Sunday, May 29, 2011

Are You A One-Boxer, A Two-Boxer or A Three-Boxer?

My mom is a great cook and so is my mom-in-law. The main difference between the two of them is that my mom doesn’t use recipes and my mom-in-law does.

And do you know what happens when you use recipes? After cooking for a while, you tend to acquire a lot of them. And after a decade or two has passed, most recipe boxes start to overflow.

I distinctly remember one day as a new bride when I saw Steve’s mom get a recipe from her collection and noticed that she had not one, but two recipe boxes stuffed to the brim. I thought to myself, “I don’t think I will ever have enough recipes to justify having two boxes. But if I ever do, I will know for sure at that point that I have become a real grown up.”

Well. I just want to announce to the world at large that the time has come.

I have owned this little number for ten or fifteen years and up until a short while ago, it handled my treasured recipes pretty well.

And then one day while I was valiantly endeavoring to wedge a recipe card back into the box’s overstuffed insides I thought, “Oh my. I believe the time has finally come for me to need a second box. And that means that I am definitely a real grown up!” (insert moment of silence, here)

However, it turned out not to be as easy as all of that. When I started looking for a second recipe box, I found out that they are not easy items to locate. And the ones I did find were dreadfully expensive-- $20 or more. And as a card carrying member of People Who Love Thrift Stores, I absolutely refused to pay that much money for a humble, basic box filled with absolutely nothing.

But then? One day I was meandering through a Goodwill store and came across a wonderful find. A brand new recipe box! With brand new recipe cards inside! For only three dollars! (insert many exclamation points here)

I happily took my purchase to the counter and babbled merrily away to the clerk about how happy I was to find this box because my first box was overflowing and I needed a second box but I didn’t want to pay the ridiculous price that a new box cost and yet I really, really needed one and wasn’t it wonderful that I had found a lovely box—brand new, mind you—that was beautiful and sturdy and now I could go home and separate my recipes between the two boxes and finally be a real grown up! And everything!

Well, actually I didn’t say all that. But I did rhapsodize rather rapturously as I paid. (insert image of patient store clerk’s face here)

I came home and introduced the boxes to each other and they seemed to like each other right off the bat. The old box welcomed the new box very graciously and offered to showed her around the place. It was a happy moment for all involved.


I was quite contented for all of about 5.6 seconds until I realized something rather dismaying. I discovered that finding a recipe box was only half the battle. The other half was trying to find the little divider cards with the tabs listing the various recipe food groups.

I looked. And looked. And then I looked some more. And I was almost ready to give up in abject despair when a thought hit me. A good and creative and wonderful thought.

I thought of these little guys, these little sticky thingies that don’t cost very much at all.

And I just took a few of them and wrote various food group names on them and then attached them to the top of blank recipe cards. Voila! Instant recipe box dividers! I was so happy! (insert happy Becky face here)IMG_4511

My last step was to divide up all my recipes between the two boxes and then label each end of the box so that I could remember which box held which recipes. Because I always forgot. Because I am almost fifty. (insert ancient, aged Becky face here)IMG_4513

The very moment I got those two boxes divided and reorganized, I felt an unmistakable mantle of maturity settle upon my shoulders. I just can’t tell you how great it feels to have finally arrived in the land of real grown up-ness.

So. That’s my story. Now, how about you? Are you a one-boxer, a two-boxer, or maybe even possibly a three-boxer? (I’ve heard that three-boxers exist but I’ve never personally met one.)

Or do you store recipes in a different way altogether?

One of my main problems in the recipe storage area of life is when I find a recipe that I like in one of my many cookbooks, I have trouble remembering which book it was in when I want to make it again. How do you organize your “non-recipe boxed” favorites?

26 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Lesley said...

Well here goes...I have only ONE recipe and that is for christms cookies that we've been making every year since I was 8. And I keep it on a stickie in the front cover of a McCall's cookbook that used to be my mom's (that I don't use)

That's it.

Sad, eh? It's a wonder my kids thrived and grew to adults!

Beverly said...

No recipe boxes for me! I tend to make recipes up as I go...and for things like cookies and such, we have a family recipe book. I love it!

Sheri Holthe (Oleson) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheri Holthe (Oleson) said... I removed my original comment because I spelled DESSERTS wrong...I could blame it on the 8 week squirming on my lap whining for me to hurry up, but I won't :). Here is my comment (spelled correctly..hopefully)..
The third box is strictly for DESSERTS (not deserts)...sand would taste yucky!

sharon holweger said...

I am a no boxer. I have a couple of really nice cook books but seldom cook anything that I can not heat in microwave call me lazy and the only one in the house

Lisa from Georgia said...

I'm a one shoe-box (plastic that is) that way I may never outgrow it. I have been married twenty years and it is just over half full. I actually got it from a creative friend when I got married. She decorated it rather cutely with cooking terms written all over it. It has words like stir, blend, bake, etc. all over its top and sides. She started me off with dividers and some basic cooking utensils. I love it and I keep the cards standing with 2 paper towel middles cut to size. I'm classy like that. I like your new fits your new life at the beach!

The Pennington Point said...

I thought I would be the only one to leave a comment saying I don't have many recipes...certainly not enough to use a box. I only have one old family recipe that is just on a card & stuck on the shelf.

I love that you have so many treasured recipes. You need to search for more boxes to write your old recipes on and pass on to your children. Lisa~

Sue G said...

I have one recipe box...

...and 11 three inch ring binders!!!! Since I print recipes off the internet, I needed something that would hold recipes that were bigger than index cards. I put them all in those plastic see through sheathes to protect them, and that way even smaller recipe cards/papers can fit and be stored in the binders. I have entire binders dedicated to appetizers or breads or cakes or...well, you get the picture.

I also have a plethora of cookbooks. I read cookbooks like people read novels. Love 'em!

(By the way, lately I am a sit-down boxer. I used to be a stand-up boxer, but my hip issue prevents me from doing that until it is fixed. Just sayin'!)

Paige said...

No box here but I do have a book. It has a plastic cover and fits 2 index cards into each page's sleeve.

Of course, it's probably been 15 years since I actually put a recipe on a card or in a sleeve. Currently my book serves as the holder for all sorts of scraps and folded pages containing recipes. It's an overflowing disaster but it's mine :)

One of these days I will weed out recipes I don't use and organize those I do. For now, it's like searching for a needle in a haystack when I'm looking for a beloved recipe :)

Rachel said...

I keep my recipes on the internet. In other words, when I go to cook something that I don't feel confident guessing at - I google a recipe and use it. lol I would never, ever be able to keep a recipe box organized! I do have a few special ones taped to the inside of an old recipe book - but that's about it.

I think you should type up all your recipes and make up a little book and sell it to us! :)

Anonymous said...

To Sue G.
If you love reading cookbooks, please get Pat Conroy's cookbook (He is a southern author with loads of food stuffs in his books) and Jan Karon's Milford Series cookbook! Not sure of the names of either but you can google them..they are awesome for reading even if you never cook any of the recipes! :)
Carmel, IN

Anonymous said...

oh, I seldom use recipes either..oh well..

MN Mom said...

I just had to chuckle as I am way more than a three-boxer! Guess it has to do with being a home economist and a pack rat! I have a whole wall of cookbooks and file boxes of recipes, and yet today I get most of my recipes from the internet because it is so much faster. I like the idea of the three ring binders but that would take organizing.
A wonderful gift to the newly weds is a gathering of favorite family recipes (in a recipe box or a binder). I still use the ones I got over four decades ago, especially those written in my grandmother's beautiful handwriting.

Judy said...

I agree with Sue G.---cookbooks provide many hours of wonderful reading. AS a matter of fact, the memento that I bring home from our travels is a local cookbook loaded with terrific stories and recipes.The latest one from Eureka Springs Arkansas is also full of beautiful pictures of the town.

JeanC said...

Hi Becky its been a while since I checked in on you. I definitely recommend using Google Docs for those 'keeper' recipes. It's free, access it from anywhere, and easy to cut/paste/copy/modify/categorize your recipes. Give it a look sometime!

Jean C

Jan said...

Becky, THANK YOU! When I was first married, the supermarket across the street had a deal where if you bought $xxx in groceries, each week you could get a volume of the Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking. (Great pictures; I can't imagine why my husband and I gained so much weight that first year.)

I used that instead of a recipe box, even when my mother-in-law gave me a pretty box with some of my favorite recipes of hers.

When I read your post, I couldn't remember if I even moved it across the country. So I did a search around the house, and sure enough, I still have it, and I'm having one of Mom's best meals for myself tonight!

Jan Reuther

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