I know, I know, you're thinking a journal for the kitchen? It seems
like the busier we get the more forgetful we are. And getting older has
something to do with it, right?
Whatever the reason, a kitchen journal can be a useful tool for keeping your home and family running smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
Did I mention journaling is fun? It is! Find a notebook to start your journal. You can decorate it yourself with stickers or cut-out pictures. Make it into something you look forward to writing in.
A kitchen journal is for making notes to yourself when you're meal planning, cooking, or when a creative thought pops into your head while you're doing something else.
One thing I use my kitchen journal for is recording my family's food likes and dislikes. I've been married for almost eight years and you would think by now I know what kind of cereal my husband likes. It's not so much the ones he likes, as the one he dislikes! Then when you add in our teenage daughter and my teenage step-daughter who doesn't live with us and comes and stays with us from time to time, I'm finding it almost impossible to keep track of who likes what. This is also useful for family members who visit and eat at your home. They will be impressed that you remember what they like/dislike and that you plan your meals around their tastes and/or food allergies.
Use your journal for recording new ideas for and keeping track of your kids' school lunch menus. Create a list of which fruits and vegetables are in season, and when prices are lowest so you can watch for good deals and prepare your meals around the seasons.
Kitchen journals are also great for when you're experimenting with a recipe. When you change the proportions of a recipe or make an emergency ingredient substitution, make a note of it in your journal. You can also use your journal to write down new recipes you want to try or make a note of where you saw a recipe you want to come back to later.
When you have guests or are entertaining friends or family make notes of things you tried that went well or things that didn't go well that you want to remember not to try again (like the salad that didn't set long enough in the refrigerator before you were ready to serve it).
In addition to keeping track of favorite foods, make a note of your family's favorite recipes. When your children grow up and go to college and/or get married, you can compile their favorite recipes into a keepsake cookbook or recipe card box for them to take with them as they start their own families.
Try incorporating a kitchen journal into your daily routine and see for yourself if it helps keep you more organized. Once you get started you'll discover many ideas of your own to record in your new journal.
Copyright 2003. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom.