Do you keep a recipe box?

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There was a great piece in Slate last week about recipe cards — “an accidental charter of [family] traditions, rendered in 3-by-5-inch index cards” — and how digital collections have since replaced them.

I’m certainly guilty of maintaining a digital recipe collection: blog posts that I’ve bookmarked, emailed recipes that I’ve filed away in a dedicated folder. But I also add my favorites to a binder I’ve owned since college, which has, like the index cards of yore, become “spattered with grease stains and marked with thumbprints.” It’s a haphazard bunch of dishes that I’ve printed from my computer, cut from the Sunday paper, or written out by hand, and it’s always fun to flip through and be reminded of something I added when I was living in Germany, say, or looking for new ways to cook the green beans from my garden.

Do you keep a recipe box?

7 thoughts on “Do you keep a recipe box?

  1. I have several recipe boxes, none of which hold recipes. They all hold notes for various projects.
    Mrs. H has two boxes – one of which was her mother’s and is crammed with recipes in Mom’s handwriting. I need special permission to open it.
    The other, which I am allowed to use, is a shoe box of recipes Mrs. and I have accumulated over our 20 years together.

    Oddly enough, I’m still in search of the “classic” recipe box – fumed quarter sawn oak and finger joints……

  2. I don’t have a recipe box, and my Mother doesn’t use one either. My Mother uses an A4 binder that she’s had as long as I can remember. She occasionally sorts through it and rearranges her recipes, which are both handwritten instructions, computer print outs (and typewriter printouts!) and magazine clippings.

    I use a spiral bound notebook, and try to write in everything by hand – even magazine recipes, so that I can amend bits to suit my own tastes.

  3. I have my grandmother’s recipes along with ones I’ve collected over the years in an old rubbermaid plastic and very inelegant recipe box. I really treasure my grandmother’s recipes, written in her hand and some include splatters of what she was making. I’ll have to check out the Slate article. It is one of the few pieces of my past that I still have. Interestingly, one time I looked at a recipe she’d written for someone else and it was different from mine. She actually never used a recipe when cooking and so when asked for a recipe, she’d write down what she remembered. Which obviously was different at times. One day I will have to make a nicer box for them.

    • How cool to have those recipes, Ginigin! My aunt once sent me a recipe for holiday cookies from my great-great-grandmother, and it was ridiculously imprecise: a teacup full of sugar, say. I tasted as I went and they turned out just fine when I made them.

  4. I do have a recipe box (4×6), and recently received my father’s recipe box. When I give folks recipes, I write them out on cards (and date them – I’m a librarian through-and-through); and when people handwrite their recipes for me, their card/notebook paper/whatever gets put in the box.

    I love seeing people’s handwriting, and love seeing the cards get more and more tattered each year.

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