Friday, July 16, 2010

Cookbook Catastrophe

Have you ever asked me for one of my recipes, and I've neglected to write it down for you?
Here's the reason.
I probably just can't find it.  I know, I know... I'm ashamed of it too.  It took a lot  for me to be vulnerable, and to write about the embarrassing state of my recipe books, but I'm all about "keeping it real" for my followers, so here it goes:

Hello.  My name is Nell, and I'm addicted to collecting recipes.

Wow! I feel better already!
I didn't start out this way. My love for recipes grew over time.  In fact, I had a perfectly good idea when I first got married.  My goal was to keep my recipes neat and tidy by tucking them inside plastic sheets so that I could wipe off anything I might spill on them.  My plan was brilliant!  Except that I ran out of plastic sheets, and had no more space in my 3 ring binder, and I kept coming across good recipes.  Compound this problem by ten years and you have one giant stack of disorganized ingredient lists. 

Oh sure, I own 10 or 20 cookbooks, but the real gems all lie somewhere in this stack.  You know.... the ones you write down on a napkin at a pot luck, or on the back of the tithing envelope at church.  Some are even written down on place mats. Those are the really good ones because they come from disgruntled restaurant workers willing to give up top-secret  recipes. 

I watched this chick flick the other day, and the guy asked the girl this soul searching question that was meant to get to the heart of what was important to her.  He said,

"If there was a fire, and everyone was safe outside of your home, and you had 30 seconds to go back in and get some things, what would you take?"
I thought long and hard about this, and I would come back for my Bible, our trunk of pictures, and my cookbooks.  The rest is just stuff.  But my pictures and my recipes are infused with wonderful memories.  I have recipes from when my grandmothers were alive, and marinades that my Dad has scientifically concocted, and things that I learned how to make in Jr. High cooking class.  I have family favorites from my Mother- In- Law, and delicious pork chop dishes from my Grandfather.  I even have one from my dear friend that was printed in the Church cookbook with a major typo.  Instead of saying....add pudding..... it said, ass pudding.  Every time I make her recipe I tell her the ass pudding was amazing....then we giggle like school girls.  I love every one of those recipes, but I just don't have the time to tackle the task of organizing them. 

When I look at the recipes, it feels like I'd have to climb Mt. Everest to conquer the stack.  I have this grand plan to purchase a computer program with a really cute font, type out all of my recipes, organize them into a book according to category, and store it neatly in my cupboard.  I would hire out the job but...1. I don't have the money and....2. Many of my recipes are missing key things like titles, oven temps and times.  Some just have a list of 5 or 6 ingredients and that's it.  Only I know the rest of the story.  It would never work to have someone else do it.  So the stack grows ever more impressive by the week, and I lose hope of getting it organized until retirement age.  In fact, it's on our list of things to do when we retire so we don't want to shoot each other.  It's right behind learning to team rope, and right in front of riding a Harley to embarrass our grown children.  Until then, I shove it up into the cupboard, and only take it out in the privacy of my own kitchen, where it's safe to view it without fear of ridicule or shame. 


  1. I know what movie you're talking about!!! It was a cute one huh!

    I love recipes too. I am a cooking magazine junky. But I have gone one step. I have gone through all my magazines and catalogued all of the recipes that we like or would like to try and have used that catalogue master to make a detailed monthly meal plan. But hey, I'm on mat leave, I have time to kill : )


  2. I am a recipie horder as well, but rather than one book, I have several. *smile/sigh* I love to try new recipies and will keep a book for one good recipie. *smile* I do slim down my collection now and then by giving my books to the local library in case I want to use it again, but not very often. *smile* Have a great time making your recipies something you enjoy pouring over without something falling out. *big smile* Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings & so much more!