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Seize control of your kitchen

Posted Feb 12 2010 12:00am
I’m usually pretty well organized in the kitchen. There are few, if any, mysterious containers in my fridge or freezer. I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and I keep a grocery list going all week so I know what I need on market day.

But my recipe collection is a mess.

I know, it's not an earth-shattering problem in the grand scheme of things. But still, whenever I want to make something, I have to spend time tracking down the recipe. It might be somewhere in my cookbook collection, or on my computer, or in a box of 3x5 index cards, or in a loose-leaf notebook with the pages falling out, or in an accordion folder stuffed with magazine clippings, or at the bottom of a large haphazard pile on the floor next to my desk.

How about your kitchen -- is it easy and pleasant to work in, or is it chaotic? Having a well-stocked pantry and your tools at the ready can help expedite meals when you’re in a rush. If you have to rummage through cupboards or wash utensils before you can start, cooking can feel like too much of a hassle, and it might seem easier just to nuke a frozen dinner or buy take-out. When everything’s in place, though, healthy meals can happen even faster than convenience food.

Organizing my recipes would be a daunting project, like cleaning out the garage. But here’s my interim plan. I want to go through my collection and separate them into two categories: those that I haven’t tried yet, and those I’ve made and liked and want to keep. That alone will save me from having to paw through every single one, every single time.

Do you have a recipe filing system that works for you? I’m open to suggestions.
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