Brownies, Anyone?

I am definitely more oriented towards paper and pen than to electronics. Which is why it was rather disturbing when twice recently I turned to an Internet search engine for help. Faced with a new cut of meat and an unfamiliar vegetable, a quick search brought up enough information and recipes to start cooking with confidence.

I am pretty sure the necessary data is somewhere on my shelves of cookbooks or in the bulging accordion files that I have filled with kitchen tips and recipes. But the computer was ever so much quicker. Therein lies the problem.

Since I am in the middle of a ‘de-cluttering frenzy,’ my supper related activity precipitated some soul searching.  In my zeal to give away or throw out superfluous items I have been asking myself, “If we were to move, would we pay money to store or ship this?” That standard of judgment is yielding boxes filled with books and bags stuffed with clothing.  But I never considered that technology just may have made recipe clipping obsolete.

You see, I have three accordion folders crammed with recipes in categories ranging from your basic “chicken” to “cooking with kids.” Most of them will probably never make it to my kitchen. I collect them even as I am aware of the statistical improbability that they will ever be used. For example, my husband doesn’t like brownies and my kids think Duncan Hines ones are great. Why then, do I have dozens of brownie recipes? I have no idea. I am not likely to ever try many, or even one, of them.

Then there are recipes that compete with frequently used favorites. I have two meatball recipes that fit my stringent cooking requirements: everyone likes them and they are easy to make. So, why do I keep cutting out more meatball recipes? Beats me. But I do.

Hardly a week goes by without some recipe catching my attention.  I tear recipes out of magazines, clip them from newspapers and even print them from my computer.  I clip at a faster rate than I file them. Filing them is, of course, quicker than actually trying them. If I can pull up dozens of recipes with one tap of a finger, what is the purpose of all this activity?

I don’t know. I do know that I’m not ready to answer that question yet. Right now, I can toss my college edition of Seneca or the skirt that has yet to come back into style into the Goodwill bag with aplomb. Perhaps one day my recipes might find themselves just as casually discarded in the recycling bin. For now, I will keep scissors at the ready and choose not to resist the siren call of seductive words like sugar, chocolate and ‘freezes well’.





7 thoughts on “Brownies, Anyone?”

  1. This made me smile, because I, too, am in the process of decluttering. I also have been using the psychology of if we were to move what would I get rid of. It was so funny to have you doing the same. It does help to speed up the process. And I also am a compulsive recipe clipper, just as unorganized in filing them. I just spent a rainy afternoon here in Oregon clipping, clipping, clipping. Every so often after frantically looking for a recipe I know I clipped to make for a dinner party, I tell myself I will go through them all. I will pick 3 or 4 recipes to try each month, and toss the ones that are duds. Well, that never happens. Maybe this year. Hmmmm, or not. It is fun reading with you.

  2. Thank you for keeping true to who we should be. I do the same, cut receipes out and don’t always use them. I made cookies last night to give to the lift operators at Bear Mountain Ski Resort in California. Most of these employees are younger adults that don’t seem to have mature goals and still need some nuturing, which some probably didn’t get at home. This is just one of the ways I reach out to these people I come in contact with almost everyday during ski season. They appreciate it and they also know they have someone they can come to when they need advise or help. I just wish more people worked with their hands as they were designed to do rather than letting someone else do it and that other person experiences all the joys of what they created, yet we think we do. There’s nothing more rewarding than creating or doing something yourself with the mind and hands God gave us.

  3. Susan, perhaps recipes are conduits to connections.
    When you come across a recipe your family would like, you gain a means to please them, an opportunity to connect with them.
    Also, brownie recipes recall your beautiful kids in the kitchen and the sweet memories of being together there and at your family meals. Even if you love your favorite meatballs, a new recipe offers a different way to provide pleasure to your family and guests.
    One of many things I enjoy about your writing, Susan, is your highlighting so many universal experiences and your superb ability to express their feelings and references for us in your blog. Thank you. And keep clipping.

  4. How funny to read this today. I, too, am in the process of decluttering and last night sat in a room looking at a mountain of papers. Recipes. Cooking tips. Equipment reviews. Like you, I have my favorite meatball recipe too, yet I continue to clip, clip, clip! I probably will try less than 1% of the recipes I clipped, but I have them just in case. I’m staying tuned to see if you come up with a solution. Until then I will keep the scissors handy.

  5. I justify reading recipes that I will never use in the same way as reading project instructions for sewing/embroidery/carpentry projects I will never make: it’s about the educational value of the recipe rather than the specific recipe. I know what is possible to make, what techniques are currently popular, and what search terms to use on the internet if I ever want to find something similar 😉

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