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Do you keep a kitchen notebook?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Do you keep a kitchen notebook and is it something you'd recommend doing?
post #2 of 21
Not anymore, but I used to when my learning curve was much steeper.

I do, however, make all sorts of notes and comments on recipes.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 21
Yes. But mostly for things I want to try but haven't yet and then tweak to my preferences.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 21
I've been keeping one for about 20 years and just started book number 26 at the begining of August. The notebook started as a camping notebook and slowly evolved into a culinary notebook and journal of sorts. I use it often, daily during my summer job as chef at a children's summer camp.
post #5 of 21
i have one that is mostly filled with recipes I stole from the Book store. I've since resorted to taking pictures of them with my iPhone.
post #6 of 21
What exactly do you mean by kitchen notebook?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 21
I have various family receipt books - and I scribble in the margins of most of the cookery books that I've bought in the past 30 years or so.
post #8 of 21
no, never even heard that term "kitchen notebook".
Guess I've been living under a rock. @"*^*"@
...All anyone ever does is complain....stop griping and start being thankful...be grateful...be appreciative...
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...All anyone ever does is complain....stop griping and start being thankful...be grateful...be appreciative...
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post #9 of 21
Absolutely. My notebook looks like a seasoned folder containing illegible scribble that has been drug out of a hurricane, but whenever I come up with something I know I will want to write a formal recipe for, at least I have notes.... Pics are important too -- even if you just grab your cell phone. Cheers! S
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #10 of 21
3 ring binder with plastic page protectors. New recipes get put into Mastercook then printed and into the binder as a backup and for kitchen use. I can always slide a page out to make corrections or notes.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi Koukouvagia & LuvPie :)

I chose this less tightly defined term rather than 'home recipe book' so as not to limit replies.

It could be anything from favourite recipes, cooking experiments, any useful notes, conversion charts, useful suppliers, really anything that you wanted to remember but knew you wouldn't if you didn't make a note of it somewhere.

Are you a someone with a chaotic but treasured shoebox full of favourite scraps that you like to dip into from time to time - like a lucky dip? Maybe you have painstakingly developed a structured approach - rating each recipe against a kind of Mohs scale of flavours.

Really, I'm looking for anything related to this kind of kitchen note taking - it's surprising what wonderful ideas people come up with and use on a daily basis that somehow the rest of us miss - so rather than just ponder in solitary fashion about how I might build and learn from creating something like this - I thought I'd ask.

Maybe you take the alternative view, that note taking is an unnecessary distraction that dilutes the immediate focus of the taster - who becomes too busy thinking about how to write it down, rather than concentrating fully on the flavours he/she is experiencing.

Hope that helps a little.
post #12 of 21
My current one is a small Miquelrius graph lined notebook. Have some older ones in Markings and Moleskine. Picked up some from Picadilly at Borders waiting for my next use. Inexpensive and quite nice.

And for all of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I give you Black Cover. All will be explained there.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #13 of 21
Not as such, but really interesting recipes of the moment, I keep a copy of (book or net) for a couple months, then they go into the fireplace.

I do use my actual cookbooks. I make a dog ear or put a book mark on the ones I like, make notes on them in pen, e.g use half the fat, or add olives etc - they are MINE! That way when i die, someone will have some extra tips :lol: , then they go back in the stack. I tend to know which book has what somehow.

I've never used a notebook, but then I am hopeless at keeping a diary. I buy one every calendar year as a New Year's resoltuion...never works, for me :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #14 of 21
I do. I have a 3 ring binder that has labeled tabs to separate each category (as I see fit). I only put proven recipes in the ring binder area, once here I'll start adapting the recipe with my variations.

In the front folder part I'll put loose recipes that I want to try. If they're there too long without giving them a try I toss them. In the rear folder part I put recipes that I'm not sure about. The stuff that didn't turn out all that great but it's a good starting point. I'll either toss it in the future or add variations to it until I'm happy with it.

take care,
dan
post #15 of 21
Yes, on my PC, especially where it concerns recipies and the modifications/adjustments/alterations that I've made to them. And they're backed up, too, to an external hard drive.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone - as much as I love the idea of hand written notes in margins, I can't bring myself to write in my cookbooks - I'd also never remember which books had which recipes. I do have a box of favourite recipes I've saved from magazines and loads of resources on the computer (recipes, how-to videos etc).

I'm still exploring cooking like someone poking at it, rather than caressing it. Still lacking the know how to turn a white sauce into something special - something that really makes chicken sing for example, or the encyclopaedia of knowledge and experience to turn around a dish that's gone astray - I feel the need to start growing past that now.

Starting to learn how to note and quantify what I'm doing seems a practical step for me to take. I don't want it to be a collection of safe recipes that eventually becomes something that defines what I do - I want it to do the opposite and be something that encourages me to learn the most I can from each dish.

I've never been able to keep a diary either, but I love the idea that in time I'll be using a notebook not just to see what I can learn from a recipe or technique, but to note how I think it can be improved or built upon.

I have a plan:-
  • Buy notebook
  • Add title "Burnt fingers and other things I did today"
  • Find a way to quantify salt - I've got as far as the three fingered pinch.
  • Make a white sauce recipe and try tarragon for the first time.
After that it gets a little hazy...
post #17 of 21
I felt like it was defacing the Mona Lisa the first time I put a hand written note on an actual page from a cook book...

A friend of mine taught her husband to cook. She would give him fairly simple recipes on a card, and have them filed in a card holding box (fairly standard size the world over I think they were about 3 x 5 inches). Filed them alphabetically with dividers.

Seemed to work for him.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #18 of 21
Ah, thanks for the explanation. In that case yes, I do have a kitchen notebook. I started it because I wanted to write down my Mother's recipes... of which there is no written record. It took a couple of years to interview her for all her little secrets for this 3-ring binder and the process still continues today.

Aside from that I like to copy down recipes I see on television along with notes for myself, and I also like to make notes on all the recipes I use from the notebook.

In the pockets of the binder I also placed index cards with sauce recipes I can pull out like bechamel, hollandaise, and custard. I love those cards.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #19 of 21
Andydude: To learn how to quantify salt start by measuring a teaspoon and pouring it into the palm of your hand. That will tell you what that amount looks like. Once you've learned that you can "measure" any amount.

Meanwhile, start teaching yourself how a given quantity of salt effects what you are cooking.

Between the two you'll never have a problem figuring how much salt to add.

Or, in a pinch, you just follow Anne Burrell's lead and pour in the whole bowlful. :D
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
I think it must be great to inherit, or know someone will inherit, a lifetime of such observations. :)

  • Koukouvagia, really nice to hear you were able to share those recipes of your Mother's, very cool.
  • Moleskine is a name I know phatch, and it is one of their large plain notebooks that I've ordered to get me started.
  • Botanique - your description of your style, with nature and observation combined, seems to perfectly match your name.:cool:

I don't want to flood the thread, so thanks to everyone else I haven't mentioned. I appreciate all your replies and love the idea of folks out there quietly working on index cards and computers, or traversing cities ready to whip out a mobile camera and snap a picture of an untried recipe or attractive presentation.

KYHeirloomer - thanks for the add re. salt. It's a bugbear of mine. I go from not enough to just too much without instinctively recognising the point in between at which the salt partners the dish - I'm really looking forward to improving on that.
post #21 of 21
i almost always write down each and every recipe on a 5 x 8 index card, even if it just a slight variation on something i could make with my eyes closed

because if i hit a home run, i want to be able to duplicate it

if it needs some improvement, i can compare what i did with other recipes

i will often look up a recipe for the same dish in a number of cookbooks and cobble together what i plan to try, and write it down before i start- crab cakes for instance
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