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Recipe Collector Notebooks Durable And Practical

Reviewing: Century Products Recipe Collector  |  Rating:
Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Kitchen & Bath Expertise:
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The Recipe Collector Notebooks from Century Photo Products are great! I’ve been using them for over 20 years. They have always worked well, and the company has upgraded the quality of the plastic a couple of times over that span.

The books are 6" x 9" by about 1.5" thick. They hold 40 vinyl recipe cover sheets. These come in two styles. One style holds 3x5 cards- so 4 cards will fit on a page (both sides are clear, so back to back). The other style holds 5x8 cards, again 2 back to back. Or, if your recipe uses both sides of a card you can just put the one card in a pocket. You can order either style with one book, but not some of each. You can also order extra pages in sets of 40. See picture.

The books currently come in four colors: red, yellow, white and purple. They also come with adhesive tabs to separate sections of the notebook. These can be fastened on any of the vinyl protector sheets.

The books have a “hinged” midline, so that the book will stand nearly upright on your countertop for easy reading while you are cooking. See picture.

The sets come with blank recipe cards in whichever size pockets you order. These are plain, with the Recipe Collector logo. Nothing fancy, but handy to have. I’ve never used them all up. I usually just cut recipes out of magazines, etc.

These quickly came to be my recipe storage of choice, and I’m very pleased that the company continues to make the product. (Finding something that works, that you like, and to then have it discontinued just when you’ve switched to that system is maddening!)

How the product has performed:

The notebooks are very durable. I now own 6 of them (one just recently purchased), and only one of these has broken down. In this instance the plastic backbone of the book started to tear away from the strap that keeps the book from opening too far on its hinge (like the strap holding the support on a stand-up picture frame). Repeated efforts to tape this have failed, so I have to say that once this tears, you can only lay the book flat like any other recipe book. However, I see that on my new notebook the strap and connection to the notebook itself appear to be stronger than on the older, broken one.

The notebooks are easy to keep clean. Because all your paper cards or cut-out recipes are in vinyl you can wash any splatters off without any damage to the card.

The vinyl pages are durable. In 20 some years only a couple of the vinyl pages have ever ripped. Now the company has upgraded to an even better quality vinyl. The new pages are more of a matte finish and are easier to read through than the old ones.

I no longer use the stick-on tabs. I don’t like the residue that is left on the vinyl if they come off or if I want to change them. (Although this could presumably be removed with acetone.) Instead I cut index pages out of card stock for dividers. This is a minor aspect of use.

Why I like it:

I like how easy it is to organize my recipes by category, and to know that loose cards won’t disappear. I’m very bad about keeping track of loose pieces of paper. I’ve used pieces of labels to number the pages and have created an index to the recipes in the notebooks.

It’s very nice that the books stand up. I can work on my limited counter space and the book doesn’t take up all the room.

The books are attractive and a nice size, as opposed to any old 3-ring binder that I might find to store recipes in.