My grandmother used to write her recipes on index cards in perfect cursive and add them to a rather large, unwieldy binder or keep them in labeled boxes. She also had a small library of cookbooks she dogeared and wrote on, adding or crossing off steps and/or ingredients because she knew best. (She really did. My father would say that the thing he missed the most about being married to my mother was his mother-in-law’s meatloaf. And this was decades after the divorce! It takes a true master to make a log of ground beef so…impactful.). There was also a recipe Rolodex, if I remember correctly. She spent a lot of her life cooking, so she tried many different organizing methods over the years, but the one constant was the index card. I imagine she liked them because they were portable. She could easily pull out the recipe she wanted from a binder, box, or book, and put it in one of her muumuu’s pockets for reference, or up on the refrigerator door.
As much as I love my grandmother’s index cards, I wonder if she would’ve appreciated having a Goalbook handy. It’s also portable. It has a table of contents, which isn’t as tactile or immediate as index card tabs, but the words don’t fade away with time or use. The paper is archival, something we all would’ve appreciated in the paper she used (mold has rendered some recipes illegible). The colored covers would’ve made it easy for her to organize the recipes by category while appealing to her taste for pretty things.
Rhodia notebooks and notepads are beloved by chefs, cooks, and waitstaff for their durability, variety, and craftsmanship. But even if your specialty is chips and prepackaged salsa, getting a Rhodia notebook for your kitchen is a smart idea. It could even inspire you to write down some of your own grandma’s recipes over the holiday weekend.
Where do you keep family recipes? Let us know below! And Happy Thanksgiving!