Recipe wishlists: how to handle them?

OK, so I could use some advice.  As you probably know, I review cookbooks and test recipes most nights.  As I go through new cookbooks, I post-it dozens of recipes I’d like to try, just like everybody else.  And just like everybody else, I only get to a fraction of the recipes before I get distracted by something (in my case it’s usually the next cookbook or the next deadline) and poof! the remaining recipes I wanted to try are never heard from again.

I’ve tried different ways of keeping track of them.  For example, I have a “Do Laters” bookmark here on Eat Your Books.  It would be easy to add my untested recipes to that list.  It would be easy to look them up when I made the weekly grocery list.  And then it would be easy to try them.  But somehow or other there’s always something that interferes with one of those three steps, so on those few weeks when I’m not testing, I never get round to finding those old, promising recipes.

In my very first cooking binders from maybe 20 years ago–you know, the ones that have newspaper clippings taped to looseleaf or index cards [terms unfamiliar to my children italicized]–I have some charming old wishlist recipes I’ve never used.  For example, there’s one for some kind of Vietnamese spring roll.  At the top, I scrawled “Like I’m ever going to make these!!!”  I was 19 then.  In the many years since, I’ve made spring rolls several times.  But I never thought of looking at that old recipe.

I know there’s something I’m not thinking of.  So: how do you handle your recipe wishlist?  How do you remember what it was you wanted to try?  Do you use Eat Your Books to help you?  Do you surround yourself with Post-its?  Do you store everything online?  What works for you?

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  • ellabee  on  July 30, 2012

    This is one of the exact things EYB is most useful for. When I go through a cookbook for the first time, I bookmark the recipes that interest me, in a bookmark that begins with c. and continues with the name of the book. [This is one of the ways I use the EYB bookmark feature to subdivide recipes; others are i.ingredient, r.recipe type,]

    Putting them all in one big 'Do Later' bookmark is next to useless, IMO, particularly for someone who sees as many cookbooks as Susie.

  • kuranes  on  July 30, 2012

    For online recipes, I use Google Bookmarks and label every ingredient.

    For cookbooks, I think I should buy stock in Post-it. I use tons of post-it tabs and mark every recipe that I want to try. Then, when I'm meal planning, it's easy to flip through a book and find an appealing recipe since I've already labeled them!

  • adrienneyoung  on  July 30, 2012

    What a terrific question! Which is code for "I struggle with this and would LOVE to hear what you all do!". For the record, I've got a bookmark called "recipes I want to try". But as there are now some 800 recipes listed under that bookmark, it's virtually unworkable. ๐Ÿ™

  • Jane  on  July 30, 2012

    I think the key thing when bookmarking is to either subdivide as ellabee suggests or use the Do Later bookmark in conjunction with other filters e.g. when looking for a chicken dish search chicken from Ingredient filters as well as the Bookmark Do Later.

  • okcook  on  July 31, 2012

    I started using categories like WTM Chicken (want to make) or WTM Salads. Then when I've made that recipe I either move it to my "Make again chicken" or I delete it. I see that I now have 53 WTM salad recipes but I could use the search idea Jane noted above to find specific recipes.

  • susan g  on  July 31, 2012

    My WTM backlog goes back 45+ years! Pre-Post-it, pre-computer. Who knew there would be so many? In addition to the excellent schemes already mentioned, which are new ideas to me, I use Delicious to bookmark and categorize online recipes (I just added the Bookmarklet). I have started keeping a list in the cookbook of WTM, One suggestion I've encountered that sounds good: pick one cookbook (or magazine, clipping pile) at a time from the stash, pick a few recipes and concentrate/plan on them — limit your options. Anything to make it more manageable!

  • chefoncall  on  July 31, 2012

    I use Evernote to categorize online recipes. I'm still working on refining my method for cookbooks using EYB. EYB has definitely helped me rediscover cookbooks that I had forgotten about.

  • chris08226  on  July 31, 2012

    I can't even imagine what this task must be like for a cookbook reviewer! What I've been doing is using a "To Try" bookmark here on EYB, but I've become VERY picky about what I put on that list. If I browsed each cookbook I own, and bookmarked every single recipe I think I might like, I'd be bookmarking half or more of the recipes! Instead, I limit this list to the true stand-outs — the recipes I would make a separate trip to the store, just to be able to make them (and it is very rare that I would do this!). Other than that, I really prefer to do an EYB search and choose recipes based on what I have on hand in my pantry/fridge/freezer and see what comes up, rather than work from a giant "to-do" list. Granted, this is not exactly a solution if you already have an unruly list you're trying to tame, but it works for me. As long as I'm trying recipes and making use of my collection, I'm happy whether I "planned" on making a certain dish or I stumbled across it.

  • vickster  on  July 31, 2012

    I would like to use EYB for recipe wish lists, so all recipe info could be in one place. But I have been using Delicious for a while. When I find a recipe I want I save it to Delicious, and give it a category title. They I can search by category. I find it very helpful and do end up finding recipes I saved and using them quite often. Much more than the ones I saved the "old fashioned" way – paper copies in folders in my filing cabinet!

  • bookpoet  on  August 1, 2012

    I got the Paprika app for my Mac & iPad (it syncs the two automatically in that cloud thing). It's main purpose is to hold and organize individual recipes but since you can create any recipe category you wish, I've made a "To Cook Later" series of categories. In that I don't necessarily place the full recipe into the ap – just the name of the recipe and its source location.

    With a click I can see which chicken recipes, for example, I thought worthy of bookmarking and getting around to making one of these days by scrolling quickly through the recipe titles on the list.

    (I have no connection with Paprika – I do love it though just as I love EYB. They are very complimentary.)

  • tsusan  on  August 1, 2012

    Wow! Thanks for all the great suggestions!

    I think I'm going to try updating and filtering my Do Laters and see if that works. If I have a non-testing week, I usually cook by ingredient (what's growing, what needs to be used up, what's taking up too much room in the pantry). So I'm going to try letting EYB hunt down ingredients in my DL bookmark for me…if that doesn't work, it looks like I have plenty of options!

  • ellabee  on  August 3, 2012

    My letter-subdividing system was developed as a workaround for two aspects of the EYB Bookmarks that make them currently less flexible than they could be: a Bookmark's name cannot be changed/edited, and the list of Bookmarks is (and can only be) sorted alphabetically. The list of feature requests is probably very long, but I'll add 'editable Bookmark names' to it. A more complicated feature, but one that I'd love, would be the ability to make each Bookmark private or public, as with Notes. Public Bookmarks of a user's Bookshelf would be visible on his/her profile page, e.g.

  • manycookbooks  on  August 9, 2012

    Now that I've found EatYourBooks, I do a lot of searching by ingredients, dishes, but before this (and still use), I purchased a handheld portable scanner (got mine from Brookstone, but probably others have them) and went through my books when I had time and scanned recipes I wanted to try. I created a 'Recipes' folder on my desktop and individual folders by category (i.e. eggs, poultry, etc.) and then subfolders, i.e. poultry – stovetop, casseroles, salads, etc.), and it works pretty well….also gives any photos which were with the recipes, which is great…..after I try one, if I don't like it, I just delete it. I finally got rid of a LOT of paper recipes in a number of boxes by doing this.

  • Foodelf  on  September 30, 2012

    I've been on a mission to try and reduce paper/clippings/photocopies for quite some time. Of course the primary culprit is recipes and my obsession with collecting. However, my house is small and I can't just keep storing and adding recipes and/or books if I don't use them. I have been auditing all the paper and concluded that I'm never going to make most of these gems that I thought important enough to copy or clip, some so faded they're barely readable.

    EYB has vastly improved my access to my own cookbook library and I've got so much more value from them.

    I'm subscribed to many blogs and food related sites; whenever I spot a recipe I think I might try, I add it to SpringPad which is a free online application with many notebooks, one of which is recipes. I'm not using up valuable space on my iMac, or in my tiny study – everything I save is categorized and easily available. I find it a really efficient adjunct to EYB. SpringPad sends me a weekly summary of items I've added and I've become accustomed to checking my online Notebooks when cruising for new ideas/recipes.

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