Scribble, cut out, clip – the art of handcrafting recipe books

Some more delicious home-made recipe books

Taking a look at how people other than my best friend (see here) keep their recipes



“At some point I made the decision not to keep my recipes in a book or a folder, but to keep a box with reference cards. I’ve been using the system since the early nineties and it still works for me. These are a few of the most used recipes. From the selection you can probably deduce that I cook because I must, but I bake because I like to. And that I have a sweet tooth. I have recipes in English, Afrikaans and German.”



CATHERINE: “When I graduated university in Sweden, I had just finished two years studying in Spain, and started this book when I moved back home, while looking for my first job. I knew I would eventually move out and wanted to be able to cook something other than pasta or toast! Also, I really started enjoying food late, in my early 20s, especially after my years in Spain.My mother also has a cookbook with cut-out recipes that she got from magazines and from my father’s mother.

“When I lived in France and Swizerland after university, I cooked some easy recipes, mainly pasta-dishes, but most stores sold the baked goods I liked, and I would go out to eat the other more elaborate foods I liked, so I never had to make it from scratch. When I moved to South Africa, the food here was so different to what I use to eat back home that I started cooking and baking myself. Also, those familiar recipes reminded me of home. The recipes are in Swedish, French, English and Spanish. Most of the ones that were handwritten are those I wrote down from my mother’s recipe book and are in Swedish.”



“I have my mom’s recipe book from her home economics class from the 1950s. Love it and use it to bake. I also have my late dad’s favourite recipe book, in which he ticked off recipes every time he used them. To see his handwriting always pulls at my heart. Both are very, very dear to me.”


larascraps“My recipes are written on scraps of paper stored in my well-used Annabel Karmel cookery book. I only learnt to cook after I had childen and AK has brilliant kids’ recipes. These are recipes I use almost daily, borrowed and adapted from friends/family/the internet/magazines/books/wherever and made my own because they passed the all-important family taste test. If I make something and everyone likes it I write it down and add it to the collection. The book I store them in is quite literally busting at the seams.


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About KarinSchimke



  • Jean Mayes on February 7, 2014 at 10:36 am said:

    Hello, Karin –

    Some of the books you review for the Cape Times are of great interest to me. However, they are often privately published and not available through the normal sources. Can you please help with contact info if I give you the names of the books?
    Best regards,


    • KarinSchimke on February 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm said:

      Hi Jean

      Thanks for writing. Yes, I understand the problem. I try mostly to avoid reviewing books that are hard to find, but it’s not always possible. Please feel free to send me a list of the books you are struggling to find. I’m not sure I’d be able to help in every case, but I can try. Often the best way is to do a search for the author’s name and the book title. They quite often have their own websites on which they explain how to go about getting the book. I’m always glad to hear the reviews are finding their mark. We do try to cater to as many tastes as possible.