Hi, my name is Mrs. L and I'm addicted to Pinterest.
Of course it's not my fault. Because though I say I'm addicted to Pinterest, I'm actually addicted to recipes. Which made me addicted to Pinterest. It's a vicious circle, I know. Pinterest is just a way for me to easily keep track of the recipes I want to make while also sharing them with friends...or complete strangers.
I had planned on starting a "Cooking with Pinterest" series on April 1st. But then I figured you would all think it was some sort of April Fools joke. Though I had most of the posts written all I really needed to do was some spell checking, adding some links and cleaning up a bit of the talkies. So I started to finish that chore when, gees this shouldn't be too hard to figure out, I got lost looking at stuff on Pinterest. It was there that I found my post about Pinterest...well, not my post, but the post I was attempting to write about my addiction, Pinterest and how to use it. Only Taste and Tell had done a much better job with much better photos. So I went back to the drawing board, scrapped most of what I was going to say and kinda started over. (You can read Taste and Tell's 12 Things to Avoid When Pinning here. Full disclosure, I'm a huge fan of Deborahs food blog and pretty much pin anything she makes!).
The next few days of posts are pretty much me centric...cuz what you really need to do to understand how to properly pin on Pinterest is check out Taste and Tells post here. I will divulge some of my rantings and ravings though, mostly because it was already written and I hate to waste the writing time. And I really am cooking things I've found on Pinterest (or pinned from the various blogs I follow) so that will be coming up soon too.
The thing is I've been doing my own version of Pinterest for a long time with much less success. Which is why I was so completely taken by Pinterest once I started to use it. So, let me first explain why I'm so addicted.
I collect recipes. When they are in cookbooks, said cookbooks are easy to organize in bookcases. When they are in magazines, they are easy to stack on the floor (for example all Gourmet magazines, lined up, chronologically-lacking floor space you will find them all boxed up in the garage). If they are recipes pulled out of a magazine, they are put in binders by type of food (or would be if I was Martha Stewart which, because I'm not, those pages are basically piled in boxes). But keeping track of recipes that I find online on blogs or manufactures websites? That gets a bit tricky.
At first, I started bookmarking on my computer, all the recipes I found that I thought looked interesting. That started pretty much once I figured how to bookmark things oh so many years ago. In a short time I had a very long list of bookmarked recipes with no way to figure out which one was which. Then I tried putting the bookmarks on my computer in folders by foods. That lasted about a year before again, way way to many bookmarks. Somewhere along the line I was actually writing the web links into a memo book...yeah, that didn't last long either. I then, in a very OCD moment, concocted an excel file, divided it into different foods groups, made columns for the recipe title, what blog it came from, the date of the post and then the url (warned you it was a bit OCD). Since that filled up quickly I ended up with an excel file for each year. So I now have many different excel folders by year, full of recipes by type. Up until Pinterest, that's how I organized recipes I found on blogs or the interwebs.
But it was still hard to really find a recipe. If I wanted to make that noodle dish that had some shrimp and barbecued pork in it, was it under shrimp? Pork? Noodles? And then I would have to go through all the shrimp dishes, hoping that the name of the dish was something like Shrimp and Pork and Noodle Dish. If the name of the dish didn't jump out at me, well then I had to click on a gazillion urls, hoping to find that specific dish that I was looking for. And of course go through each year's excel file unless I could remember what year I had found the recipe. Which of course was never the first excel file I would look through.
Pinterest is a way to bookmark the recipes I'm enamored with and organize them quite easily. Pinterest also lets me organize these recipes by using photos of the dish, instead of the recipe name or the sometimes completely worthless web link. I found that it's much easier for me to look at a photo and remember a recipe and be intrigued enough to try the recipe out than it was just by looking at the name of said recipe (probably why I relate to cookbooks with photos).
Pinterest is just like having a bunch of cork idea boards (bulletin boards) on the walls of your kitchen. You come across a recipe in a magazine for Strawberry Shortcake on a Stick. You cut it out and take a thumbtack (or pushpin) and pin it to the cork board you have designated for food. You might have a separate bulletin board up where you tack up photos of kitchens remodels you'd love to do, or a board where you tack up photos of places you'd like to visit someday. Pinterest just does all that on the computer for you so that your kitchen has more room for all those gadgets you seem to pick up at Sur La Table.
So for me, having a place where I can "bookmark" all these recipes I want to try is like the best organizational gift ever. Now if I'm trying to find that stupid recipe that has shrimp and pork and noodles I can quickly scan the photos on any of the boards that I think I might have pinned it and find the recipe*. If I want to make a chicken dish this weekend, I can scan the photos of the recipes I've "pinned" to my Poultry board and see which recipe fits the bill. And I, along with most "pinners" don't just use Pinterest for recipes. Homeschoolers use it to pin interesting projects to do with their kids. Women getting married might have different boards for dresses they might want to try along with different invitations they've found on the net they might use. I have a friend who collects batman images because he's such a fan, a friend who pins books she wants to read, one who pins scrapbook layouts to use as sketches, and even the friend who pins hot guys that she hopes to meet some day. You can pretty much pin whatever strikes your fancy.
Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board, where you can keep all the ideas that make you laugh, ideas that inspire you or feed your creativity, in one place and Pinterest lets you share all those ideas with friends and strangers. Your favorite blog (be it food or something else) might have a link to their pins, so next time your surfing around, you can find some awesome ideas by checking their Pinterest boards.
You can check out my Pinterest boards here. (and yes, I need to figure out how to get that Pinterest link in the sidelines on my own blog!). I do plan on a few more posts explaining my boards, why and how I pin and what I'm cooking from Pinterest in the next couple of days.
Now excuse me while I go see if there are any new ideas to pin on my friends Pinterest boards!