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Legacy Recipes

September 12, 2018
Sample Page from my Cookbook

  Sample Page from my Cookbook

Do you still cook?  Would you like to pass down your recipes to your relatives?  Believe it or not all you need to do this is a word processor and a three ring binder.

I have been cooking for 48 years.  (Quite an accomplishment, as I won’t admit to being older than 39.)  To find an adequate filing system, I have tried it all.  Recipes stuffed in cookbooks, index cards, clipped out recipes of various shapes stored in file folders, .clipped out recipes of various shapes stored in envelopes.

Then in 1983, I got a computer.  Determined to explore every way that this machine could make my life easier, I got one of the first recipe programs for the home market.  Needless to say, this was a big failure.  The program was clunky. It was discontinued in about 2 year two years, taking its proprietary file format with it.  Fortunately, I had a paper printout of my recipes, but all the typing I did was gone.   I did learn a valuable lesson from this – neve type data into a program unless you know how you can export it into a common file format.

As the computer search function was much better than my paper system, I persisted.  I did my recipes on my word processor, but I made the mistake of trying to make them look like a cook book.  Too slow to enter and edit.  Then I hit on a winner.  I keep my recipes in one big Word file, sorted by recipe type, and within type alphabetically.  I list the recipe name, ingredients in a single column, followed by instructions.   I insert a page break after each recipe.  This gives me plenty of room to record changes and notes, and I only need to print the pages I need.  I keep the printouts in a three ring binder with a divider for every recipe type, so it’s easy to insert the new recipes in order.  If I splash tomato sauce on a recipe, I just enter the handwritten changes and print another copy.  I work with paper and a binder because it’s not smart to use a computer where it can be splashed with tomato sauce.

If I want to share a file with a person that uses a Mac or another word processor, Word will export a plain text file (.txt).  Just select File->Save As and select Plain Text from the drop down menu of file types.  The recipient will have to format the recipe titles so they stand out, and then they will be good to go.



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