papers in the kitchen that need going through.
I started a binder, to combat the pile of recipes everywhere , just a regular black 1 1/2” binder with page protectors, unhappily most of the recipes are just thrown in there loose and takes forever to find anything. So my latest attempt to organize my loose recipes is much more serious, I have had to call my Dad several times to get the family Christmas sugar cookie recipe, or the waffle recipe. My pile of papers binder lol
So first and foremost was to decide on new bigger binder, there are lots of them out there any thing from leather to leatherette, embossed names, or just one that you can stuff a printed page in the front. I chose one I fell in love with, it is red leather, included dividers, some page protectors, nice printed helpful info like most cookbooks on front and back inside covers. In retrospect I think I should have searched further, the dividers are larger then usual and black, plus many are not selections I would use, and there are only 12. The company does not offer extra dividers, I asked. I did come across another company that has slightly more reasonable binders with many more selections, they are however just binders, so still looking for dividers. The final clincher is that I think I will need at least 3 binders to contain just my favorites.
Just a brief note on cookbooks, I have collected cookbooks for years and years. When we used to go places I always bought a cookbook so many of them are a reminder of a trip to Florida or California, the place and date are written in the inside flap. The trouble is that I use my cookbooks all the time, but they fill a 6 ‘ bookcase and have overflowed onto the window seat and a pile next to the bookcase, probably they would fill another bookcase.
At some time I would like to add some of the recipes from the cookbooks to my binder, some books have only one or two truly great recipe that pulls me back to the cookbook time and time again.
So we have traveled over about 55 or more years of cooking, my next step was a recipe template. It is my pet peeve that computers no longer come with the word program, I have tried substitutes, but they are just not as powerful. I spent hours trying to get open office to edit templates, but they have not been supported for about 4-5 years now so it is vastly outdated. I bought Office 2007 to do things on the farm, but it is an update not the complete program, and works is not even on computers anymore. After a lot of thought and research I decided to get publisher 2016, the last one made before the whole subscription money grab Microsoft thought up. I found a place to get it at a reasonable price, and decided to get Office home and student 2016 also so I could do a bunch of things farm related on the computer. Supposedly you will get your registration number in 10 minutes and be able to download the program, I got an email that verification was not working, whatever that means, so I called them, they were out of publisher, but they could update me to Office professional plus for the same price, that was a really good deal, and refund my money for publisher.
With publisher I started to make a recipe template, there have been many revisions, but I finally like the results. There is even a place for photos if I want. I typed up a recipe for Chocolate Tweed Layer Cake to see how it looked and I am pleased. Now I am working on typing recipes a few at a time to both save on the computer and print out to enter in the book.
You might find this funny, but I finally figured out a list of sections for my cookbook, and it comes to 27 different categories. So I do think it will be 3 binders lol. To combat the lack of dividers I figure since I will need 3 binders I will just relabel the dividers from the 3 binders and have plenty!
So have any of you made family cookbooks?