If you have been following this blog at all, you will know that i have mentioned several times that i like to organize. one of the best tips i have is for organizing recipes.

i got several 3-ring binders. i bought a box of clear plastic sheet protectors. i slipped two recipes into each sheet (one showing on each side, back and front), and i put those into the binder. i have about half a dozen binders for different food types (soups, main courses, breads/etc., desserts, project ideas, etc.), but you cold just as easily have one binder with a set of dividers. this keeps the pages clean (if you cook at all like me, i am a bit of a slob during the “creative process” ;)   ) and prevents tearing. also, it keeps everything sorted so it’s easy to pull out what i need.

but here’s the problem. yesterday i decided that i should probably cull the recipe files a bit. at the very least, i probably don’t need 8 recipes for coconut pie, for example. at the worst, there are recipes that i may never even use.

but i realized that my recipe collection is more aspirational than actual. in reality, my family has a dozen or so recipes that we use almost all the time, and a scant few that we use when we want to shake things up a bit. the odds of my kids going beyond their comfort zone to enjoy lemon herb parmesan encrusted whitefish with smashed scalloped potatoes and blanched asparagus is… um, slim…

but i want them to want to eat these yummy-sounding dishes! i want to be the kind of mother who makes multi-course extravaganzas that would inspire the great chefs of the world. well, ok- i would settle for them accepting broccoli slipped in with the macaroni and cheese once in a while… but the point is that these foods sound so delicious! looking at the recipe makes me feel like i am in a restaurant browsing the menu. if you can have a recipe for italian pasta with braised short ribs on the side and 4 different vegetable side dishes, that is almost as good as eating it! it’s almost as exotic as taking a trip somewhere. forget that i have to do the shopping and the prep and the clean-up (reality)- this is all about having virtually endless choices (non-reality).

some day we might have company, or the kids will get more adventurous palates, or i will be called upon to provide an awesome recipe for someone- and i know just where to go! how sad would it be if i had to say, “well, you get the frying pan hot, and then you add eggs and milk, and then you mix it around until it’s cooked! voila!”

so, having a stock of recipes allows me to dream big. who cares if your kitchen floor is dirty if your cooking is so fantabulous that people can’t even pronounce the recipe names? what’s the difference if you forgot to vacuum if your food melts people’s souls and puts them into a trance-like state that is not induced by food poisoning? how hum-drum can my life be if i -gasp!- actually own these recipes?

so, my question is: do you guys throw out recipes? how do you decide which ones stay and which ones go? it’s not like i am throwing out baby pictures of my kids, and it’s not like i couldn’t go on the computer and find similar ones (but what if the electricity is out and i’m catering a soiree for 25???)- but still…

these are my recipes

so, spill the beans. how do you decide what to keep and what to rehome in the trash bin?  it is your turn, after all…