Confessions of a Cookbook Hoarder (and an Evernote tutorial!)

Published by Recently Empty Nested

Used Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Nearly 30 years ago, my mother gave me a Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook as a bridal shower gift. You know the one — the red checkerboard cover, big navy blue lettering on the front, and enough pictures to keep me salivating for ages. I LOVED that cookbook, full of mouthwatering photos, helpful hints, and the conversion chart and substitutions list inside the back cover (the highlight for a brand new bride who could have burned water!). To me that book was more than a collection of recipes; it represented the kind of wife and mother I aspired to be! As I flipped through its pages, I could almost see my future family gathered around the kitchen table enjoying each other and the amazing food I would serve there. All these years later some of my favorite recipes come from that book!

Thus began my love affair with cookbooks. Whether I found it through an ad in a magazine (a guilty pleasure for another time) or on the clearance shelf at Barnes and Noble, it didn’t matter as long as it had pictures! The only criterion for my cookbooks: lots of full-color pictures!

Fast-forward about 25 years. Our family has moved around…a lot. And my 20+ years of cookbook collecting has made my kitchen library very large and heavy. Every time my husband lifts box after box of them onto a moving truck I get the look that says “Really? You need how many cookbooks?” (He loves me, so he puts up with it of course!) But, lately even I am beginning to weary of SO. MANY. COOKBOOKS.

Our children grown & gone, we recently moved into what should be our final home — the one where we’ll retire and entertain grandchildren. There is no room for all of my culinary lit, so I‘ve been forced to pick my favorites and leave the rest boxed up. (It should be a crime!) I kept out only the ones I actually use…Wait, how did this simple observation elude me so long? Looking through them I realized I actually only used a few of the books, and none of them as much as my red checkered one! Even in the “used” ones, I only had one or two recipes I’d prepare from the whole book!

And since I’m confessing, I admit that I haven’t even cracked open a cookbook since discovering Pinterest! That is, except for my beloved sugar cookie recipe. Umm…LIGHTBULB! Pinterest is the cookbook of the digital age. There must be a way for me to have all my wonderful cookbooks without them taking so much space!

Now, my family will be the first to tell you that I am somewhat (ok, very) technologically challenged. In fact, I fight it! So even I was surprised when I came up with a plan to get all of my favorite recipes out of my cookbooks and into the cloud!

I chose a program called Evernote. I have the app on my phone but can access it on my home computer, any tablet or other hand-held device. My recipes are literally a tap and a swipe away! Here’s how it works:

  1. I open up my cookbook to a favorite recipe.
  2. Using my iPhone, I snap a picture of the recipe and the recipe picture (can’t forget the best part!).
  3. Save them together in a “note” on Evernote.

Yep, that’s it! Just like boards on Pinterest, you can have notes labeled anything you’d like. My notes include Recipes Appetizers, Recipes Beverages, Recipes Desserts and Recipes Entrees. I do it all on my phone! I can make notes about which cookbook each recipe is in, how I changed up the recipe one time, or save the conversions for doubling my sugar cookie recipe. It’s easy, awesome and so convenient! If I get to the grocery store and forget what I need, I simply pull up the recipe on my phone. Fellow Recipe Junkies and Cookbook Hoarders, trust me — you will love this! I have created a simple to follow Evernote tutorial to help you get started.

Oh, and one last confession: I will be asking my hubby to raise the ceiling in my kitchen so there is space above the cabinets to put all of my cookbooks! You think I’m joking, but I still need them around me; I just no longer need to reach them!

(P.S. I have not received any compensation from Evernote, nor have any connection with them. I just really love the app and thought I’d share what worked for me with all of you!)