It’s happened to all of us: You put time, effort and a bit of your own creativity into preparing a home cooked meal and it turned out fantastic. When someone asks you for the recipe, later attempts to recreate that memorable dish just don’t quite measure up. That is why many chefs, accomplished cooks, and foodies keep a cooking journal.
Keeping a record of new kitchen creations or a journal outlining family favorites is important. Memories of food are both powerful and comforting. They can bring people together. If you put a new twist on a family favorite, documenting what you did will help you to recreating it again in the future. A cooking journal looks quite a lot like a research journal and keeping one is invaluable in helping you to keep track of what worked and what didn’t.
More than Just Recipes
When you create a cooking or recipe journal, you don’t have to limit yourself to simply listing ingredients, preparation instructions and oven temperatures. Many cooking journals are almost artistic journals, complete with drawings and photographs. Keep your cooking journal where you are going to use it most – in the kitchen. Any time you prepare food, keep track of what you’re doing.
Here are some ideas on what to put in your cooking journal to make it truly your own:
- Use index tabs, tape flags or post it notes to mark sections or make note of favorite dishes. These helps you quickly find what you need.
- Have the secret to creating the perfect pie crust? Put that in your journal.
- Paste clippings of dishes you want to try, photographs and other information in your cooking journal. If you make any alterations in temperature, omit or add ingredients, make note of these changes. If you move to a higher altitude, for example, both temperature and cooking time may need to be altered.
- Like a botanical journal, having the most information possible is ideal. Over time, ingredients in any given recipe can change and substitutions have to be made.What might have been available back in your grandmother’s day when she made a family favorite may be hard to get today. Other substitutions may need to be made because of health or dietary restrictions.For example, if you want to make a favorite family dessert, but are unable to eat sugar, you may choose to use Stevia or coconut palm sugar instead. When using these other ingredients, you will likely need to adjust the amount of the ingredient substitution in your recipe. You may also need to change other recipe elements such as preparation, temperature and cooking times involved.
- Making careful note of any substitutions or changes in your cooking journal will help you in making your favorite dishes turn out perfectly every time.
Cooking doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. If you have an idea for a culinary adventure, write it down in your leather journal. As you become more confident with cooking and recipes, your journal becomes a keepsake, something to be handed down through the generations.
Acknowledgement: Beautiful featured image is an Instagram photo by Photographer Anna Rastorgueva