Choosing a recipe organizer is primarily a matter of considering how you are comfortable working with recipes, whether you need technology that can help you select foods to prepare, and whether you want an easy way to share recipes with others. While computer-based recipe organizers can offer some great advantages over more conventional recipe card boxes and albums, they may not be the easiest to use in the kitchen. On the other hand, old-fashioned recipe organizers lack many of the features that recipe-organizing software and websites provide.
Keeping track of your recipes using an online service or computer software can be a significant time saver for busy cooks. Depending on the software package or website features, you may be able to scan in printed recipes, import recipes from other sites, and e-mail and search for recipes quickly and efficiently using its search function. In some cases, your online or software-based recipe organizer may even have a feature that allows you to type in the ingredients that you have handy in order to receive a list of recipes that include these ingredients. This can be extremely helpful if you do not have time to run out to the store but still need to cook a dish or a meal.
On the other hand, many people find it awkward to use a computer-based recipe organizer in the kitchen. While it is possible to keep a laptop on a kitchen counter to display the recipe, many people would rather not risk damage to the computer through an accidental kitchen spill. This may require the user of a computer-based recipe organizer to print out a hard copy of recipes before cooking them. If this works for you, a computer recipe organizer may be your best choice. If it is cumbersome to print out recipes before cooking them, you may wish to consider a non-computer-based recipe organizer.
Many people swear by boxes that contain recipe cards, which may be indexed alphabetically or by type of recipe. The advantage to this system is that your recipes are already available for your use. Another option is an album-style recipe organizer with plastic sleeves into which you can tuck recipe cards as well as other printed recipes. The plastic sleeves can protect the recipes as you cook from drips and spills. Either system depends largely on your ability to keep the recipes organized, as the organization is not automated as it is with the computer-based recipe organizer. You will also have to either manually copy, scan, or use a document copy machine in order to share your recipes with others.