I have hoarded recipes and cookbooks for years. I clip or copy recipes from magazines and newspapers, print them off of the internet and Pinterest, hunt down ones I see on TV cooking shows, or request them from family and friends. Until yesterday, I had a bushel sized pile of clipped and printed recipes all disorganized in a basket, waiting to be organized. I have too many cookbooks on my baking shelves. I have big notebooks filled to the brim with more recipes. It is too, too much!
I enjoy cooking, so I do try many of these recipes that I save. Some become favorites, some I’m unsure of, thinking I may try again, but make some changes, and sometimes they are flops and they get pitched. If they are winners, I try to jot down the dates of when fixed, and rank them one to five stars.
For a couple of years now, I have realized that this hoarding of recipes is becoming problematic. It is no longer me in control of them, but them controlling me. How so? Well, they have been stressing me. They have been very disorganized and I am forgetting good recipes or remembering ones that I cannot find. They are consuming too much space in my kitchen, hatching and having babies, like rabbits or something. It has been frustrating me. That, my friend, is a form of control.
I decided recently that I was going to win in the control game. I decided this past weekend that I would finally do something about it, and THIS WEEK! I would take the situation in hand. I began that process yesterday.
I took two very large loose-leaf notebooks, for starters. I weeded those out, pitching recipes within them that I know I will never use again. I weeded through the huge pile in the basket, categorizing them, and pitching an entire garbage bag full. The ones I saved, I put in cellophane sleeves, and placed them in their categories in the notebook. I ran out of sleeves, though, so must run and get more. I only have the desserts to do yet, the best for last, right?
I have an index box to go through yet, as well, and then I will begin weeding out the excess of cookbooks. I will photocopy recipes I want to keep from the books I use little.
I am very proud of myself for facing this frustration with courage yesterday and today. It was truly daunting to me. I must say, however, that I also analyzed why I was saving all of these, so that I won’t do it again.
I have this compulsion to feel like I must try to fix or cook every good recipe I find or see. My reality is that I will never live long enough to cook that amount of food. I am 66, and I’m already slowing down. This is about getting “real” with myself. I probably have had five times in recipes the number of meals and days I have left. So, going, going, gone. I pat myself on the back today for facing this demon in my kitchen.
If you find yourself in this dilemma, or have been, I’d love to hear your story.