Stop collecting and start curating!
Do you have a pile of cookbooks, cooking magazines and random recipes piled up on your desk or on the kitchen table? Is your social media feed filled with cooking videos and recipe links? Are you always asking for “the recipe” when attending dinner parties or pot-luck events? If you answered yes to any of these questions, how many of these recipes have you actually tried, and can you easily find what you are looking for in your “collection”??
Most of us fall into the recipe collector category. It is so easy to do with the constant stream of recipes appearing in front of us EVERYDAY. In the past, there were just cookbooks that for the most part were contained on a bookcase. Then came the magazines resulting in torn pages piled on the counter (or maybe in a file folder for the more organized out there). Now there are blogs, videos and 24/7 cooking channels. With the beautiful pictures and catchy videos, we are lured into thinking “I just have to try that”. THIS recipe will make my life easier, help me lose weight, lower my blood sugar, etc.
The reality is there are very few “new” recipes. Most are just variations of another and ALL (okay, 95%) are grounded in TECHNIQUE and not the actual words on a page.
Collecting and following recipes without cooking knowledge and experience leads to frustration and disappointment. These random, unorganized “collections” add to overwhelm as the pile is so daunting that you have no idea where to start or what to do. So, you just order in or go out.
There is a way out – STOP COLLECTING and START CURATING!! A collector is one who “collects” and in many cases, collecting can lead to hoarding (anyone relate?). A curator, on the other hand, is someone who organizes and maintains a set of items. They need to make sure the items fit into the space available, are properly displayed, are accessible and have a common thread.
Your #KeepItSimpleSept action for today is to transform from a collector to a curator.
Step one is to STOP adding to your recipe collection. Don’t buy any more cookbooks or magazines and stop saving every post and video that comes across your feed. (You can go back to SELECTIVELY saving, but for now, try to stop altogether.) This will stop the flow into the system.
Next, get a binder and clear plastic page sleeves. I suggest something colorful and welcoming. Now, go through your recipes and put the ones that you REALLY want, like or are your “old standbys” into the binder. You need to be picky because THIS IS THE ONLY SPACE YOU HAVE! Once it fills up, you can’t add anything until you take something out.
This is your new GO-TO when deciding what to make for dinner or what to put on your meal plan for the week. If you are thinking “but this will be so boring”, just give it a try. I think you will find that having a focus and preparing the same item several times will be more rewarding and will build your overall kitchen confidence. Instead of making something new, you will start to tweak what you already know and, in the process, create things you never thought you could. In addition, fewer choices mean less decision power is needed which reduces overall stress. We have a finite amount of energy to make decisions and when we spend it going through piles of recipes it is understandable why we burn out.
P. S. BONUS CHALLENGE – instead of choosing your next class by WHAT IS BEING MADE, base your selection on WHAT YOU WILL LEARN!! If you have never attended a hands-on, technique-based class, what is stopping you?? Check out the latest class schedule and register for something a little outside your comfort zone. You will be glad you did!!