Writing a Keepsake Cookbook – Part 1

 Creating your Own Recipes Family Cookbook

writing a cookbook


Family Cookbooks are a gift of the past for the future. A family cookbook is one way to preserve the past in a personalized collection of recipes. In the past, most people relied on word of mouth to keep the family recipes and memories alive, but with time these details can fade. More and more, people aren’t leaving it to chance.

I just finished compiling one last year for my family and I can personally tell you that it will be worth every moment of time you spend on it. For our book my Mother was originally going to write an introduction and an ending. Somewhere halfway into compiling the recipes we decided some family history would be great to have in it. Before we were finished our book included almost 275 recipes, 100 history pages and almost 400 photos and I also learned a lot more about my family.

There are many ways you can create your own family cookbook. Some are informal and handwritten with recipes only; others may be written as a memorial to someone, some have recipes, stories and photos. Others send out questionnaires asking for favorite memories and recipes.

We decided that we would send out questionnaires asking for recipes and memories. If you decide to do it this way, include a date for the material to be back to you. In our case it was 30 days, but I did accept them after that until I did the final edit. I e-mailed the information needed to at least one member of each family and made phone calls to others. I also included a list of all the recipes I already had and some of the ones I knew we still needed. We were very lucky as both my Grandmother and Great Grandmother had kept recipes in a red notebook. When I finally was able to pry it out of my mother’s possession for overnight, I scanned all the recipes.

 Then while I was waiting for all the recipes and information to be collected, I started to explore the avenues available to publish it. I found several good ways to do it. One is to use a notebook or scrapbook. That way new recipes could be added easily. Another way is to send it to a publisher that does cookbooks for fund raising and have them print it. Or in our case I designed the pages on the computer and then printed it with a laser printer. I then had it bound at a local office store. Or you could use a journal and have it hand written. I’m sure there are many other ways it could be done; these are the methods I investigated while trying to decide which method was best for us. It also depends on the number of books you will need.


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