How to really use a new cookbook

Jen Klein

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How many times has the happened in years past: you receive a great new cookbook for the holidays, intend to make it a regular part of your cooking, but is ends up languishing on the shelf. Maybe you end up using one recipe, but not enough to justify it taking up room on your shelf. Within a couple Decembers, the book has gone to the book swap shed at the town dump.

Woman with cookbook

So, how do you prevent that from happening in the future? How to you integrate a new cookbook into your repertoire so you actually use it? With a few simple strategies, that new cookbook will be an integral part of your kitchen. You may even have some new family favorite recipes in regular circulation.

1Treat it like a novel

Instead of putting your new cookbook on the designated cookbook shelf, treat it like a novel. Where do you sit and read books? Where's your "to read" stack? Put it there.

Now, when you sit down to that reading spot, you'll have the cookbook to look though. Treat it like a novel and really look at every page. Don't just go for the dessert or soup section - look at all of it. Leave the cookbook in your book pile for a while to remind yourself to look at it and use it.

2Get out your sticky notes

As you find interesting looking recipes, use a sticky note to mark it. Go on impulse here. If a recipe looks remotely interesting, mark it. No second guessing! Sure, you may have a book full of sticky notes, but, you'll have plenty to go back to and look at again for when you….

3Identify ten recipes

Choose ten recipes to make in the next month. Write them down on  a piece of paper and post it on the ‘fridge or wherever you post the family meal list. When you are making meal plans and grocery shopping lists, refer to this recipe list and start including them in your meal planning.

4Identify ten more

Next, identify ten more recipes that you'd like to try -- and try to choose some things outside of your normal comfort zone. Post this list as well, also to remind you to use this new cookbook. Try for new ingredients or techniques that will really expand your kitchen range.

5Put notes in your calendar

Put notes in your planning calendar for months from now to remind you to look back at this new cookbook. Make a note for mid-July to look at those ten recipe lists and reconsider the lists with what is in season now.

With everything that goes on at the holidays, it can be easy to set aside a new cookbook. Don't let that happen this year! Make use of that new cookbook! Let it become a family favorite!

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