My Red Notebook

I was asked about “my red notebook”.  It is simply a small 3 ring binder that holds typed recipes that I think are worth saving.  My hope is that in 40 or so years, my daughter or one of her kids will try the recipes in my little red notebook.

Going off on somewhat of a tangent….

Recently I had to dig through some engineering documentation that spanned from the 1940s through the 1980s.  The old stuff was typed on paper and was easy to handle.  The later stuff was a bit of a challenge because there were 3 sheets of paper and four 8 inch floppy disks.  The three sheets of paper didn’t answer my questions, so I assumed the stuff I needed was on the floppy disks.

I’m a geek. Geeks know lots of other geeks and we all like challenges.  I was able to call around to the more ‘pack rat’ minded folks and collect the needed stuff to (after some repairs) read the disks.  I got lucky as the floppy disks were still readable…sometimes the magnetic coating flakes off or heat warps the media and the disk is ruined.

It was great in a retro sort of way — an old CP/M computer with 8 inch floppy disks, a green CRT monitor (80 characters by 24 lines) and a copy of Wordstar.  Three of those four floppy disks were empty.  The fourth one had only the three page document that was included in the file….sigh…..

Coming back to my red notebook.

When I started my little red notebook in the early 1980s, I did not have a computer, so I typed everything on my manual typewriter.  I found that using a cheap typewriter ribbon and a good bond paper would make something that would easily survive the accidental drips and such that are likely to happen in the kitchen.

When I did get a computer, I typed the recipes on the computer and printed it out on the dot matrix printer.  Remember “near letter quality” printing?  That worked, however, after a few years it seemed like the ink would fall off of the paper and I would have to reprint the recipes.  But, by then dot matrix printers had been replaced by ink jet printers and that kind of ink smears when it gets wet.

So, I went back to using a manual typewriter and a good archival quality bond paper for my recipes.  I can’t think of an easier way to store small amounts of writing so that it will be readable in 30-40 years.

Unlike the ‘new’ 8 inch floppy disks, the 70+ year old typed documents were easy to read.

This reinforced my decision to continue with the typewriter.  I wonder if in 40-50 years, CD-ROMs, DVDs and USB thumb drives will be just like the 8 inch floppy disks.





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