Today at lunch a co-worker mentioned that she has a drawerful of recipes that she had printed from the web. She had every intention of organizing them, but somehow they just stay in the drawer strewn in a haphazard manner. She admits that it would be easy to just put them in some sort of a book, but instead she leafs through them every time she's looking for a specific recipe.
Another co-worker confessed that her sister had given her back a recipe box of family recipes that my co-worker had assembled for her as a wedding present. "I'll never use these," she said. Imagine!
We have one of those drawers that is chock-a-block full of recipes. We also have a couple of baskets full of pages downloaded from cooking.com and the food network as well as torn pages from individual magazines and newspapers. There is even a bordelaise recipe written on a butcher's receipt/bill from years ago. The butcher hand wrote it and gave it to Bill when he was picking up some beef for a dinner party. The butcher shop is no longer there. I don't think the butcher/chef is alive either. The collector of all of these recipes, for the most part, is Bill.
Bill loves to read recipes out loud and think about making the dishes. His collection methods have changed with the advent of the PC and printers. He no longer rips the NY Times Sunday magazine apart. The bookcase full of cooking books largely goes untouched. He peruses Rachel Ray's site or Emeril LaGasse's. He'll even go to the website after a cooking show on TV has indicated that the recipe can be found on it's sister site.
I am much more traditional in my recipe habits. I like the old fashioned 3x5 cards. My most prize recipes are written on those white cards with blue lines - handwritten by my mum, my grandmother, my friend in Rochester, my friend in Peterborough, my friend in Pembroke, my friend in Vancouver, my mum's friend in Oakville, my dad's secretary etc. What I don't have is the recipe for the most sumptuous chocolate dessert I ever ate. It was made by a French woman who invited us to her house for dinner. When I innocently asked for the recipe she REFUSED, I mean REFUSED to give it to me. She said it was rude of me to ask : It was her signature dish! What do I know about French women?
With recipe cards I like looking at the handwriting of the chef. Some of them are even dated! Most of them have food stains on them. Part of the charm of actually following the recipe is thinking of the woman who wrote on the card. This recipe card thing is a tradition that I fear which will not last much longer. It's so easy to go to web, type in the name of a dish, or some ingredients and voila : you have an instant recipe (yes, that was a slam against my French chocolatier). The downside is that you end up with a lot of information on 8x11 pieces of paper.
I kind of like that all my tried and true recipes are in one easy, retrievable box of love.