How to Make an Easy, Customizable Recipe Book
For the longest time, I have been trying to compile a resource of all the recipes I use. I kept a few on my computer and printed them out, but it’s hard to keep up, because I bake a lot. I usually end up flipping through cookbooks or searching through bookmarks of online recipes — not the most efficient process.
Online recipes can be great, except for those 8,000 words and half a dozen photos you have to scroll past before you get to the recipe. And what if the site deletes it? It’s nice to have backups. I used to keep them all neatly “pinned” on a site that allows this, but eventually I found it cumbersome.
Cookbooks are great, but if I have to edit the recipe (which I do often to double or halve the amount) I have to rewrite the entire recipe or keep doing math in my head. Which is a pain, and makes it easy to make a mistake.
One day, I had a revelation. I was using Evernote to organize my college notes — why not use it to store recipes? You can also use OneNote, which many people swear by; the process is the same. Here’s how I did it.
First, name a notebook “Recipes.” Gather all the recipes you like to make. Copy and paste each of the online recipes into its own note. I keep a note with the source, such as “Budget Bytes” or “Allrecipes,” so I can share the original recipe if people ask.
Easy, right? But what about all those cookbook recipes you love? Or your grandmother’s old index cards?
Just snap a photo of them. My Android phone gives me the option to copy the text in the photo — that’s right, it will convert a photo to text. I don’t have an iPhone, but I’m sure it must do this as well.
Paste that text into a note and make any changes you need — quantity, adding notes, whatever. Copying them from a photo is much faster; you can just edit the numbers, and don’t have to rewrite the entire recipe.
The recipes are now all searchable; for instance, you can type in “blueberries,” and all the recipes that use it come up. This is the biggest plus for me; no more thinking, “Where was that great apple cake recipe?” and searching for it for twenty minutes. You can also tag recipes into categories, but I don’t, because I’m lazy.
You can use the app to easily share recipes with other people, such as for grocery shopping, meal planning, or evaluating possible allergens.
I don’t use any fancy templates for my recipes, just an ingredients list (ideally, in the order that items are used) and brief instructions. I usually simplify the recipes; “Tablespoon” becomes “T”; teaspoon becomes “tsp.” “Arrange rounded spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets, place in a preheated oven and bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then place onto a wire rack to cool” can just as easily be “Bake at 375 for 10 minutes” for me.
And there you have it! Go forth and make.