Friday, January 20, 2012

A Mess 'o Magazine (Pages)

Janet here: Sooooo last year I posted about my magazine, um, problem. The picture probably tells the story but if you want to hear all the messy details, you can read it here.

At the time, my very clever solution was to simply tear the pages out of the magazines, thus eliminating the ever-growing stack. (You can probably tell where this is going.) But now, I have a mess of — yup — pages, including recipes I've printed from things I've read online. It's not pretty.

Clearly this strategy isn't working, especially since on top of it all I have hardly cooked a single thing from this pile. Pathetic I know.

But I've been thinking a bit about why we do this. For me I think it's all part of my lifetime quest to create the family I wished I'd had as a child. Don't get me wrong: plenty of things about my childhood were perfectly wonderful. I grew up in a middle class neighborhood and never really wanted for anything; my family was intact and many of my memories are happy ones. But there was, as there is in every family, a dark side, and in my particular case that dark side involved alcohol and all the many messy, confusing (to a child particularly), scary things that disease invokes.

And at a certain point — I think I was in 9th grade — I vowed my family would be different. I can picture the moment quite clearly. I was in my room and I looked up at the sky, hand clenched, and vowed, not unlike Scarlett in that seminal scene in Gone with the Wind, that my family, the one I created with my future husband, would be different.

I've been working at that mission ever since we had children. And food — making food from scratch, trying to ensure that everyone liked the food, literally keeping my family well fed — has played a major part. So as I flip through magazines or scroll through food blogs and recipes, this desire to feed people well is always in the back of my mind. It's about showing my love and, of course, looking for love in return.

So I rip, thinking G and S might like this one or maybe I can make that one for Rachel and her family or perhaps this one would be great when we have some of our friends over for dinner. I rip, thinking, hoping, that this next meal will add just another knot in the quilt of my life I've been sewing since I was 14. The more knots, apparently, the stronger I think it will be.

Still, something in this method has to change. So here's my (kind of) New Year resolution about this. I am going to cook something from this pile at least three times a month. (I originally was going to say once a week, but that would fail oh probably around week two, at which point I might give up on the whole thing and I'd be back to just a growing mountain of magazine pages.) Anyway, once I make the recipe, I will decide if it's a keeper or a tosser. The keepers will go in a notebook for posterity. And some day, as my children clear out what's left, they'll be able to know that these particular recipes were some of the ones that made the cut.

In the meantime, if anyone has any brilliant ideas about how they deal with their ripped-out recipes — I know I'm not the only person who does this — please share them! You'll be doing us all a favor.


  1. i have this same's bad,but i can't stop :) i've started to scan pages into pdf form. i then either view them on my computer or load them into my ipad with goodreader and read as a handcrafted recipe book.

  2. i use evernote to keep track of recipes ( when i find a recipe i like, i 'clip it' using their 'web clipper' tool. it's basically a digital notebook/scrapbook. most recipes in your magazine are probably also on those magazine's website, so i could see that being an option for you.