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Wayward Recipes: Taming the Archives

February 11, 2011 |  1:13 pm

Recipe file 1a My mother must have hundreds if not thousands of recipes she’s clipped from The Times and food magazines over the years. I doubt she’s cooked more than a handful, but she's got them should the day she needs a new dish ever come. 

The other day I was looking for my recipe for semolina butter cookies from Liguria. It wasn’t tucked in the back of my copy of "Chez Panisse Desserts." Panic. What had become of it?

To find it, I had to go where I didn’t want to go: a brutally ugly brown accordion file overflowing with saved recipes in no order whatsoever. Total chaos. 

I realized I’m becoming my mother, which in this aspect is not a good thing. 

So, resolved to get things organized and eliminate paper at the same time, my archive of clipped and saved recipes is going straight to the scanner and into the computer, where recipes can be searched by keywords.

Beautiful. Or is it? I’m going to miss the physical feel of those torn-out pages and the serendipitous discoveries that come with rummaging through the files. On the other hand, I’m going to gain an entire drawer and the feeling of being in control of my wayward recipes. 

It's worth a try.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Photo credit: S. Irene Virbila