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How do you keep track of all of your cookbook recipes?

I have quite the cookbook collection.....and growing, thanks to Chowhound! I read cookbooks cover to cover. My problem is that I find recipes that I want to make someday and then when someday arrives I can't remember where I read the recipe. For instance, I've been waiting for my CSA to deliver tomatillos for this awesome recipe..I couldn't wait. Well, now I have my tomatillos and I can't remember where I read the recipe. Any good ideas for categorizing recipes from my cookbooks? An alphabetical journal maybe?

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  1. Many of us belong to eatyourbooks.com. You enter all your cookbooks, and when you type in a dish or an ingredient, a list of all the recipes in all your cookbooks for that dish or ingredient appears. Search this site for EYB or eatyourbooks, and you will find many cookbook lovers raving about the site.

    18 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      I am now doing EYB for my books, and Pepperplate.com for all my print outs, scribbled notes and family recipes.

      1. re: smtucker

        Me too (as a recent convert to pepperplate...)

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I am a recent convert as well. But it might very well be the missing link for me.

          1. re: smtucker

            Thanks to you, TDQ and JoanN I now have another way to take up my time... Pepperplate... which my brain wants to call Peppermill.

            1. re: smtucker

              I agree. I'm am as excited about pepperplate as I was about EYB when I learned about it.

              EYB is great for keeping track of your cookbooks, keeping detailed notes about your cookbooks and the recipes therein, and for searching your "indexed" cookbooks (or any or all books that EYB has indexed, even the ones you don't own) by ingredient or recipe or whatever. But, EYB doesn't actually pull recipes from the cookbooks. It does have a feature where you can import (ie., type in) your "personal recipes" , but it's not nearly as slick as pepperplate's. The only advance to doing so in EYB is that you could then do an ingredient search of all of the recipes in your indexed cookbooks as well as any "personal" recipes you put in.

              Pepperplate enables you to import (or input by hand), store, and search all of your recipes. You can choose recipes from your personal recipe inventory and plop them onto a calendar so you can plan your meals for the day, week, or month (or for Thanksgiving or whatever). From there you can generate a shopping list that is even customizable based on the aisles of the grocery store you shop at.

              Pepperplate also has a "menu" feature that I haven't played with yet...

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                My first foray into playing with the menu portion of pepperplate will be Thanksgiving, and the surrounding meals. This is the meal that I used family recipes more than any in my books, so it will be the perfect test for me.

                I am already wishing that I could have more than one store for building my shopping list. For Thanksgiving, I usually need to hit five different places!

                1. re: smtucker

                  I think you should email them and tell them that. I already don't like that when you add a menu to your calendar, it isn't clickable. I might have to email them about that.

                  In the meantime, pepperplate allows you to create custom aisles. If your five different stores are specialty markets (ie., you go one place for meats, one for cheeses, one for bakery, one for produce, etc.) you might be able to create "custom aisles" for each of those stores. E.g. one "aisle" is Meat Market counter, another aisle might be Meat Market fridge case. The next aisle might be "CHeesemonger". The next aisle might be Whole Foods produce, and then "Whole Foods" bulk, and then the next aisle might be Penzey's. And so on.

                  But, if you're going to get some produce at store "a" and some at store "b" and some meats at store a and some at store b, then I don't think my work around will work. I think it will only work if you only shop for certain categories of food at certain stores.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Oh, that is a dream I can only imagine! But, I could create a custom aisle for poultry, and another one for sausage. Maybe.

                    1. re: smtucker

                      Sadly, if I understand the way the custom grocery list works, I don't think you can do that. I think that the lowest building blocks are the "pepperplate groups" on the "customize" shopping page. There's only one category for "meat and poultry" so if you shop for poultry at one place and sausage at another, I think you're not going to be able to use my idea.

                      :( Bummer.

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        No, I think your idea works. I created custom aisles for almost everything - three for Greenmarket produce, meat, and other stuff, one for the Indian store, and a bunch of other categories that I prefer to theirs. The software automatically sorts items into their built in categories, but they are easy to move to the custom ones, and then it learns where to put them. Works great for me so far!

                        I'll be trying out the menu feature for thanksgiving also.

                        1. re: Westminstress

                          Oh, fantastic! Maybe I need to play with it more.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: Westminstress

                            Westminstress, can you create your own categories, too, or just your own aisles? For instance, could you create a category for "beef" and for "pork" instead of having just one for "meat and poultry"?

                            ~TDQ

                        2. re: smtucker

                          smtucker, I think I've figured out how to get this customized shopping list to work. Have you been able to play with it to figure out how you add different "custom" aisles for different stores to maximize Thanksgiving efficiency?

                          For instance, I just added a recipe that calls for diced onion. Pepperplate automatically puts onions in produce, but I want to use frozen diced onion. When I went to the shopping list and hovered over onions, I was given the option to "edit, move, or delete". So I clicked on Move and a listing of aisles came up and I just moved it to a custom aisle I'd previously created "Lunds (my local grocery store) Frozen Foods". I can see you can edit the item, too. So, I can go ahead and insert the words "frozen diced onions" I guess...

                          ~TDQ

                1. re: Splendid Spatula

                  It's a free recipe database and meal planning site that allows you to easily (with one or two clicks) import recipes from participating sites including chow, epicurious, allrecipes, martha stewart etc. and to manually type or cut and paste other recipes into the site. Then you can produce a meal calendar and shopping lists. Everything is easily editable including the recipes, the shopping list and your meal calendar. It will scale your recipes up and down for you, too.

                  http://www.pepperplate.com

                  ~TDQ

              2. re: roxlet

                EYB allows bookmarks on recipes too.

                1. re: lilham

                  Yes, and even if a cookbook has not yet been indexed a note as to the page number of a particular recipe via the bookmark is a handy reminder...

                2. re: roxlet

                  And a third on EYB, that is an invaluable resource. They've got a mobile version now, too.

                3. I have three ring binders. I actually make copies of recipes on our little printer/copier/scanner and put them in plastic sheets in the binders. I have a separate binders for magazine recipes and tried and true internet recipes. Every so often I go through them and clear out the recipes I won't be making again. It works for me and the idea came from my dad who does the same!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tiffeecanoe

                    Same system, but I think I need to do some 'weeding out' as the binders are getting very heavy with all the plastic sleeves.

                    1. re: ElsieB

                      I'll make a copy (usually cut and paste) of any recipe I want to try. It only graduates /is rewarded with it's own plastic sheet protector when I've made it twice (this indicates keeper status for us).

                      For the cookbooks, I use post it notes at the top, with a brief note about the recipe : there's a Pepin cookbook that has markers for Black Bean, Lamb leg, and Black pepper bread. I use those three recipes so often that the markers save time.

                  2. Wonder if there's any commercial website that allows you to buy certain recipes from cookbooks. Not all recipes in a cookbook are fool-proof. Sometimes there are recipes which guarantee standing ovation but I don't want to buy the whole cookbook.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: pearlyriver

                      I would seriously doubt that anyone would do that -- there would be little benefit to publishing a book if that were the case. Some web sites like seriouseats.com and leitesculanaria.com occasionally will feature recipes from books, but they're doing the choosing not you. And many bloggers, like smittenkitchen.com, will take a recipe from a book or newspaper and rework it.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        I had thought about that. But people used to opposed the idea of selling individual tracks from an album on Itunes, and now it's still going strong.

                        1. re: pearlyriver

                          I had the same initial thought (about the availability of single music tracks translating to recipes) and the closest I have ever seen is Google books.

                      2. re: pearlyriver

                        Try the library. :) We're in a spot financially right now that doesn't allow me to cookbooks whenever I'd like,so until dh is done with school again (May, yay!), I check out what the library has to offer!

                      3. I copy recipes I want to try and enter them in a notebook using the magnetic photograph pages.
                        If I like the recipe after trying it I add it to my collection, If not,, I trash it. This one notebook contains only untried recipes. The recipes I keep go into my favored recipe notebook/s.

                        1. Bookmarks? I don't try to remember in which books recipes are found. I'm heavily into the use of the indices of books. If I cut a recipe out of the newspaper it goes into a book with a similar recipe. I shelve my myriad of cookbooks and documents by genre.

                          Don't get the wrong idea, but I am a kitchen experimenter, not a trained chef. I belong to the "What if...?" school of cooking specializing in "Cucina impromptu", and I have an apron that states "I don't need a recipe...I'M ITALIAN." Mi dispiace, ma i miei antenati non erano italiani. Sono italiano per matrimonio."