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Monday, November 7, 2011

The Recipe Box

I have this recipe box. I've been adding to it over the past decade. Sometimes I'll come up with a new recipe, or alter one I find in a cookbook, but mostly it's filled with recipe cards that others have given me. Mostly from family members. Several from the oldest generation of family members. There's something about moving in with a guy, getting married, buying a house, traveling along life's path- that inspires the elders to bless you with their treasured creations of edible love, in the form of hand-written ingredients and instructions on a small piece of cardstock.

I've never removed any recipes from the recipe box. I also haven't made very many of them. The ones I invented went into the box and sort of fell into oblivion. Some of the ones given by the elders just seem outright disgusting to me. And the ones I remember and look for are usually impossible to find. I think of myself as a pretty organized person, but my organizational skills stop at the box. For example, if I'm looking for the recipe for "Bill's Potato Soup", it could be under "B", "P", "S", or any letter next to those. It's laughable, really, if you happen to be in a good mood while searching.

So, in one of those laughable moments, my husband gave me the dangerous idea of making everything in the recipe box and blogging about it. I thought about that, and decided this might actually be a good way to toss out the recipes I will never make, despite the thoughtfulness of loved ones gifting their treasured recipes to us; and I might re-discover those recipes I created and then forgot about immediately after creating them.

This also might work well with "The Meal Plan". I'm sure you've heard of this idea, maybe you've even tried- and failed- at it! The idea is to write down all the recipes you want to make in the week, then make a grocery list of what you need to make these recipes, then buy them all in one successful trip to the store, and spend every night with a home cooked meal! It sounds like a fabulous idea, and I admit- if I know what we are planning to have for dinner, we are a lot more likely to actually make the effort to cook it (especially if it doesn't involve a quick run to the grocery store between 5-6 pm when everyone else is doing the same thing!) BUT- realistically, The Meal Plan works for about a week, usually more like 2-3 days and then it tends to fail for various reasons. At least, in my experience. But- now I have a new idea! This week for dinner- things from the S section of the recipe box! What do you want for dinner? Salmon, squash, scallops, salad or a recipe from my friend Shay? (remember? organizational skills+recipe box=zero)

Some rules:
I do not have a deadline for this. That would be ridiculous.
I am not going in order. For example, I am starting with "S" because we are in winter squash season. And I will post each letter as a separate blog (maybe some in two parts, there are an awful lot of things in the "C" category).
I am allowed to alter the recipes as I make them. I thought about this for awhile, and I decided that normally I would totally change recipes to make them more likely to be used again. Also, I don't even know how to find stuff like oleo in the store.
And finally, I will only keep it in the box if there is a remote chance that I will make it again. This will allow me more space for future creations!