I have a confession to make.


I write in my cookbooks. Shock. Horror. And you should too.
No one is going to judge you for that. In fact, if for some reason your cookbook ends up being given to someone else, they’ll probably be delighted to see your notes. I know I always am when I find a used cookbook. Why?

It saves you from having to remember how you tweaked a recipe last time to accommodate the fact that you didn’t have the right kind of herbs or vegetables, or if you thought it needed more heat, or if the order of the directions was confusing and there was a better way to put it together. Seeing someone else’s notes not only gives you insight into how other people cook (and boy that is useful!), it gives you some idea ahead of time as to any pitfalls in the recipe or how good the recipe is.

I have recipes scribbled on that say ‘delicious!’ and some that say ‘needs work’. ‘Needs work’ is often damning. It usually means I won’t make that recipe again, because it was bland, boring, or needs too much experimentation to fix into something that suits my palate. If the recipe is something I can tweak with confidence, usually it gets a scribble of ‘next time try’ instead.

In the age of the internet, it may surprise you to know that I prefer cookbooks and binders for my recipes. Generally I love technology and keeping things updated and sorted. I’m an organized type. I still use the internet to find recipes, but anything I use gets printed out, slid into a page protector, cooked, and then scribbled on if necessary. Why? Sounds like extra work, right?

The internet isn’t permanent.

I have pages printed out that are long gone and would have to be found with the WayBack Machine, if it even still has them in cache. (I’m looking at you, What Geeks Eat.) Yes, I could save those to my Pintrest, or use some recipe software. I’ve yet to find recipe software I truly like, and I’ve tried several different ones at this point. If MyFitnessPal integrated a real recipe program instead of just ingredients for nutritional information, and if they let you easily convert your recipes to foods that you could share with others, I’d be all over that.

But also, I don’t really like having to touch my electronics while I’m cooking. I’m not too worried about a couple of crumbs or a drip of olive oil on a cookbook or a sheet protector, especially if I’m taking notes as I cook. My iPad, on the other hand, is a little less rugged.

So for now, it’s cookbooks and binders. Well scribbled on. Someday I’d like to put together a binder of all the things we really like to eat, so that I’ve got it all in one place, but I do get concerned that we’d limit what we ate more if I did. It hasn’t been happening very quickly.

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