11/9/13

Confessions of a Recipe Hoarder

Given the craziness of the last couple of weeks, it's not surprising that my house looks as if an F5 tornado recently touched down. I give you my desk:


Today I decided to clean it off since it has suddenly, instantly, become beyond maddening to implacably intolerable. As I started clearing things off, here are a few things I found: hundreds of used staples, thousands of paperclips, several tear strips from self-sealing envelopes, spare change enough to buy quite a few candy bars, enough dust to inundate the City of Portland along with two unused dust cloths, a good-sized stack of coupons (all expired long ago), and dozens of pencils and pens. This brings me to a story I like to tell about one of my previous lives as a legal secretary.


One day my boss stopped by my desk to sign something. He used my last remaining pen, and I admonished him not to walk off with my pen the way he usually did (insert accusing tone here). He looked a little puzzled, but walked on, wisely leaving the pen behind. A little while later, said pen rolled off the desk and under my typewriter...in those days, an IBM Mag Card II...a heavy sucker. If you know anything about typewriters, then you'll know I'm telling the truth when I mention the day of my birth back in the 14th Century.


Just look at how happy she looks. I always looked like that when I was a legal secretary. I was especially fond of the last-minute items given to me at 4:30 p.m. that absolutely, positively, had to make it to the courthouse before it closed at 5:00 p.m. Oh yes, and that was so long ago that the world was still black and white. Color wouldn't come along for about ten more years.

So continuing on with my story, the pen rolled off the desk and under my typewriter. (I figured you could use a "previously, on this story review" after all that.) So I use my biggest muscles to slide the typewriter to the side a little bit and retrieve the errant pen when what to my wondering eyes should appear but about two dozen missing pens and pencils. Oops. (You'd be disappointed if I hadn't told that story, wouldn't you?)

Also, have you noticed how when you drop something on the floor at your feet it has a tendency to vanish, never to be seen again? If it's a pin, you'll find it the next time you walk barefoot...probably in a completely different room.

Okay, so here's the "hoarding" part of this little peek into a-day-in-the-life-of-a-crazy-cat-lady-who-likes-to-cook.


Over the past year, I've stopped renewing all of my cooking magazines. I still like Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and Fine Cooking. Otherwise, I get more recipes than I can handle straight from the internet. When I see a recipe I want to try, I either print it off or tear it out, depending on where I see it. Then, as I make up a menu and grocery list, I draw from my current stack of recipes. Here's my current 1 1/2-inch stack of recipes:


Here's the 3 1/2-inch stack that I've had so long I'm tired of looking through them each week.


Those are piling up until I find the wherewithal to file them away in my entire file drawer of recipes that I've been collecting since before we moved into this house back in 2002. This is where recipes go to die.


I bet you thought I was kidding about the hoarding. I so much hate filing them away that I'm writing this blog post as a distraction while I conjure up the intestinal fortitude to tackle said job. That's next...before I allow myself to sew. Sewing for the rest of the day is my reward for cleaning up my desk and filing away my recipes. It would be possible to toss them and forget all of this ever happened, but then I'd probably miss out on the recipe of a lifetime. If I can ever find it in my file drawer.

But, hey, my desk looks better, doesn't it? And you can even see the unedited picture above on my computer screen. Who says this blog isn't completely current on all things mundane?


Oh, in case you're wondering about the small stack of papers next to my computer mouse, those are the six recipes I've tried but haven't yet typed into my recipe database.

I think I need to attend a 12-step meeting of some kind. What do you think?

26 comments from clever and witty friends:

Tami C said...

This post has really made me feel guilty! My desk looks way worse than your did. I guess I should do the same thing and reward myself with sewing AFTER I get my desk cleaned up. Thanks for the inspiration!

Colleen said...

Ack! You need to use pinterest! You can create different types of recipe boards and pin them to it. I have an ipad so its easy to bring up recipies or quilt patterns when you want to use them. You can upload too.

Janarama said...

LOL, I totally remember the IBM Mag Card machines. When a card got caught in the machine we used to use a fork to get it out. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. Our IBM repairman, Gene, used to get so mad at us for trying to fix it ourselves. Funny, he always knew when we did. Do you also remember the HUGE floppy disks? They were 8 or 9 inches square?

Marei said...

I think 12 step sounds right and if you tell where the meetings are, I'll come. I'm assuming we'll bring goodies....and the recipes for them, right? Aren't you so glad we live in a paperless world. HA!

Diane Wild said...

OMG, you were a legal secretary, too? So was I and I can totally relate to that dash to the courthouse. My kitchen counter tends to accumulate assorted piles of detritus but not as bad as your desk. Glad to see and hear that all is back to normal at your house.

sophie said...

My name is Sophie and I am (also) a recipe hoarder. Have you discovered Pepperplate? it's a website, it's an app and I use it for hoarding recipes and creating my shopping list--used in my phone when I shop. You can import recipes directly from some of the bigger recipe sites ... which makes hoarding so much easier ;-)

I'm really just a happy user. I use pepper plate on my phone when shopping, on my tablet when cooking and on my computer when I just want to save something I've found that I want to keep.

Teresa in Music City said...

I really do think we may have been separated at birth :) You got all the cooking genes and I got ..... well, I'm sure I got something to compensate :) My desk looks at least that messy, but instead of recipes piling up, I have knitting and quilting patterns piled up by the dozens! Torn out of magazines and printed from the computer. I just cleaned out my "junk" drawer in the kitchen last week - took me two hours! But underneath it all, I'm really pretty organized believe it or not. And I suspect that you are too :)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I guess it's a good think I don't cook. I own one recipe book - my grandmother's Betty Crocker - and that is just for sentiment.

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

Got rid of all my recipes except my Betty Crocker, just couldn't do it although I don't use it. I love allrecipes.com! No more papers!

Cathy (aka CrafteeCC) said...

LOL I had to laugh when you mentioned the IBM Mag Card machine - my first foray into Word Processing ;-) and yes, I too hated the mad rush to get things in the mail before cut-off ;-)

Shanna said...

I am also working on clearing off my desks tonight! I used to have those magazines for recipes but now I just use all recipes.com, i can type my own favorites in there too plus try new items and i can plan a menu & grocery list right from the site! In fact, I have a whole box of recipe magazines that is going to be donated for cutting up or I may just give up and send it to recycle!

I hope your knee is doing okay.

Patrica said...

OMG you must have been sneaking around my house and taken a picture of my office complete with stacks of recipes!!! We need a recipes anonymous or something and a personal assistant for sure.

Donna said...

Thank you for that post. I feel much better about my office/sewing area! I have a filing system too and just like yours I rarely look at again. And from reading your comments, we are not the only ones!

Jeanie said...

I can sooooo relate to the whole post! And while I'm writing this, I should be putting my most recent recipes in their proper file too.... maybe later....

Michele said...

Hehehe. I get it. I have a ton of recipes to try too but not quite that many. One idea that I'm going to use that I heard of from a friend...make a 4-6 week meal plan and use new recipes for at least 3 days each week. I need to make the time to do my meal plan but I know that once I do my evenings will be so much easier cause I won't have to figure out what to make.

Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

My husband recently banned me from buying more cookbooks because I have about 40 and never use them. But I do like to sit and hold them and admire how shiny they are and how delicious the recipes look.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I think you need to invest in a trash can, just for the desk area; )

barbara woods said...

I do that too and almost never use them

Judy1522 said...

I have tons of recipes that I have saved. My intention is to try each one and throw away the ones we didn't like. Now I just need to get started on it.

Kate said...

My Guy is the recipe addict in our house. He has stacks on his desk. Thankfully, I have my own desk, piled high with quilt patterns pulled from my magazines. Hope you made a dent in your filing!

Lee said...

I feel at home...beyond that, I plead the fifth! I resemble that extra piece of tape on the dispenser too ;p

kc said...

mmmmhmmmm...your desk looks amazingly familiar...and I'd be right at home there. I, too, have a stack of recipes not yet filed. But your filing system looks a lot better than mine - mostly my printed recipes just get stuck into the 100 Cookies recipe book. No particular order, I'm afraid. And, um...should I admit that I'm going to a recipe exchange next week? Nah, let's just keep that a secret.

I like using sewing as a reward/incentive for good behavior...I'm hitting Hancock's for some notions & outdoor fabric (for snakeskin backing, no less) tomorrow, big sale, as a reward for pulling out dead rose bushes today. I'm sore, and full of sticker-sticks, but it was a much-needed, much-dreaded job. Had to do it myself, 'cuz hubby's had that chemical burn on his face & ears (to rid of skin cancer). We lost all the bushes & shrubs due to the long-term drought down here. :( Sad days, but I'll be sewing Tuesday to make up for it! Glad M's back home & doing so well.

Dar said...

You hit a familiar cord with most of us I see. I too print out recipes, and plan to try each one. My stacks all around my desk/sewing room are a mixture of recipes, quilt patterns and now knitting patterns. Each time I want to show someone something, I have to go through all of the stacks to find it! I just don't have time to stop and file them in the appropriate place. Maybe next year. Or if we ever get snowed in and I'm not reading, knitting, or quilting. lol
You can be sure you are in very good company and not alone.

Karen said...

I am impressed that you succeeded in cleaning your desk top. I wouldn't call it a problem yet, because you can till get into your room and use the desk!! :)

VickiT said...

You made me laugh at this post. I also collect recipes and cookbooks. I have at least 300 cookbooks so far and those on my computer are nearing an embarrassing amount. I hope when I die my family has the thought to get them off my computer or they will never have Mom's Famous Chili, or Vicki's Famous Brownies ever again. LOL

I stopped printing all the recipes I liked a long time ago because I didn't have enough hours in the day to try them all and printing them out just contributed to a mounding massive amount of papers piling up more and more each week. Then I created a file on my computer for recipes and created categories just like you'd see in a cookbook but a bit more categorized than a cookbook has. Inside the main folder there is another folder for all my menus and grocery lists by month and then in those by week.

You'd think a lesson would have been learned from the recipes but nope. NOW I print all these sewing and/or quilting projects I just must try as if I had found even MORE time in the day to do those when I couldn't even manage simple recipes. HA. I now have about 12 binders of projects and a stack hiding in the back corner of my cutting table that's about 8 inches high which are waiting for me to do something with them. ha. As if anything will be done other than to stick them into more binders.

So yea, I feel your pain but, maybe you need to stop printing those recipes and saved them on your computer and create a folder for 'need to try first' or something similar of those you find and just really must try next.

One of my children has already said they'll need to take a match to my home and tried comparing me to those hoarders on the tv show. I laughed so hard because this house is not even close to that at all and never will be. I watch that show once in awhile and usually that's enough to get me to clearing things out again so I don't turn into the crazy hoarder mom. LOL

quiltzyx said...

Nice job on the clean up - that little stack you had left shouldn't count at all!