Finding New Recipes, Without Paying for New Cookbooks
I have a hard time resisting the urge of buying every cookbook that comes along — I thoroughly enjoy trying out new recipes, especially cookies. I came to the conclusion, though, if I bought every cookbook that caught my eye, I wouldn’t have any money left over for ingredients.
Instead, I try to find recipes for free — another exercise in creating a frugal kitchen. The resources below are a great starting point for putting together a personal recipe book, but I’d love to hear if you’ve got any resources!
Friends and Family: I have a copy of my great-grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I’ve managed to convince many relatives to send me copies of their recipes. I’ve even managed to talk my friends into sharing recipes with me, although I often have to put something on the table though — in my case, I’ve been able to trade my godmother’s Swiss Christmas cookie recipes for just about anything.
The Library: I live near one of the smaller branches of the local public library. Just because the branch is small, though, doesn’t mean that they’re not well-stocked. Judging by catalog searches, they probably have 300 cookbooks at any time, and access to many more, through the rest of the library district, and through inter-library loan. If I dedicated some time to the matter, I don’t doubt that I could get a copy of any cookbook through my local library.
Blogs: I have a personal favorite when it comes to blogs. Baking Bites always has amazing recipes, including a recipe for DIY Thin Mints for those of us unwilling to be beholden to Girl Scouts for our cookie fixes. But there are thousands of quality cooking blogs — it’s just a matter of searching for a blogger with similar cooking interests to your own.
The Rest of the Web: Every cooking show seems to have its own website, complete with recipes. Family tree enthusiasts collect recipes that are part of their family traditions. Cultural groups post recipes for anyone’s use. There are amazing cooking resources online, almost all of which are free. My personal recommendations:
- RecipeTrove (especially if you’re trying to recreate a restaurant’s ‘secret’ recipe)
- Epicurious (a great general database of recipes with holiday and special event menus perfect for adapting)
Now that you have a huge list of recipes, it’s just a matter of deciding which you plan to try out, and organizing all of your recipes. I use a three ring binder, personally. My mother uses a journal that she copies recipes into, though, and my grandmother uses a recipe card box. I think every cook has his or her own system to swear by!