97 Kajillion Recipes on Pinterest, but No Food on the Table

by Kim on January 9, 2013

I’m a recipe junkie. I have eleventy-billion of them stashed away on my computer, pinned on Pinterest, tucked into a drawer on recipe cards, and buried in cookbooks and cooking magazines I never touch. But when it’s time to put together a meal plan for the week or a grocery list, I’m all, “Wait. What’s food again?”

what to cook source

You’d think, after being out of my parents’ house for 10 years, out of college for 5, and married for 3, that this meal-planning thing would have gotten a little easier. That I’d have at least a few go-to meals in my head for those last-minute-scramble days.

But somehow-really, amazingly-when the time comes to build a menu, my brain turns into oatmeal. If you asked me to list off 10 things we eat on a regular basis around here, I’d probably first try to change the subject, then proceed to have a small meltdown, and finally, eventually, cough up maybe 5 things (one of which would be “some kind of cooked meat”).

It’s been clear to me for a long time now that any recipe system I tried to implement would have to be computer-based. I have lots of great recipes in the stack of Taste of Home cookbooks I inherited from my grandma and the equally high stack of Cooking Light magazines I’m inexplicably hoarding, but the chance that I’ll ever actually open one of those to blindly pick out some recipes is about .02%. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading through them (I’m not sure if it’s normal to enjoy reading recipes-just, like, to read them, for fun-but I do it), and of course I dog-ear pages as I go. But how will I remember, later, that I dog-eared an amazing stuffed pork tenderloin recipe on page 29 in the April 2012 edition of Cooking Light?

Here’s how: I won’t.

I sort of had a good computerized system going for awhile, using folders to bookmark things I found on the interwebs. Here’s what it looked like:

recipes

But then…Pinterest came along. And ruined EVERYTHING.

(In other words: it was a million times better.)

Pinterest If you’re interested, here’s my Recipe board.

Now, when I find a new recipe, I don’t know whether to file it into my folder system, pin it, or both. Most of the time, the finding of the recipes is happening on Pinterest too, so it makes the most sense to keep it there, but given that my single board is a completely unorganized recipe abyss, chances are I’ll probably never see it again.

Are you sensing the frustration?

So I’m officially on the hunt for the Recipe Organization System of My Dreams. It would be very Pinterest-like, in that I’d be able to pin recipes to it from anywhere on the internet, with attached photos. But it would also:

–Make it easy for me to organize the recipes into categories.

–Allow me to easily add meal ideas I don’t need a recipe for, like homemade pizza or tacos.

–Suggest new recipes to me based on ingredients I use often.

And, the PIECE DE RESISTANCE:

–Randomly select 30 recipes/meal ideas a month and populate them onto a calendar that I can print. Boom!

I love the idea of a random recipe generator, and I know there are several out there, like this one or this one, or my personal favorite (if you aren’t too turned off by the vulgarity)…

what's for dinnerthis one.

But I don’t want to sort through a bunch of new recipes every month (because, really? Goulash soup??). I also don’t want to enter the 5 ingredients I have lying around so that a generator can come up with a recipe I could make, if only I also had these other 5 ingredients.

I just want my tried-and-true recipes and meal ideas.

I tried to express this idea to my programmer husband, who didn’t exactly fall over himself with glee at the idea, but he did agree to (someday-if-he-had-insane-amounts-of-free-time) attempt to create a rough, skeletal version of my dream.

If this is something that you, too, might be interested in, please comment below so I can make a better case for it. If I get 100 comments, I bet he’ll start tomorrow.

In the meantime, please enlighten me: how is everyone else doing this??

Mainly,

–How do you collect recipes?

–How do you organize your recipes?

–How do you remember what recipes you have?

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P.S. Sorry I’m a little punchy today. All this recipe talk gets me fired up. :)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany January 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I love the idea of a random generator of recipes you have selected (or actual use) and having a grocery list generated. At the Kacir home we tend to get stuck cooking the same meals over and over (tacos, sausage and potatoes) and don’t try new recipes. Its because its easy to buy the exact same thing every week! Since Pinterest I have started to get more adventurous and tried some new things that now get into the meal rotation but I have to plan for it.

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becca January 9, 2013 at 9:31 am

I was having the same issue you were having. I found this website – Ziplist (ziplist.com) which I love. I collect recipes on Pinterest, (using the Pin It browser extension), and then copy them into Ziplist when I decide I want to try them out. I’m a big meal planner and one time a week grocery shopper, and I’m able to go through, pick out my meals and create a grocery list based off of the meals, and add other things to my grocery list too. I still haven’t figured out what to do with all of my “paper” recipes, but at least for all the virtual ones, this has worked well for me.

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Kim January 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

Thanks Becca! That does look pretty cool. Now all I need is the random recipe selector part. :)

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