Magazine Mash-Up

Okay, everyone, show of hands: how many subscribe to cooking magazines? Bonus round: how many times have you actually used a recipe from said magazines?

Uh huh, exactly what I thought. (Don’t worry, I’m just as guilty as the rest of you.)

It doesn’t seem to matter what I’m interested in, a “collector” streak always seems to run right through it. In my heyday of culinary collection, I probably subscribed to half a dozen food-related magazines (at least!) and, while I did read them, and store them, and flip through them occasionally, I probably only used half a dozen recipes total (mostly from my favorite: Cooking Light).

Since that time I’ve moved house more than once and in one of the pre-move purges I forced myself to toss the years of back issues that took up so much space. Then I went several years without buying or subscribing to a single cooking magazine–I know, however did I manage?–until last Fall, when Food Network announced they were coming out with their own magazine. Then I found Imbibe… here we go again!

So now I’m back to subscribing, but still trying to keep things under control. Also, I’d like to actually _use_ the magazines’ content more than I have in the past. It doesn’t help that I also use a menu service (Saving Dinner’s Menu Mailer) which includes dinner recipes, suggested side dishes and an itemized, categorized shopping list for all of it each week–I seldom actually plan a meal these days. Which is why I was so proud of myself a week or so ago when corn on the cob was the suggested side dish one night. I remembered seeing a mention of “Charm City Corn” in the last Food Network Magazine, dug out the issue that was hiding on the bedside table, and was able to dress up the side dish a little bit.

Instead of relying just on my own memory, I’m trying to come up with ways to making using the information in those pages easier. Here are what I’ve come up with so far:

  • A tear-file of possible favorites, kept in an accordion file or binder, organized by primary ingredient.
  • Recipe cards kept in a file, maybe hand-copying the recipes will make their existence stick in my memory better.
  • Scanning interesting recipes into my computer with a spreadsheet to cross reference ingredients (that might be a lot of work, though).
  • Sticky flags (color-coordinated?) in the magazine itself.
  • Planning a magazine-based dinner once a week in addition to the planned menus I get from Saving Dinner.

Okay, those last two seem the easiest to implement. The others… might be better for long-term storage and make me wish for one of those counter-top recipe gadgets.