The Kitchen – the heart & hub of our homes. It feeds us deeply nourishing meals, prepares us for unexpected circumstances & repairs us with homemade herbal medicines. It excites with untold adventures as we learn new skills & practice using new tools. But the kitchen log book is the secret weapon to living more self-sufficiently from your kitchen. A simple yet powerful tool that helps you gain kitchen mastery status really quick.
What is a Kitchen Log Book?
It’s your recipe for success. This book is the central place for organizing easy from scratch recipes and strategizing meals or jotting down cooking notes & recipe modifications. Basic kitchen inventory trackers are wonderful for this & should certainly be included.
The logbook is also thorough enough to help you replicate any process, recipe or technique again and again. Because after all, practice makes progress. And repeatedly using different skills will boost your kitchen confidence. That means as you learn other skills like herbal remedies or making your own simple skincare products, you’ll include those notes too.
You might also use it as a customized dietary logbook. Keeping record of foods you make or eat and when. Over time, this data helps you make more conscious decisions, smarter food purchases and implement stronger practices. You may even start to see patterns in your eating that can help you pinpoint changes in your body, especially as the seasons (& food habits) change.
If you’re capable of growing your own food to be more self-reliant, the data about what & how much you eat will support the planning process for future seasons.
So as you plan for your next at home food preservation season, you’ll know where you scored that really great deal on produce. Or you can reference the exact number of Mylar bags you added to your long-term storage pantry after dehydrating peach slices.
Knowing how to use a kitchen log book is so essential because of its versatility. You could also use it as a:
- Skill development journal – track your kitchen skills. Document new techniques you learn, cooking tips, and challenges you overcome. Set goals for skill improvement and maybe stash a few pictures to celebrate achievements along the way.
- Special occasion planner or seasonal cooking log – note recipes, decoration ideas and timelines. Keep a record of successful dishes or ideas too!
As jammed packed with benefits as the self-sufficient kitchen log book is, it’s incredibly easy to put together.
And the best part about it is that it’s evergreen. That means as you grow, it grows.
How does a kitchen log book help me succeed?
Organization enables Efficiency which produces Confidence that leads to greater Independence.
Here’s a more practical look at how you’ll be winning though.
Recipe Organization & Accessibility
How many hours have you spent scrolling Pinterest or Google looking for recipes? Only to discover 6 months later that you can’t actually find anything good to make. This was me forever and a day.
The self-sufficient kitchen log book consolidates your favorite recipes, making them easily accessible whenever you need them. You can add tabs or sections to really categorize them for quick reference (think: breakfast, entrees, paleo, or meat-based). And that level of organization is what makes customizing your own kitchen journal fun.
But here’s a tip! Only add recipes to your kitchen binder once they’ve been vetted. Because it’s way easier to build out a kitchen journal than it is to declutter one. So, after making a dish a handful of times, if it’s passed your family’s sniff test, add it to the book!
Simplify Meal Planning & Shopping
Having a kitchen logbook will help streamline your shopping (or garden planting) too! That’s because this handy little book should be where you keep track of what you have on hand. And that will provide you with a clear list of what you need.
Tracking your kitchen inventory is the best way to prevent overbuying & reduce food waste. That means more money stays in your pocket!
AND you’ll be including some great sustainable kitchen practices without even having to think about it. Not only will the food itself be more visible, the expiry dates or best-by dates will be too.
At this point, your favorite recipes are compiled & you know what you have or need. The next step is to put those puzzle pieces together in fun combinations.
Let’s call this meal planning. And it can be really simple whether you write one out for a week or a month. All thanks to your kitchen logbook!
Increased Kitchen Confidence
Documenting your kitchen habits and activities may be new to you.
But every little bit counts. Period.
Just keep tracking small habits, adding another when you’re ready.
Repetition will turn into progress.
As you repeat the process, you will gain confidence to move freely around your kitchen.
You should record details like minor changes you make in a recipe. But also note what you learn from them. Maybe that last teaspoon of pepper really does make a dish pop.
The purpose of using a kitchen logbook to track your movements is to study your the little things that make you you. Get in tune with habits that maybe you don’t even realize you have.
When you know better, you can do & be better.
And tracking your purchases could reveal that you buy potatoes every other week, but they go on sale every 3rd week. Knowing that pattern is leverage to buy enough to last until that 3rd week, especially since potatoes store so well.
This is how you use your kitchen logbook to curate very valuable kitchen expertise to draw upon later.
Tracking your progress gives you a greater sense of accomplishment. That progress that you’ll see is a tangible marker that you’ve passed a milestone. And it’ll motivate you to keep going.
Get Started: Tips for Creating and Using Your Kitchen Log Book
Keep it prominent. Leave it on your countertop. Store it on the side of your refrigerator or inside a cabinet door with a magazine holder like this. Anywhere that you will see it & use it. Because trust me, you will NOT remember everything. I used to work in the biotech industry & QA (quality assurance) loved to say “If it wasn’t documented, it didn’t happen,” meaning you have no proof if you have no documentation. WRITE IT DOWN.
Choose the right logbook style. You might opt for physical or digital. I prefer a physical journal because I enjoy writing & the handwritten notes will be a keepsake to pass down within my family. If you decide to work from a physical kitchen logbook, be sure the size and format fits your personal preferences & the activity of your kitchen. If you keep lots of ferments on your counters, sheet protectors may be a life-saver for the bubbly overflows that tend to happen. #AskMeHowIKnow
Be consistent. This system is only going to be as helpful as you allow it & that means updating it routinely. Keep the information relevant by establishing a routine. To break the ice, maybe focus on consistently documenting your basic cooking skills journey. You’ll reduce the overwhelm by starting small. Log your grocery receipts if you do nothing else. This will help you track the frequency & amount of foods you buy. Plus, you’ll have the advantage of being able to scout true sales in the future based on your data. The goal is to turn every kitchen activity into a piece of documentation you can reference later down the line.
Which kitchen log book should I choose?
The format of your kitchen log book is the foundation. Choose wisely.
Physical Kitchen Binder
- Tactile: Writing by hand is a tangible experience that can be satisfying but also reinforce what’s learned.
- No Tech: No need for electricity or internet access makes this choice reliable, as long as it’s not misplaced!
- Personalized: You can make this a unique reflection of your style and personality.
- Searchability: Finding specific information can be slower, especially when unorganized or outdated.
- Space Constraints: This could mean textbook-like proportions if you have an extensive recipe collection or prefer highly detailed notes.
- Risk of Damage: Spills or accidents in the kitchen can result in the loss of valuable information if not protected carefully.
Digital Kitchen Logbook
- Searchability: Search functions make it quick and easy to find specific recipes or information.
- Storage Capacity: Keep an extensive number of recipes, notes & photos without running out of physical space.
- Accessibility: Pull up your logbook from multiple devices with ease.
- Tech dependent: Requires electricity and/or internet access. And you can lose access (or content!) if your device malfunctions.
- Intangible: This isn’t a traditional journal if that’s something you’re keen on & won’t be a family heirloom someday.
- Learning Curve: If you’re less familiar with technology, there might be a steep learning curve as you adapt to a digital system & its features.
Hybrid Kitchen Journal
- Flexibility: Enjoy the tactile experience of physical journaling while leverage the convenience of digital organization & searchability.
- Customize & Personalize: Use covers, stickers & experiment with different layouts to infuse your unique style here.
- Potential Duplication: Maintaining both physical & digital components can easily lead to double work & wasted time.
- Learning Curve: Navigating the physical and digital aspects might be frustrating if the two components aren’t integrated seamlessly.
- Device Dependency: As with the digital kitchen logbook, you may temporarily lose access or content due to device malfunction or electric or internet loss.
Also consider the style of your kitchen log book.
You’ll need to include personal preferences, lifestyle, and the dynamics of your cooking routine in your choice. This will help you make an informed choice you’ll be comfortable with.
Physical Kitchen Logbook:
- Paper Quality & Format: Choose durable, high-quality paper that can withstand kitchen environments. And opt for a format that suits your needs, whether that’s a blank notebook for freeform entries or something more structured with designated sections.
- Size and Portability: If you have limited counter space, look for a compact kitchen logbook that can be on the go when you need it!
- Binding and Durability: Considering how frequently you’ll be flipping through pages, you need something sturdy. Spiral-bound logbooks often lay flat, making them convenient for use in the kitchen.
Digital Kitchen Logbook:
- User-Friendly Interface: The easier it is to navigate, the more likely you’ll use it consistently.
- Compatibility: Make sure it’s compatible with your devices so you can synchronize it across multiple devices for greater use.
- Search Functionality: It needs to have an efficient search functionality – this is invaluable & should be non-negotiable. If you can’t find the recipes or notes you need, you’ll spend more time and be unnecessarily frustrated.
- Security & Backup Options: Consider the security features and backup options to make sure your data is protected. Plus, you need a way to recover it in case of technical issues.
Hybrid Kitchen Logbook Approach:
- Combining Physical and Digital: Use a physical logbook for things like taking quick notes. But use a digital platform for its comprehensive organization of your recipes, receipts and the ability to upload appliance warranties or other important documents.
- Integration with Other Tools: If you use other kitchen tools or gadgets, check if the logbook integrates with them. For example, some digital logbooks can sync with smart kitchen appliances.
Incorporating a kitchen logbook into your routine is one of those lifestyle shifts that packs a punch. As you move toward a more organized & efficient kitchen with the confident experience to match, you’ll become more self-sufficient. You’ve got this, lovely.
I’d love to see your kitchen logbook system, so share it with me on Instagram by using #MySelfSufficientKitchen!
If you want to learn more about building a traditional, self-sufficient kitchen, I’ve written some pointers on that. You might also check out this book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking. It walks through the basics of cooking and is great for beginners to learn the why & how behind cooking food. I also recommend reading The Make-Ahead Cook: 8 Smart Strategies for Dinner Tonight by America’s Test Kitchen.
🌱 Start Small. Start Now. Start where you are with what you have. The rest will follow.🌱
Is being more self-sufficient is something you’re interested in but you’re not sure where to begin?
Then check out the Self-Sufficient Living Roadmap!
I designed it to help you eliminate some of the overwhelm of starting an incredibly massive journey.