Filing System Is a Recipe for Success

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union food editor

A recipe can be a little treasure. It can introduce a new flavor to the table or a new technique to the cook. A new recipe can one day become a family favorite and years later a tradition.

So, if recipes are so priceless, why are cooks so cavalier with them?

Nearly every day, I get requests to retrieve "lost" recipes. There are frantic phone calls, pleading voices on the answering machine or angry e-mails wondering why the recipe can't be found on jacksonville.com.

Before I relate my personal recipe saving system, let me answer some questions.

-- Can I find a recipe that was printed, say, sometime between 1977 and 1979?

No. The best way for me to find a recipe that has been printed in the Times-Union is to use the exact date it was published. There is no master list of recipes or master archive.

-- Why aren't the recipes on jacksonville.com?

There are two reasons. The first is we do not have the electronic rights to publish wire recipes. Most of the recipes printed in the Times-Union come from wire services. Even if we had the rights, those darned fractions (1/2 cup, 1/4 teaspoon) get garbled when we send our copy over to the folks who put together jacksonville.com.

Clearly, holding on to your recipes is very important.

I've been tempted to buy recipe software to store all my favorites from over the years. But I'd have to have the dedication to type the recipe into the computer. I have wine journal software that hasn't been used in years because I am too lazy to make simple tasting comments.

I've seen fancy recipe binders, complete with pockets and plastic page protectors, that I've been tempted to buy. …