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Getting the Recipe Chaos Organized

As much as I like to try to think that I am a super, pulled-together, organized individual, there’s always that little something lurking in the background that undermines me. Sometimes, it’s the over stuffed closet I really should clear out at some point. Others it’s the kitchen cabinets that I need to go through and de-clutter or the place where I store oils and vinegars just to throw away the items that might be past their prime or have gone bad.

Which brings me to the current nagging sore spot in my apartment. Remember this photo from my New Year’s resolutions post?

The overflowing recipe idea box

As I’d said, one of my goals for this year was to go through this box and put some order into the chaos. So far during the first five months of 2007, what had actually happened was that said box had moved from one end of the living room to the other and back again and then across the living room, where its home had been for the past couple of months. Finally, with the impending arrival of a friend who is relocating to New York and who needs a place to stay for a little bit, push had come to shove and I really needed to get this sorted out (or to throw it away).

How best to do this? In my parents’ house, The Recipe Box (or The Box) is consulted as the font of all Knowledge as well as the Repository of the Family Favorites. It has such cult status that most of us have written down recipes from the tattered and stained 3″x5″-inch index cards to take with us when we’ve moved out of the family abode. I even copied from many of them to create a little family cookbook for the younger of my two little brothers when he got married.

These recipes (and the handwriting on the cards) mark various culinary periods and tastes. There’s everything from the mayonnaise-heavy Ambrosia Salad which marks 1970′s era potluck suppers to Hamburger Macaroni (Why is there a recipe for this in there?) – a staple during the evenings when my brothers had to go to scout meetings in the evening; to stews, salads, cookies and candy (mmm…Peanut Butter Balls – that one has my jr. high-era handwriting on it). It’s sort of a little treasure-trove of the development of my taste buds.

So, the box in my apartment has been taunting me. I’m not sure (other than the advent of the afore-mentioned houseguest) what was the motivating factor that finally made me dive in and tackle this project. I’d been to Staples® the previous weekend to pick up binders and tabs. That was as far as I’d made it. I couldn’t focus on it.

Beginning the process
Mid-way through – it looks like a mess but there is a method there

I even managed to throw a bunch of papers away

The final product – Don’t they look so nice?

Buon appetito!