Shortly after I got married, I began collecting recipes. I had two recipe files for a long time. One was full of recipes with pictures that I had cut from magazines. The other file was family recipes from both my family and my husband’s family. It did not take long for me to realize the card system was ineffective for me. 1) I would pull a recipe out to use and it. But the recipes never seemed to get back in their alphabetical order. So I wasted my time organizing and putting recipes back in order. Or spent unnecessary time looking for specific recipes that were not in order. 2) I found a recipe card file uninspiring. When I planned meals, I had to go through various files and categories to figure out what meals to plan. It was an ordeal. 3) I was not constantly aware of the recipes I had. I forgot good recipes, made bad ones again, and simply spent a lot of time feeling lost in my recipe box. I found books to be a favorite source of recipes. I used Good Housekeeping and the red checkered cookbook for my staple recipes. I also depended on the internet for recipes. The problem with the internet was that I often lost or forgot about good recipes. And I spent a lot of time simply looking. Although I still have a couple of online resources I refer to on occasion: The Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen. I don’t use the internet as heavily as I once did. As I set up house my first year of marriage, there was a lot of experimentation as I learned to cook regularly for two. As I cooked, I began developing my own cookbook for home use. I typed out my favorite recipes, added a picture, a space for notes, and sent it to an office store for printing. Since I created my first personal cookbook, I have created a half-dozen more for friends and family. It is an invaluable method to store recipes. I love my own cookbook because: 1) It is never out-of-order. I don’t have to straighten up my recipe box or find list recipes. It saves a lot of time sorting. 2) Everything is categorized in easy sections with a picture, so I can easily look up the recipe on my mind or flip through the notebook for an idea. 3) I can easily update the book by printing off recipes and slipping them into a plastic sheet protector in the book. I can also remove unused recipes and trash them as needed. So I am never inundated with recipes I don’t use. 4) I can read the typing easier than handwritten recipes. So there are no mistakes due to mis-reading Grandma’s shaky scribbles. Typing is also fast compared to writing out a recipe. 5) I have a place to add notes about changes I might have made to the recipe. Unlike recipe cards that have little room for notes. (I can insert my children’s artwork as well). 6) I cover the pages in plastic sheet protectors so if there is any spill or splatter, my recipe isn’t ruined. I just wipe and move on. 7) I don’t have to worry about sizes. Sometimes recipe boxes can be full of 3×5 cards, 4×8 cards, folded cards, papers, newspaper clippings, and recipes cut from magazines. Those boxes are not without their charm, but they are not efficient and practical for my life. 8) I have all the recipes I use in one place. I now rarely use cookbooks or internet for my everyday basic cooking. If there is a recipe in a certain cookbook that I use frequently, I simply put that recipe in my own book. 9) Recipes people give me, or I discover throughout the year can go directly into my book or I slip them in a pocket in the front cover and update the book at one time. I have used this notebook method to store my recipes going on ten years now. I have no desire to go back to the cards, although I hang onto Grandma’s torn, yellowed, scribbling about of how to make tamales, but strictly for sentimental reasons.