one step closer to a cookbook!

I’ve said it many a times here on essellesse, but I can’t say it enough. Journaling is something that completely changed my life.

I don’t know why it took me so long to get on the journaling train but I first got into it in May 2018. It was right before my birthday and I was in a very confusing place in general from my personal & prodessional life.

Basically, I had a lot of thoughts but had no idea what to do with them. I also strangely saw journaling as a more “dear diary….” type thing and at the time, that just was not what I was looking for {though these days, I do recc it but post for another day}. I reached out to my friend & lifestyle blogger Gitana & she encouraged me to give bullet journaling a go. I talked about it a bit more here but it’s something that has changed my life.

As mentioned here, I have tons, TONS of journals…. and each one has a job of its own. I recently brought a new one in my life and it has been so helpful that I had to share it here.

My food & cooking journal!

SO- it’s a journal where I note everything I eat. BUT- it’s not a food diary at all.

Instead, think of it like this: I’m in the kitchen about to cook dinner. First, I write down all the ingredients I am using. This is actually easy because my recipes never have more than 10 ingredients.

Then after I cook & enjoy dinner with Erik, I get to writing.

I write how I cooked things, what I would change, what worked, what didn’t…. all my notes. If something was a huge win, then I develop a recipe from it, including notes on what to photograph for the blog or a future cookbook.

Then rinse & repeat every single day.

Why has this been such a game changer?

There are a variety of reasons but for starters, it helps me with recipe development. Everything I am writing in my notes are the base to a full on recipe to put in the journal that will eventually become a cookbook – I talk about it here.

Second, it allows me to see visually exactly what kind of foods / cuisine Erik & I are loving and eating. It was interesting to see a lot of the same ingredients or cuisines so this will also help with grocery shopping and cutting down waste.

Third, it’s kind of fun to see what we were eating! That way if Erik ever says something like “I LOVED last Thursday’s dinner”, I can flip back and know exactly what it was and star it. Also, on the contrary, if something was just awful {ie Monday’s dinner lol}, I make a note to never buy it again, including what I bought that I hated and where.

Another thing I keep track on is carryout & going out to eat, including what we ordered. Again, this helps me see physically exactly what we like {& can help me write my thoughts on the restaurant to include in future san francisco guides}

I also keep track on exactly what wine we are drinking too: producer, vintage, varietal, vineyard & quick notes. In fact, when I was studying to be a Sommelier, this is exactly what I did with every glass of wine I ever tasted the second I turned 21. I had a binder with 3 full years of wine notes that got lost after I moved to Dallas but it was something that really helped me develop my palette at such a young age.

It’s basically like an analog food blog! I agree 100% with what Gitana said here about desiring to live a more analog lifestyle & no one physically writes anymore!

This may sound crazy but sometimes even just writing in cursive can feel foreign to me, so journaling helps me with the act of writing itself. Sometimes it’s shocking to me just how bad my handwriting has gotten over the past 7 years.

There’s also something so satisfying about writing in a journal after dinner. Erik is generally working after dinner so it’s nice to embrace the quiet and log the day. Food & wine is something I am insanely passionate about & have an insatiable craving for so it’s interesting to see what I’m eating and drinking and how it relates to the seasons.

I would love to eventually make a cookbook and when that day does happen {manifestation!!!!}, this journal is 100% what to thank.

If you love to cook & drink wine as much as I do, I can’t recomend this enough! I know I mentioned wine above but I am going to take it back to 2007 – 2010 & start a dedicated wine journal for that. This one just has cliff notes on whether or not the pairing worked or not. I’ll do a future post on the full blown wine journal with my old tasting grid.

How about you – what do you love to journal?


in case you missed it

10 years of cooking tips from working in a professional kitchen & as a homecook

what I got Erik for Christmas for work lunches

offline – where the magic happens

cacio e pepe butter to literally make everything taste better

my favourite personality test: the enneagram test

cooking for two or one: what you need & don’t need for a for a stocked kitchen

my favourite cookbooks

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.6.20
    Rach said:

    That’s amazing! I never would have thought to have a cooking journal but now I can totally see how it can help with recipe development!

  2. 2.6.20
    Elisa P. said:

    I have a cooking journal too even if I need to refresh it a bit 😀
    xx Elisa | DIY & LIFESTYLE BLOG

  3. 2.6.20
    Allie Mackin said:

    Yes I think this type of journaling and in particular a bullet journal is really a way of organizing your thoughts. It also helps people turn thoughts into action.

    Allie of

  4. 2.6.20
    Christine said:

    That is so cool and a great way to be organized for sure. I need to try that as well.


  5. 2.6.20
    Jessica said:

    This sounds like a really good idea. Keeping track of your health starts with what you eat. Thanks dear!
    Jessica |

    • 2.6.20

      I totally agree – getting a little more analog and seeing what you are eating & loving has been so important!! x

  6. 2.6.20

    That sounds amazing dear! I never thought of creating a cooking journal but it definitely sounds like a great idea.
    Adi xx |

  7. 2.6.20
    Geniussr said:

    Oh really journaling is such a good idea.. I should seriously think about it… you mentioned everything in such a good and detailed way… thanks for inspiration dear…❤️

  8. 2.6.20
    The Exclusive Beauty Diary said:

    This is very interesting. Cooking diary can be very helpful. Also I can’t belive lhow my hand writings change in past 7 years. My dairy helps me to see that.

    New Post –

  9. 2.6.20
    Gitana said:

    I love this. Thanks for the shoutout too! I think having a cooking journal (especially for the places we eat out at) is actually a great idea because I’m looking to branch out to different new places with Joey 🙂 How fun!