INDIANAPOLIS - One of my most prized possessions is my kitchen journal. I know my family will laugh at this and in no way be shocked, because, I have a thing about journals.
My kitchen journal is where I keep my secret recipes, my food thoughts and words of wisdom I glean through the years about cooking, baking and anything food-related.
Logically speaking, a kitchen journal is a genius idea. It's a written history of food flops and searing successes, and great for writing down tidbits you notice while making a recipe.
If your oven doesn't cook evenly, then jot down in the journal, "Turn pan for cooking evenly," or if your family likes less salt in something, add that in as a sidebar. If something needs an extra egg, you'll know next time by writing it down.
It's a handy go-to guide for when you're kitchen-bound, reminding you of your food fails as well as your epicurean epiphanies.
Although I'm quite the tech geek and usually have my iPad in the kitchen, I still write in my kitchen journal. I hope to one day pass down this journal to my daughter.
I decided to make kitchen journals for the mothers in my family. Simple and thoughtful, a hand-made journal is not only quite easy to make, but also has the potential to hold the history of your family through food.
My grandmother is someone who holds on to recipe cards, so I started by transcribing some of those into her journal to get her going. I also inscribed a personal note on the front inside cover to let her know how much she has influenced me throughout the years, as a cook and as a person.
Make your own kitchen journal:
What you'll need:
1 Old Book -- old Reader's Digest covers are a sweet choice
1 12x12 sheet cardstock or cardboard
Outside cover material – ( cloth, felt or paper, larger than the cover of the book spread open)
100 or so sheets of recycled printer paper, trimmed to match the size of the original pages of the book
2 wooden paint stir sticks or wooden rulers
2 large binder clips
Non-toxic glue (like Elmer's)
A sheet of newspaper
X-ACTO knife or box cutter
Ruler (for straight edge and measuring)
1- Use the X-ACTO knife to remove both the front and back cover from the book. You can use the ruler as a guide to ensure you get a nice, even cut.
2. You'll want to measure the height of the book cover, and then mark that measurement on your stir sticks or wooden rulers. Score the sticks and gently break along the line.
3. Make sure to gently tap the trimmed paper on a flat surface to make sure the paper is even. Place between the two wooden sticks and clamp with the binder clips. This creates the spine of the book.
4. Grab your glue and liberally coat the entire spine. Let it dry for approximately 30 minutes, and then apply a second coat. Let that one dry for another 30 minutes.
While the glues dries, you've got plenty of time to start making the binding and the lining, if you so choose to do this [*see measurements below].
*Lining & cover Measurements:
• Leave at least ¼ inch to fold over to the inside of the cover all the way around the book. Make cuts where the spine is to allow for flexibility.
• Measure cardboard or craft paper to be about ¼ inch larger than the folded over outside cover ensuring the edge is covered. You'll lightly glue the outside cover on and then place the inside cardboard plates on after those have been neatly glued. I've also found that fabric or felt works as a great cover.
6. It is time to check your paper stack that has been drying. Gently remove the clips and wooden sticks and fill the space between the book covers on the inside (where the old pages used to be) with glue.
7. Slowly press your new pages into the glue, wiping away any that squeezes out of the spine.
8. Close the cover and let dry overnight.
Your new kitchen journals should be ready to gift wrap within 24 hours.
For more on food and for more recipes check out twinklevanwinkle.com.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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