Growing up, I loved wedding receptions. I liked the butter mints, and wedding cake, and mixed nuts in little glass dishes with silver spoons for serving, but most of all, I loved shopping for a wedding present with my Mom. My mother is a woman of systems. She taught me to recognize how systems and routines make the everyday things more simple, how they speed up the daily decision making. She extends it to gifts, and now I do the same thing.
Weddings and other child-launching events with Mom called for some variation on the following:
- a set of napkins with interesting napkin rings (that was the part I liked to choose!)
- a set of pie plates (Pyrex!) with two quarts of her home-canned apple pie filling, and her crust recipe
- a selection of food storage starters, and a few pantry-friendly recipes
Sensing a trend?
In my adult life, I look at similar things, and tend to settle on combinations of interesting cooking utensils (such as these measuring spoons, which quantify smidge, pinch, and tad, very helpful when working with heritage recipes!), pie plates, casserole dishes, bar mop towels, home-sewn hot pads, chef’s aprons… and a small selection of our family’s favorite recipes.
I’m not terribly fond of hand-copying recipes a zillion times, however. And, though I can find out what size cards might be most helpful from the recipient’s family (or the recipient themselves, if I’m sly), I don’t stock anything beyond my own 4×6″ favorites in my box at home.
Enter: the lovely people of the internet. Here are a few spots you can create printable recipe cards with your own recipes, for free, and look like you’re 14 kinds of food-sexy without any more effort than cutting neatly on the lines:
Alenka’s Printable Recipe Card Maker gives you a choice of two sizes and several card styles, for free. If you want lots and lots of sexy, I’d suggest signing up for the subscription service, which opens the options further. To see the card style, just right click the thumbnail and open it in another window. The templates print just fine from Firefox, too, though the site recommends Exporer; when you get to the print preview page, go to File>Print Preview and adjust your printing margins if needed before printing them on cardstock.
Free Printables Online has some interesting templates for those who don’t mind handwriting. This elliptical style is very much a Food Nifty, even if you do have to write things in yourself. There are some cool vertical format cards there as well.
Hoover Web Design has some cute classic styles in 3×5 format.
If you know the recipient does not yet own a recipe box or binder, and you’re feeling particularly nifty (or, if you want to upgrade your own at-home niftiness), consider making a set of custom dividers! With scrapbook supplies and a little ingenuity, you can make a very pretty set (seriously, go look at the ingenuity link… it has me wanting to re-do my recipe box yet again.)
If you want something a little more streamlined, get stick-on tabs from the office supply section, and cut dividers from cardstock, just slightly larger than your favorite recipe card size.
I’ve not used this myself, but it looks fairly nifty! It’s a custom recipe binder that stands up during use, with page protectors sized to fit recipe cards.
Don’t think you have to spend a lot of money to share a meaningful, rather-quite-nifty gift with someone you care about!