Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Organizing Recipes (Part 2) - A tutorial

You can read my first post on how to organize your recipes here.

Now that you have your supplies, the first thing you need to do is sort your recipes and, at the same time, make a list of how you want your tabs to read in your new binder.  This is going to be very different for each of you depending on how you cook and how you collect recipes.

Clear a large space and grab a handful of newspaper clippings, hand written cards, internet printouts, letters from family and the occasional napkin that holds a recipe. Begin sorting them into piles by category like you see in the picture.  When I helped Julie organize her recipes, we sorted everything... EVERYTHING... first. It makes the rest of your job go very quickly.  So...sort it all dear readers!

You'll want piles for main meals, desserts, baked goods, vegetables.....all the normal things you find in a purchased recipe box.  You can look at the dividers in any cookbook to get an idea of what the piles might be.  You can do all of your saved recipes at once or you might need to do a little at a time.  By the time I started this, it took me several afternoons to go through my box in the closet and sort it into piles.
As you are sorting, you will think of new and unique tabs just for your family.  Make a list of those ideas...Julie and I kept a written list of what she wanted her tabs to be....which made it very easy when it came time to create a tab.

You also may find that you need more than one tab to cover a category. For instance, you might have a tab that says Desserts. I started with a Desserts tab. I have, over the years, expanded that Desserts tab to several tabs:  Cakes, Pies, Cookies and Desserts. My Desserts section now covers anything that the other three don't....things like brownies,  cobbler and cheesecake.  If you don't cook a lot of desserts then you might get by with just a tab for Desserts....or maybe Desserts and Cookies.

You can type your tabs or handwrite them - I have a few of both but will eventually end up with them all's just easier for others to read.

I promised several of you to share the list of all of my tabs and how I have divided my books.  Feel free to copy what I have done or to individualize them for your own needs.

My first book has the following tabs:  Beef, Breakfast, Chicken, Eggs, Mexican, Pork, Salads/Dressing, Sauces, Sides, Soups, Italian, Dairy.

My second book has these tabs: Appetizers, Beverages, Breads, Cakes, Cookies, Desserts, Fillings, Frostings, Pies, Non-Food and Miscellaneous.

My third book is strictly for preserving food in the summer.  The dividers on that book are: Pickled, Relishes, Jams/Jellies, Veggies, Meat, Sauces, Soups, Dehydrated, Frozen

If you don't make your own salad dressings, don't eat mexican or bake pies, or don't can and preserve food then your tabs will vary slightly from mine.  Don't worry - your books need to be about you and your style of cooking.

One hint, I noticed after taking my books to Julie's that several of my tabs fell out of their slots.  A small piece of tape of either end of each tab will save you from that fate.  I have already added those to each end of my tabs so I don't loose them again!

So...dear readers...get sorting and next post we'll go over what to do with your piles once you are finished sorting your of paper....


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