Tag Archives: recipes

Paula Wolfert’s Notebook

Another nice example of a cook’s notebook, this time from the renowned cookbook author Paula Wolfert:


Read more at: Her Memory Fading, Paula Wolfert Fights Back With Food – The New York Times

Notebook Addict of the Week: Nancy Hanst

This week’s addict came to me via a tip from a reader (Thanks Raymond!), and I was delighted to see this story:
Nancy Hanst has kept a food diary since 1962. I love Nancy’s stacks of little spiral-bound notebooks, and her consistency in keeping them for over 50 years!


From Nancy’s article:

So, here I am in the early days of 2015, riffling the pages in a little spiral-bound notebook marked “2014 MENU & BUDGET,” the second most recent in a series of 53 such notebooks.

You see, I keep a foodie diary of what Jim and I eat, usually for supper, and have been doing it since 1962, a few months after we married. There’s a drawerful of colorful pads, missing only 2002, one of the winters we spent away from home (if found, please return), each starting (usually with sauerkraut) on Jan. 1 and ending (with something festive) on Dec. 31, with guests named and exceptional dishes starred and double-starred. In the back of every tablet is perhaps the most interesting data — the food budget for the year. When I remember to do so, there also are mentions of unusual snowfalls, rainfalls, rainbows, wildflowers spotted, temperatures, the arrival of phoebes, the departure of juncos etc. etc.; also canning dates and how many jars of what are put up; the record of trips and vacations; then major events such as hospital stays and the night the wild cherry tree fell and took the balcony with it.

When this lifelong project started, I’d never cooked day-by-day and had tried my hand at only a few party dishes. I’d lived at home, my mother was a fine cook and I had other things to do. On the other hand, Jim Hanst, whom I had just married, was a pretty darn good cook. So, from the start, there was both a mentor and a competitor in the kitchen.

I got interested in cooking right away and liked jotting down what I was learning. I also thought a diary would be a help in remembering what to eat at the same time next year. I didn’t know yet that I’d never be interested in repeating, that I’d always want to be trying something else. Different methods, strange dishes, new ingredients. Then there was the matter of cooking for guests. I wouldn’t want to repeat myself, would I? So, they got included in the report. And as long as I had a little, spiral-bound pad handy, it was a good place to make occasional notes about the weather or our travels or health. Keeping a food budget in back was a logical final step.

My dear, departed friend, Marilyn McDevitt Rubin, liked to look through and comment on these little books. Then, she’d say, “Nancy, when you offer your Christmas ornaments to the Smithsonian, you have to give them these notebooks, too.”

Read more (including some of her recipes) at Nancy Hanst has kept a food diary since 1962 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There are more notebook photos too!

Jamie Bissonnette’s Notebooks

These are some pretty well-used kitchen notebooks, belonging to Boston chef Jamie Bissonnette. They look like they’ve done some hard time in a hot kitchen!

Read more at The Kitchen Spy: A Look Inside Jamie Bissonnette’s South End Pad | Boston Magazine.

Moleskine Monday: An Address Book for Recipes

This is something I’ve thought about doing for a while: keeping all your favorite recipes easily indexed in an address book:

If you’ve been cooking for awhile, you probably have an arsenal of go-to recipes, dishes you can whip up from memory, but sometimes — especially when it comes to baking — you need to reference specific ingredient measurements. You can crack open your cookbooks or pull up your bookmarks online, but bartender and blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler uses a more portable tool for storing all his most-used recipes: a Moleskine address book.

via Smart Tip: Use an Address Book for Your Most-Referenced Recipes | The Kitchn.

How Chefs Keep Track of Their Recipes

I liked this article: How Professional Chefs Organize Recipes With Digital Devices – WSJ.com. Although the article focuses on digital devices, good old paper notebooks make an appearance:

Whether it’s a pile of food-splotched printouts or a cluttered digital desktop, many cooking enthusiasts are swimming in recipes, with no good system for storing them. Is there a better way to collect and store recipes so they can be easily retrieved later on?

Even the pros struggle. Most chefs rely on some combination of digital readers, apps and email—so much the better if the device fits in the back pocket of chef’s pants—plus traditional paper notebooks or index cards….
Some chefs refuse to give up old-school methods. For many chefs these involve a pocketsize notebook made by Moleskine, with plastic-coated covers and an elastic bookmark. Robb White, the dean at the Culinary Institute of Michigan, has filled more than 300 with recipes, each one with a sketch of the dish or a plating idea on the back. Notebooks are designated by entrée or appetizer type, and he stores them by year. His system helps him spot and keep track of food trends, he says. “I get made fun of a lot—all my chef buddies think I’m nuts,” Mr. White says.

300 pocket size Moleskines full of recipes and sketches… be still, my heart!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Elissa Altman

This week’s notebook addict is food writer Elissa Altman, who calls herself a “journal junkie” and shares these images at her blog Poor Man’s Feast:

Here’s some of her thoughts about her addiction:

I don’t know when it happened, exactly, or why, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been fanatical about notebooks. When I was a child, I could never decide between spiral and stitch-bound for school (spiral always seemed to be sort of non-committal), and when I was old enough for a loose leaf, my father gave me a small, leather three-ring binder that his sister had given him when he was not yet ten. I still have it—it sits on my desk, filled with the same lined paper from 1974, which has not yet yellowed. For years, I’ve wanted to use it as my kitchen notebook, but I just can’t bring myself to; on the one hand, I worry that regular use will harm it after almost eighty years, and on the other, I worry that forcing utilitarianism upon it will somehow render it less meaningful to the universe. Which is just plain nuts, when it gets right down to it.

And more thoughts specifically about notebooks and cooking:

When it comes to the subject of food, and cooking, though, I find almost nothing more enticing to read than kitchen notebooks because they place the reader in the kitchen of the cook, with the cook. Given the choice between M.F.K. Fisher’s narrative and her notebooks, I’d grab the latter first. My best college friend once sent me James and Kay Salter’s Life is Meals, and after years of perusing it, the book now falls open to the entry about their old kitchen notebook. Recently, my colleague and fellow blogger, Heidi Swanson, published a post about creating a new cookbook manuscript, and it was an amazing look at her creative process, involving lots of notebooks. And her photo of all those notebooks? Oh Heidi. So sultry.

I’m getting hungry just thinking about it… hungry for food, and for a look at some of those kitchen notebooks!

Read more at Poor Man’s Feast: Notebook Lust: Confessions of a Journal Junkie.