Would you start something if you didn’t know how it would turn out? Would you start something before you had all the instructions? Will you start something with me, even though I don’t know how it will turn out and don’t have all the instructions?
You are probably already mad or nervous because you think I am going to ask you to give up all of your cookbooks, (and I am) but stay with me here.
I’ve been thinking about my cookbooks. I love good food and I really enjoy cooking. After years of collecting cookbooks and clipping recipes, I am finally ready to admit the following:
- I make my favorite recipes over and over again.
- When I try something new and love it, it goes into my favorites and I make it over and over again.
- If I create something new in the kitchen and the results are underwhelming, I never go back to that recipe.
- I have 24 cookbooks left, even after I let go of most of my books.
- I haven’t made one thing from at least half of them and only regularly make 1-3 items from any one of the others.
Why dedicate space to hundreds of pages when you only use one?
Before I got started, I thought about my family and how they use our cookbooks. 99% of the time, my husband finds recipes he likes online. After seeing the nature of this post, my daughter said was concerned that I would get rid of her favorites. I asked her which ones she liked and she picked one and said, “This one has the best crepe recipe.” So I promised not to get rid of her favorite crepe recipe. Enter …
The Just One Cookbook Project
I am going to make one cookbook and let go of the rest. With the accessibility and affordability of on-demand printing, it can even be updated every few years to include new additions and accommodate dietary changes. It will include the recipes I actually use and treasure.
Let’s face it, with awesome blogs like Foodiecrush, Smitten Kitchen, and Stone Soup, you can find any recipe you’ve ever dreamed of online. You can search by diet preference, ingredients or specific recipes. I’ll still continue to cook from the www, but I want a printed cookbook too, because marinara sauce on a computer monitor is no bueno. I want a cookbook built for the kitchen trenches. (and my creative tendencies)
Overview and Instructions
I think we will be ready to create our Just One by the Fall of 2013. I’ll be doing research on the best way to create the book and how to share it while protecting copyrights of our favorite cooks behind the books. We will be doing this project in bits and pieces. I’ll do a few more posts on it here and keep you updated with new ideas and information on the Be More with Less Facebook page.
As we move forward, I hope to share a great customizable cover design and book layout, along with other ways to make this a book you will really use.
Get started …
- Put all of your cookbooks in one place, like on the kitchen table.
- Separate them into 2 piles. Pile one: I have made a recipe from this book in the past 12 months. Pile two: I haven’t opened this book in the past 12 months (or ever)
- Box up the the books in Pile two and donate them or put them out of sight.
- Go through your recipe clippings and trash any that you haven’t made yet or know you won’t make again. Don’t worry, you’ll collect more. You know you.
- If you save entire magazines because you want to try a recipe, clip the recipe and toss the magazine.
- For your virtual recipes, make a list of your favorite food blogs on workflowy.com (or something similar) and another list of links to recipes that you’ve made or are really looking forward to trying. Trust yourself, and only save the recipe if you know you will make it, not because you think it would impress people or because it comes with a pretty picture.
There will be further instructions and they will be awesome. Remember this doesn’t mean you have to eat the same food every day or that you can never buy a new cookbook again. For today, just focus on steps 1-6 above.
If you are still shaking your head in disbelief that I even suggested you live with just one cookbook, make sure you aren’t using one of these excuses.
Common must keep cookbook excuses
- Cookbooks provide inspiration, stories and beautiful photography. Cookbooks are often beautiful stories and I will continue to read them, but you rarely re-read a cookbook. You can extract the useful information and pass it on.
- I might make that one day. You won’t.
- If I eat like that, I’ll be really healthy. That could be true, but recipes and inspiration that is never put to good use won’t help your current health status. And, you can eat like that without the book.
- With the right cookbooks, I can serve a beautiful dinner every night. If only! The fact is that the majority of us rely on our individual recipe rotation. Sure, we get adventurous from time to time, but we tend to gravitate towards what we know and like. For me that includes simple recipes with fewer ingredients that create healthy, tasty meals.
I’ve used each of these excuses and then some. It’s time for a change. Remember, that less is not none. I am going to lead you a beautiful collection of YOUR favorite recipes and to a book that will add goodness to your life instead of distracting you from it.
Are you in? I’d love your questions and suggestions.