Unless I am making something insanely simple, most of my kitchen creations start with a recipe. I have a decent collection of cookbooks, okay, probably more than the average. But I also source many of my recipes from a variety of other places.
Back in the day before the Internet, I would watch PBS cooking shows and do my best to jot down the recipe as it was playing out on the screen. Obviously this was before the Internet was used as a supplemental tool to a television show. Nowadays the Internet has become a great resource for anything I might fancy. Of course friends and family have shared their recipes with me over the years. My greatest resource, much to my husband's chagrin, is from my magazines. I say chagrin because I have difficulty reading through them in a timely fashion. But once I finish that magazine I'll rip out the recipe for testing and toss the magazine.
All of these pieces of paper sit in pile awaiting their audition in my kitchen. Once selected for preparation, the audition begins. As the casting director (my husband is co-casting director) we put the candidate through its paces. If the outcome is a success, the recipe will be cast for future meals at our table...a repeat performance!
Mis en place as explained by chef/writer Anthony Bourdain in his memoir, Kitchen Confidential is, "your station, in a state of readiness, is an extension of your nervous system. The universe is in order when your station is set up the way you like it, everything you need during the course of a shift is at the ready at arm's reach. If you let your mis en place run down, get dirty, get disorganized, you'll quickly find yourself spinning."
Some would advise I scan all of these little tiny pieces of paper into my computer and go digital. My kitchen just isn't large enough to accommodate even the smallest of laptops nor does scanning, naming or filing sound like an efficient solution. So my spring cleaning project .... organize the notebook into categories as you would find in any decent cookbook.
Knowing when its time to change something that is not working is the first step. In drawing that conclusion for myself, I realized with all of the other things in the world to worry about, finding a recipe should not be one of them. On to the second step...doing something about it!