The other night, my Mom was here for dinner and I was serving fish. “I have a great recipe for an easy to throw together sauce I just started making,” I said. I couldn’t find it. I looked in my personal recipe book. I couldn’t find the printout I had made from the Internet. I looked through a pile of recipes I had in one of my cupboards. Not there either. I still haven’t found it.

I was reading on The Wall Street Journal website that professional chefs have problems organizing their recipes, too. It made me feel a little better about my disorganization. Take a look at my personal cookbook above. There are papers falling out of it — and those are just the papers I’ve managed to save.

For a while I tried typing my recipes and saving them on the computer, but that became cumbersome. I like having a book I write in, and I have fantasies about my personal cookbook being an important family heirloom one day.

There is recipe organization software available. Top 10 Reviews seems to have a thorough review of 10 of the ones on the market. Separate software seems to daunting to me, though. I have a feeling it would go the way of the banking software I bought.

There are apps, too. Big Oven has an app that allows you to scan handwritten recipes, and it converts them to digital text. That could come in handy. It’s something I should try out. If I do, I’ll let you know how it works.

The Kitchn has a positive review of a new iPad app called The Recipe Box that I might look into if I get an iPad. Right now, I use my husband’s work iPad. Keeping my recipes on that wouldn’t do. He’d be someplace like Chicago with his iPad when I desperately needed a recipe.

So for now, I’m looking for non-digital methods of organizing my recipes.

Real Simple has 8 Foolproof Methods for organizing recipes. Some of them I can use. They had one idea to make index cards for recipes you like from cookbooks and magazines, and keeping them stored in a box. That gave me a different idea. Instead of copying down entire recipes from cookbooks in my collection, I can just put a page in my personal cookbook with the name of the recipe, a short description, the book it came from, and the page number. That’s a start.

How about your ideas? How do you organize your recipes — either by hand or a digital method? I’d love any and all ideas.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How do you organize your recipes?
Between cookbooks, magazines, printed recipes, friends’ recipes and recipes saved online, how is a home cook supposed to stay organized?