Cookbooks and Scrapbooks and Pinterest, oh my!

It has been an odd week. I will never understand some aspects of human nature. I find that when I’m particularly troubled or feeling unsettled, I take comfort in the things that well, comfort me. So today I’m choosing to share two of my loves with you: Books & Cooking.

Yep, that's my iPad case there in the corner.
Yep, that’s my iPad case there in the corner.

I have an unnatural love for books, and I have a special place in my heart for cookbooks. I guess you can say I collect them (but also use them). My one pet peeve (that’s cookbook related – I have many pet peeves) is that I’m not going to buy a cookbook that has the author or a celebrity on the cover. I’m not buying the book for you or your big smile, Giada! Let the food speak for itself and then maybe we’ll talk. Enough with the ladies holding a barely visible plate of food behind a lovely kitchen island or a man in an apron with a butcher’s knife or something similarly hardcore. Show the food already!

I also love Post-it flags and one of my favourite things to do is flip through a new cookbook and flag all the recipes I want to try. Its offensive to me when you fold the corner of a page down. I used to also write notes in a few books lightly with a pencil but for some reason I stopped. I actually forgot I used to do that until I started writing this post…

Anyways with today’s digital takeover, more and more recipes are popping up online and the question remains – how do you store them?  I love Pinterest primarily for the fact that I can store my Recipes from all around the web into one or a few Boards. My sister was the one who went on about the joys of Pinterest before I truly discovered it. With us being total opposites, I assumed I’d hate it. But it has become one of the best weapons in my recipe storage arsenal. With a Pinterest board, I don’t have to be a member of every single site I visit and honestly, I usually forget my passwords so I have to go through the whole process of resetting the password just to access one recipe I thought I might try one day. I even have an I’ll Cook, You Wash board so you can follow that if you’d like.

I also love those old timey recipe cards and recipe boxes although I admit I don’t see the practicality of it if you store a lot of recipes. Too many recipes, too few meals! How cute are recipe cards, by the way? When I have lovely stationery to use, I get very crazy over the neatness of my handwriting and then end up proving that “you are your own worst enemy” by making a mistake or rubbing my inky hands all over.

Then there are your favourite recipes. The ones that you know are winners that you’ll eventually memorize by heart. Or the dishes that you cooked on a special occasion that have a special meaning to you. The first thing I cooked when we moved into our own place was mashed potatoes & spaghetti. Yes, it looks just as colourless as you imagine and was absolutely carb-tastic! But I have a picture of this un-photogenic meal because its connected to a great memory.

I also love seeing the handwritten recipes in my mom’s collection – the creased pages of paper yellowed with age containing handwritten recipes from my Aunt when my Mom first got married. Actually, I’m not even sure if it was my Aunt’s handwriting or my Mom’s – they have identical handwriting. This used to come in handy when Birthday cards arrived for me in the mail but my sister’s got lost (we’re 4 days apart) or vice versa. Many birthdays have been saved by my mom adding in the missing name on the card that actually arrived. These handwritten recipes remind me that everybody starts somewhere and that the recipes that you master early on in your kitchen will become intertwined with the rest of your life and with the childhoods of your future children.

Disclaimer: 1 toe and a couple muscles were injured in the setting up of this picture
Disclaimer: 1 toe and a couple muscles were injured in the setting up of this picture

A few Christmases ago, a close friend of mine got me a blank book. It wasn’t any kind of blank book though – it was personalized and printed specifically for me. It said “Indi’s Recipes 2009/2010/2011” on the front and contained two lovely food related quotes on the back. It was probably one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever gotten.

Every page inside was blank and over those years, I chose my favourite and most meaningful recipes to be included in the book. I printed out the recipes, took pictures of all the dishes I made, bought kitchen themed scrapbook paper and stickers and got to work. Most of my great craft ideas aren’t very pretty when I set out to physically create it, and I can’t say that the pages I designed are particularly gorgeous (ok, some are pretty ugly). But this book describes perfectly the kind of the chef I was between 2009- 2011 and contains some of the recipes that have become staples in my house.

Processed with Moldiv

We all know food is extremely visual (we eat with our eyes first) and having a cookbook or a beautiful site open makes me want to cook and also makes me feel like I can cook anything! I’m also curious – what’s your preferred recipe storage method?

So no recipe today, guys. An odd thing to bring to Fiesta Friday, but hey, its been an odd week. I’ll be back to my less philosophical self on Monday. Planning a Gourmet Grilled Cheese night with some friends so stay tuned!


  1. What a awesome post – and I love the idea of your own recipe book. This last time I moved, I vowed that I’d never move my library of books again, so I sold them! Broke my heart, but they really were the toughest part of moving. The only thing I refused to sell were my limited edition books, favorite, school books and all of my cookbooks! They still filled one box, and while I have some kindle cookbooks, I still prefer them in “real” form!

    • Aw that sucks! I had boxes of books and we had a pretty bad flood – lost them all and it just broke my heart. I totally agree with you though…moving books is a tough job. I still have some books at both my parents and in-laws and moving over little by little. Hope you don’t have to move again and that you’ll be able to build up the library!

  2. Such a lovely treasure trove of books! I share that love with you… a “must” for me in purchasing a new cookbook is that is has to have pictures of the food, the more the better, to actual see what I can make! Cookbooks are my favorite bed-time reading! In addition, I have accumulated several binders full of the recipes I pull from magazines and newspapers. And Pinterest? Of course!

    • Thanks Nancy. I like the binder idea actually! I always find that I need to sort out some way to save my ‘keeper’ recipes as opposed to my ‘to try’ recipes. In this day and age, its hard to see a recipe without seeing a picture honestly. I think we’ve gotten spoiled lol

  3. Cookbooks are a real treasure, aren’t they, Indira? I love the glossy pages with the artfully photographed plates and heaps of deliciousness…such beauty for the eyes and soul and eventually, stomach! Smitten Kitchen and Plenty are two of my favorites! I tried Pinterest, but it doesn’t appeal to me that much, so I simply print and collect recipes I like in a binder. Old-fashioned, I know, but it works for me. I love the idea of making your own cookbook, too.

    • You describe it so well Ngan! I really bought Plenty for the photography and my brother laughed so hard at me lol. Smitten Kitchen is one of my favourites – most of the recipes I try come out beautifully. Have you ever tried the Rugelach?

      • I have not tried making those cookies, Indira, but now you’ve reminded me I should! I love rugelach! The recipes in Plenty are great, probably just as good as the photos. 🙂 But, I enjoy his other cookbook, Jerusalem, more since I’m a meat and fish eater.

  4. I started my blog to keep track of my recipes!! I have a well-used cookbook collection too- I love perusing so many recipes but it can be overwhelming. 🙂 Great post!

    • Thanks Josette :). I totally agree that it can be overwhelming. I usually mark off the recipes that I want to try AND have access to the ingredients for. So when I actually have access to a new ingredient, you can bet that I’ll be frantically thumbing through my existing cookbooks to find a great recipe for that ingredient 🙂

  5. Your thoughts on celebrities on the cover are hilarious and totally true!

    I started my blog to keep all of my very favorite recipes in one place. I collect cook books as well. I like vintage and fundraiser cookbooks from one or two generations ago. I also use the library quite a bit to try out new things.

  6. Not an odd post at all, lots of us hear you loud and clear 🙂 I love the idea of the cookbook too. A friend had made one for me some years ago (with her grandmothers recipes in it) using tastebook and it’s one of my most treasured possessions

    • Aw thanks Sarah :). I’ve never heard of tastebook. Mine was made through Blurb….ok I just stopped typing to go google it. What an awesome site! I can totally see myself making one for my future children one day 🙂

  7. It might have been an odd week, but I don’t find this post odd at all. It’s a wonderful post!! We share a love for reading and books, especially cookbooks! I think right now, sitting on my nightstand are about five or six cookbooks…my night and morning reading!! I absolutely love the idea of a cookbook…

    • Thanks Prudy! What are the cookbooks on your nightstand right now? I am thinking of buying ‘Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing” next. I am working my way through Marcellas Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking although looking at the recipes I can really see how food prep and cooking has evolved over the years.

  8. I really enjoyed reading this (with an evening glass of wine)! You have describesd almost exactly my love of cookbooks, which ones I choose to buy (I’m with you on not buying books with a celebrity face on the cover), and little scraps that I’ve kept over the years. I think it would be fascinating to have a peek at other people’s cookbook collections and swap stories about them! 😀

    • Thank you! It really feels good to see that other people feel the same way about cookbooks as I do. I agree with you on the swapping stories, I’m up for it if you are! 🙂

  9. I too spend a lot of time reading cookbooks and magazines that I get regularly. Julianna posted her cookbooks and I told her I needed to do that as well. I am afraid I have way to many but it would be fun to share with others.

  10. Great post, Indira! Sounds ilke many of us share this same love of cookbooks! I recognize many of your books as they line my cookbooks shelves too! I agree with you about the celebrity chefs. 😀

  11. I used to keep a recipe scrapbook myself. Hmm…I wonder where it is now? Most likely in the dungeon. Nowadays I either bookmark or print recipes from online sources and keep them in a folder. But after reading this (which I thoroughly enjoyed, btw), I think I might want to start another recipe scrapbook. Maybe filled with favorite family recipes, to give to my children when they start life on their own. Wouldn’t that be a thoughtful gift? Thanks for the idea! 🙂

    • Thanks Angie 🙂 That’s a great gift idea! Sarah mentioned Tastebook and I think its a fabulous site. My book was made through Blurb and I have no complaints about it either. I also plan to create a book from this blog when I actually have enough pages for a complete book. Its nice to have solid copies of stuff.

  12. I loved reading your post. You know, I had that relationship with my sister. I loved cooking and she was my mom’s helper in washing clothes etc.
    You have quite a collection and now I am tempted to write a post about my books ;). I hope your toe and muscles are feeling better now :).

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