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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Cookbooks (Public/Private ): Ideas and Help / Making A Family Cookbook
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    Making A Family Cookbook

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    Molly53
    Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:07 pm
    Forum Host


    Do you and your family enjoy cooking for each other and swapping favorite recipes, whether they're your own creations or found in other cookbooks? If so, you may have thought of making a family cookbook.

    A family recipe book is actually a collection of memories of our lives. Old family recipes will disappear with time if we do not make an effort to preserve them. Often our most powerful memories are those involving food - the comforting smell of cookies in the oven, memories of the family around the table at mealtime or trips to grandma's - and these happy memories should be preserved for future generations.

    Most of us need only look to our own recipe boxes to understand the emotional appeal of a family recipe collection the way certain foods remind us of beloved family members and
    memorable family events, as well as family traditions and cultural heritage.

    A cookbook can be made very informally, as a scrapbook, or you can even have copies professionally printed for sale or gifts.

    The concept of putting together a family cookbook sounds great, until you begin. Then it can be a daunting task if you don't have a plan or specific ideas. Having everyone's favorite recipes all together in one bound book can be powerful, if you put all the proper steps into place and let everyone know what you expect. When you e-mail, call or write each nuclear family with your thoughts, be very clear with instructions and invite them to add some of their own creativity to make it even better.

    Living Family Cookbook
    The family will never be perfect or finished, so make it a work in progress. As each family member discovers a new recipe, encourage him to jot it down for future editions. Rather than use permanent binding, encourage each family member to purchase a three-ring binder so new entries can be added each year. Inexpensive binders with clear plastic windows for the family crest are ideal. Rotate the responsibilities for collecting the recipes and printing them on card stock each year. Or the pages may be e-mailed and printed by each family member on whatever type of paper she prefers.

    IF YOU'RE USING THE COMPUTER, BE SURE AND BACK UP YOUR SAVED WORK!

    Cookbook with Family History and Traditions
    Most family recipes have been handed down, so ask the family members to include a story to go with each one. This may be in paragraph form, a time line or a family tree showing where it came from. If any changes have been made for any reason, include them and explain why the changes were made. Include old photos if they're available.

    Family Cookbook with Photographs and Graphics
    Ask each person who submits recipes to snap a picture of the final product. Alternate placing the snapshots on top or below the recipe to give it more visual appeal.

    Include photographs of family reunions or other events where the foods were served. The more family members in the photo the better. Designate one person as the family photographer and encourage him to take as many candid shots as possible.

    Since younger children aren't likely to have recipes to contribute, ask them to send drawings to be included in the cookbook. They can show the family sitting down to a meal, renderings of the food after it's prepared or anything else that enables them to participate in the family project. Children's art makes an excellent decoration for the divider pages for appetizers, salads, main courses, vegetables, casseroles, snacks and desserts.

    Family reunions are an ideal time to get things started and organized:
    1. Get in touch with your family before your reunion to let them know you're compiling a family reunion cookbook. Call, email or send postcards to let your extended family members know to come to the reunion with their best recipes.
    2. Ask each family or family member to bring three to five of their best recipes to be included in your family reunion cookbook.
    3. Collect the recipes at your family reunion. Once you've collected the recipes, you can begin organizing them into categories for your family reunion cookbook. Examples of categories include Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Main Dishes, Side Dishes and Desserts.
    4. Put together your family reunion cookbook yourself. If you're planning your family reunion cookbook as a start-to-finish, do-it-yourself adventure, you'll need to buy binders, reams of paper and protective sleeves. You can retype all of the recipes into the same format, print and then slip the recipes into sleeves and into their binders. The process is simple, if a bit time-consuming. Save yourself tons of time and effort by asking everyone in advance to bring their recipes typed in your preferred format rather than handwritten.

    Items to Include on a Recipe Form
    * Name of the recipe
    * Name of the person contributing the recipe
    * Name of the person who originated the recipe (if different from the submitter)
    * The history of the recipe (Where did it come from and why is it special?)
    * Ingredients and quantities needed, in the order in which they appear in the directions
    * Cooking directions
    * Prep time and cooking time
    * The number of people the recipe serves
    * Any special cooking tips or advice

    Have your contributors jot down some brief answers to the following questions (or questions of your own):
    *What are your earliest food memories?
    *What sorts of things did your parents or grandparents cook?
    *What were their best dishes, those that make your mouth water even now as you remember them?
    *Were there any special family dining traditions�holiday meals or unusual foods that none of your friends ate in their homes?
    *When did you start to cook and what did you make?
    *How and what do you cook now?
    *Do you follow any special diets, low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free, no red meat, vegetarian, vegan, and so on?
    *What are your favorite ways to entertain with food?

    Don't expect everyone to automatically remember that they're supposed to bring recipes for your family reunion cookbook to your family reunion. Call or email everyone a couple of days ahead to remind them.

    Tips for encouraging a reply:
    * Ask those that can to send their recipes and stories by email. You're not only more likely to receive more submissions, but you'll also be able to cut and paste the recipes right into your final document.
    * Since emailing good quality pictures can be so painful for many, consider joining a photo share site to make it easier for participants to upload their photos.
    * Set a deadline that allows family members at least a few weeks to gather together their recipes, but not so far out in the future that they forget about the project all together. You may also want to send a short reminder postcard or email a week or two before the final submission deadline.
    * For participants you know don't have email, try sending a SASE with your letter to boost the chance of a response.
    * If you're planning to sell the cookbook to help recoup your costs, it is still nice to offer free copies to everyone who contributes recipes, stories or photos.

    Organizing the Recipes
    There is no one correct way to organize a cookbook. It really depends upon the recipes you've collected and your purpose in creating the cookbook. Some suggestions:
    * by category - appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts
    * by individuals - grandparents, cousins, etc.
    * by family - by family unit (Mom, Dad & kids) or branch of the family tree (Grandma, Grandpa and all of their descendants)
    * by holiday - Christmas, 4th of July, Thanksgiving

    Tips for incorporating family history into your cookbook
    * Make color copies or scans of family heirlooms that relate to cooking to use as a background behind a few of the recipes. This might include items such as an award won for a particular recipe, a newspaper clipping about the family, a handwritten copy of the recipe which has been passed down through several generations, special family table linens, or airplane tickets from a family trip that produced a great recipe.
    * Write an introduction to the cookbook, which shares the details of its creation and how family members responded to the project. Make sure to include the date!
    * Include a photo and short bio of the family members originally known for some of the more treasured recipes. If the family member is deceased, a few short memory quotes about the individual and their recipe from the descendants makes a nice touch.

    You can either print the copies of the cookbook yourself for the contributing cooks and their families or you can have a select few printed and bound through a local printer such as your local copy spot, Kinko's, Office Depot or Staples.

    To self-publish a print book: Check out Tastebook or Lulu to create your own hard-bound book. You can choose from a range of sizes, bindings, color or black+white, small run or large.

    To publish online:
    use a social networking site such as Delicious, Flickr or Facebook.

    To export recipes from Food.com:
    Use Food Network's Recipe Manager Software.
    http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?sku=315810#axzz22W4w3CuS

    When you're done with your one-of-a-kind family cookbook, you'll have a wonderful book to pass down from generation to generation. Make copies of it to share with your family, and don't forget to add to it throughout the years!


    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    Last edited by Molly53 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:18 am, edited 5 times in total
    UnknownChef86
    Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:34 pm
    Forum Host
    Wow...excellent ideas!!! We have a family reunion coming up in a few months...I'll have to put this wonderful post to work and get a family cookbook going! icon_wink.gif

    Thank you very much, Molly...this is an excellent idea!
    Dib's
    Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:42 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Great Topic Molly!
    I did a Brown Family Cookbook after my Grandmother died. I asked EACH adult to submit 5 recipes they loved and made for their "individual" family. I also had my Grandmothers cookbook, a wooden recipe card holder with hand written family recipes dating back to the 1850's, and my deseased Uncle's recipe cards so I was able to include everyone.
    I had them printed up at Kinkos-everyone got a copy for Christmas and they all forgave me.

    I say forgave me because as well intentioned as everyone was, it was beyond a PITA to gather everyones recipes in a timely fashion. I got a rep, so to speak rotfl.gif

    All in all-I'm doing another one-it's so worth it!
    Elmotoo
    Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:24 am
    Forum Host
    where's that like button.......?
    duonyte
    Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:52 pm
    Forum Host
    We did a twist on this for a friend who was getting married. She did not have much in the way of family, no grandmothers around, etc., so her maid of honor asked her friends to send three recipes each to her. The maid of honor put them together into a cookbook, with the little stories we had added - a nice way for her to connect with her friends as well as to get some great recipes.
    Sharon the Rocket
    Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:44 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Thanks so much for the info! I can't believe how great this would be to keep family connected in a unique manner - the achievement of something to hold history. The suggestions on sites is greatly appreciated - what a great starting point. For me, as one of 10 siblings, this couldn't be better. Hugs, Sharon
    Molly53
    Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:10 pm
    Forum Host
    Sharon the Rocket wrote:
    Thanks so much for the info! I can't believe how great this would be to keep family connected in a unique manner - the achievement of something to hold history. The suggestions on sites is greatly appreciated - what a great starting point. For me, as one of 10 siblings, this couldn't be better. Hugs, Sharon
    I'd love it if you could keep us posted on your progress, Sharon! icon_smile.gif
    CookieWeasel
    Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:14 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    After my aunt and uncle passed away, one of their daughters gave me the family recipe box and asked me if I could turn it into a book. After many hours at the keyboard, I finally recorded all the recipes that were in the box, many of which were our grandmother's. I am planning to illustrate the book with a few photos, line drawings, and family proverbs. Here's the hard part: Getting everybody to submit one or more of her favorite recipes to add to the collection. I have asked and asked, but NOBODY will get off her duff and send one to me! Meanwhile the computer I used has become obsolete and I have to find a way to transfer the file to a new computer (a complicated task for a variety of reasons). It really is hard to get family members involved in this. I would love to hear how others have managed the "people factor."
    Molly53
    Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:46 pm
    Forum Host
    I would put the cousin that asked you to take othis project on in the first place in charge of rounding up all your recalcitrant relatives.

    Send her the tips to encourage replies mentioned above.

    It's not reasonable to expect you to herd all those cats AND try to get a book together.
    Tisme
    Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:29 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Photobucket
    So easy and such a fantastic idea Molly!
    I might start one for DD. icon_smile.gif


    Last edited by Tisme on Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:43 am, edited 1 time in total
    Molly53
    Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:50 am
    Forum Host
    Why, thank you so much, Tisme! icon_smile.gif

    Let us know how it works out for you, if you don't mind.
    Dib's
    Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:16 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    CookieWeasel wrote:
    It really is hard to get family members involved in this. I would love to hear how others have managed the "people factor."


    Redial.
    Chef #2277143
    Wed May 30, 2012 2:29 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Yes you are telling a good idea and now their are lot of ways to create our own cookbooks... Thanks for the information..
    duonyte
    Wed May 30, 2012 5:07 pm
    Forum Host
    CookieWeasel wrote:
    After my aunt and uncle passed away, one of their daughters gave me the family recipe box and asked me if I could turn it into a book. After many hours at the keyboard, I finally recorded all the recipes that were in the box, many of which were our grandmother's. I am planning to illustrate the book with a few photos, line drawings, and family proverbs. Here's the hard part: Getting everybody to submit one or more of her favorite recipes to add to the collection. I have asked and asked, but NOBODY will get off her duff and send one to me! Meanwhile the computer I used has become obsolete and I have to find a way to transfer the file to a new computer (a complicated task for a variety of reasons). It really is hard to get family members involved in this. I would love to hear how others have managed the "people factor."


    One of the bridesmaids for a wedding I attended asked all the guests to provide two or three favorite recipes to create a cookbook of recipes to give her. I am wondering if you could do something like that - perhaps it's the grandparents 50th anniversary coming up, and to commemorate it, let's make a family cookbook of the new and old favorites for the family - ?
    DerbieDerb
    Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:31 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I made one last year for my Mom and my sister for Christmas. I used an online photobook site called Picaboo.com (who often has 50% off sales and Groupons/Wagjags for their books!) They turned out beautiful! We will definitely be making future editions, as we all keep thinking of things that were left out/new recipes we've found. Makes such a great gift! I packaged mine in cellophane with a measuring cup, tea towels & a cookie scoop.
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