The holiday season is closer than you think, which means it’s time to be thinking about recipes. I received my Thanksgiving edition of Bon Appetit in the mail yesterday and (like the little nerd I am) I opened it immediately to read the mashed potato cover story and dogeared the pages I want to read ASAP.
Maybe it seems impractical in the digital age, but I love writing down my favorite recipes on paper cards, the way the women in my family have done for decades. There are many reasons why I use recipe cards. For one, I very much cherish handwritten recipes from loved ones, especially those who have passed away. When I read from my great-grandmother’s handwriting, it’s like she is right there with me in the kitchen. Making the food someone loved to make is such a sweet way to remember them by. Recipes are treasures, and it’s important to write them down and share them with the people we love.
Plus, a box full of recipe cards is just so handy. Searching through a box I wrote and organized myself can be so much quicker than scrolling through an entire Pinterest board for something I pinned last year. It’s great inspiration for what to cook, so I keep my recipe box in the kitchen at all times. Here are my tips for getting started with recipe cards:
- Write down only the recipes you make a lot. This cuts down on clutter in your recipe box. If you’ve made it before and would make it again, write it down. If it’s a magazine clipping or a recipe you’re only a little interested in, chuck it or somehow keep it separate from your faves.
- Keep them accessible. I keep my box on the kitchen counter with my cookbooks. Sometimes it’s really great to not have to hunt down a beloved recipe in a cookbook or on the Internet!
- Share your recipes. If someone asks you for a recipe, they’re giving you a compliment. Say thank you, and offer to write it down for them. Keep blank cards in your recipe box and jot down your recipe for them right away. Be generous.
- Be honest and thorough. I hate it when people admit they omitted a ‘secret’ ingredient from a recipe they shared with me. Be honest and share your entire process so I can make it like you did.
- Write legibly. There’s nothing worse than guessing what someone’s messy handwriting says. The difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon is huge! Don’t make me guess.
- Update your recipes. If one day you decide your classic apple pie needs a little more cinnamon (because of course it does!), make a note of it on your recipe card. You’ll know to do it next time.
Today, I’m sharing a free, PDF download of these recipe cards. Download the file now, then print them out and trim them. (These are 8.5 x 5.5 inches. You may want to change the scale in your printer settings, depending on the size of your recipe box.) Start saving your recipes today!
Tell me, which recipes do you cherish the most? // susannah
P.S. This recipe card download is just one of the pages in The Complete Guide to Building Your Home Bar, a FREE 24-page, illustrated booklet filled with secrets I learned in bartending school. Everything you need to know to keep your bar well-stocked, from the right tools and glassware to basic liquors and ice. You’ll also get 10 easy cocktail recipes, a measurement cheat sheet and blank recipe cards. Read it on your computer, smartphone or tablet, or print it and assemble it into a 24-page mini-booklet for your home bar.
With this guide at your side, you’ll mix better cocktails and impress your guests! To download it for free, you’ll first need to sign up for The Feast + West Dispatch. (You can do it over here, in the sign-up box in the sidebar or right here: