“Culinary memory book” a.k.a. “Family Cookbook” a.k.a “Collection of Family Recipes”
My sons frequently remind me about the need to save family recipes. “Make sure that I get a copy of this one!” “Add this one to the family cookbook!” Well, it’s finally done – 124 recipes in the “Ellerbee and Extended Family Cookbook”. Of note, 38 (about 25%) of the recipes fall into one category – “Desserts, Cakes, Cookies and Pies”. I now tell the story of this endeavor.
My sons and their cousins are now adults in their own households. They often ask for this or that recipe from me, their parents and grandparents. The need to transfer those treasured culinary memories has gradually become more acute. We talk about this at family gatherings. I have a bookcase full of recipe books but regularly consult only about a dozen or so. I agreed to take on this project for our family.
The process began in 2019 with goal of producing book for Christmas 2019. Recipes kept drifting in and other priorities took over. So, I made completion of the cookbook as one of my genealogy goals for 2020. And, it’s now done! Many will receive copies as Christmas gifts this year.
Where to start? That’s easy – begin collecting recipes! What dishes do you remember from your childhood? What dishes are always gone at the end of family meals or gatherings? What recipes are often requested by others? Search recipe boxes and recipe books. Pick out the most worn recipe books – those are the ones most used. Look for recipes with handwritten notes. Include a story about the recipe.
How to put your family cookbook together?
- Gift Idea: How to make a family cookbook for under $5 (https://www.thekitchn.com/gift-idea-make-162227 )
- DIY Guide: “Creating family cookbooks- DIY guide & infographic,” (https://everpresent.com/family-cookbooks-infographic/ )
- Washington Post article: “How to make a family cookbook,” ( (https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2020/10/08/family-cookbook/ )
- Master Class © offers an article on this topic (https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-make-and-publish-a-cookbook) .
- Read discussion, published in 2012, on Food52 website (https://food52.com/hotline/12716-what-is-the-best-site-or-program-for-making-a-family-cookbook-with-picture )
- Self-publish. Type recipes, take to a print shop. Print shop copies and binds for you.
- Search Google with phrase “publish family cookbook.” Here’s just a few for print versions:
- The Family Cookbook Project (one I used) (https://www.familycookbookproject.com/ )
- Make your own family cookbook – Morris Press Cookbooks (https://www.morriscookbooks.com/fundraising/family-cookbook.cfm)
- Create your own cookbook online – Heritage Cookbooks (https://heritagecookbook.com/)
- Create my cookbook (https://createmycookbook.com/ )
- RecipeCard Cookbook (https://www.recipecardcookbook.com/ )
- Simply cookbooks (https://www.simplycookbooks.com/ )
- Shutterfly (https://www.shutterfly.com/photo-books/recipe-photo-books )
- Create a digital cookbook:
There are, literally, thousands of websites to look at. Important thing is to get started! Decide on format and template, collect and enter recipes, share with others. Enjoy the food and memories!
Election Day has come and gone. Multiple issues with getting accurate count of legally cast ballots. I choose to NOT comment on the results. Some people are happy and some not so much. Seems like that’s always the way with these national elections. This post tells of a positive event for my family – creation of a family cookbook with well-remembered and cherished recipes. Traditions live on!
What I learned: Include extended family members when searching for recipes. Many templates are available. Limit recipes to those that are truly family favorites. Include recipes from all branches of the family tree.
What helped: Prompt response to call for recipes.
What didn’t help: My procrastination to complete project.
To-do: Digital cookbook in the future??