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Turn the Family's Cookery into a Family Cookbook

Updated on September 9, 2012

If you are a family cook, you can relate to the challenges of cooking the family's favorite foods and how everything else is hitched to the treasured recipes that have been in the family for generations.

Every family has exceptional recipes where the area of expertise lies in the cooking directions. Each recipe carries a noble story that combines a tradition of taste and family folklore.

Some are handed down from grandmother, mother to daughter, grandfather to grand kids, or mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, creating a long history of the family's cookery. But how do we begin to make a family cookbook? It could be both confusing and enthralling. But these are the kinds of things we would be excited to pass down to our children.

Here are tips to turn a family's cookery novelty into actual recipes:

Gather Family Specialties

Ask specialties from family members. If the family loves cheese dishes, gather up all your classic recipes that contain cheese. If it's baked decadents you specialize then like me you will do everything to find the olden family recipes of sweet rolls, sponge cakes, puddings, flans, jams, preserves and other sweet indulgences no matter how far back. Write down everything. Even grandmother's delicious "a-little-of-this and a-little-of-that kind of recipe -- put it in your cookbook.

Details are the best fine points. Write the ingredients used one by one along with measurement, shapes and sizes. Trace the simplest additions and substitutions, this way you are sharing the possibility of creating a refreshing variety of new-fangled tastes.

It will be extra special to include origin and what events or occasion a particular recipe is most requested for. Even the name of family member who discovered a specialty would add fun. Put photos and stories for a more personal touch. Dates and places of childhood recipe cooking memories will also make it look and sound memorable.

You can even insert amusing and humorous cooking experiences like over-salted food that taste like sea, burnt meat roast yet "bloody" on the inside, or cake that has collapsed inwards (just like my cakes?...LOL). Even those recipes you think doesn’t make enough sense to even try are very worth showcasing.

One cake and a half? - photo by Food Network
One cake and a half? - photo by Food Network
At least, they're not fried! - photo by Photos Everywhere
At least, they're not fried! - photo by Photos Everywhere

Make It Cheerful

Admire everyone. Have a high regard about how family members responded to the cookbook project. Inject colorful pieces by asking kids to help create artwork for the book, take photos and that's it. The whole idea can speak well of the family's personality. Sort out special pages from seasonal and holiday dishes to the most requested. A table of contents will make everything easy to find. Why not reveal names of those who took effort to make it a reality?

A playful art made by my 9-year old niece
A playful art made by my 9-year old niece
which she turned into this
which she turned into this | Source

Your Family Cookbook Should Tell a Story

A family cookbook should talk like your family. It should bear the legacy of ancestors and character built by them. Very old photos would be a great opportunity to share extremely rare black and white photo memorabilia. You can use color copies as background, a recipe over the photo, or a recipe on one page with photo next to the recipe. Make a collage using items such as dried herbs used in a particular recipe. Be fun. You're the author so whatever you say, goes.

The good old pages - photo by Life in Reviews
The good old pages - photo by Life in Reviews

The good old pages. Whether it's a worn-out hand-written recipe, clipped from the newspaper, or splattered pages from an old cookbook; binding them together beautifully ensures a keepsake of the family's collection of classic dishes that have preserved togetherness. Your family cookbook should be one way to tell this story.

Typically, we find old recipes from grandmother, and since mother usually just doesn't bother to write things down, those specialties are forgotten. Bring them back and keep adding to the list. Combine classics with modern. Your children and grandchildren will cherish your handcrafted family cookbook one day. It is very wholesome to reach back and bring special history to the present. You will not believe how amazing you are for creating a way to bring the family cookery into a real recipe book.


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    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Movie Master hello. Another wonderful idea of a family Christmas present that tells a story about the family. A gift of tradition, you've said it! Glad that you've stopped by. Many thanks for voting and sharing. Blessings!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a wonderful idea and it's perfect for family Christmas presents!

      Loved this, thank you, voted up and shared.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Thanks Anne. I like what you said, "A gift that works for the receiver and the giver!

      Try putting everything you love and can think of into that journal. Need not be perfect as there always has a very special impact doing a thing that you know would make your daughter (the receiver) happy. It's mother and daughter tandem cookbook :=) Goodluck and blessings for you two!

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great Hub and a great idea. My daughter bought be a pretty journal so that I could write all her favourites of my recipes into it. A gift that works for the reciever and the giver! Voted up and useful.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Mhatter, hello. It's amazing how a simple family cookbook could spark a lot more than one-click e-recipes --there's something lovely about it we can't explain. It's the power of family, love and tradition. So fortunate a father you are to have a daughter who knows and feel more than I probably do. Chefs are world-class! Glad you made it by. More power and thank you.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Right you are, especially with the ease of ebooks. The Kloesses have done one better: My daughter has become one of those high priced chefs.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Sue -- Amusing family experiences could be most fun to look back. Our children and grand children will love to know all the cheerful memories that have made the bond intact. Thank you for your comment, that was very nice. Cheers!

      Hello teaches. You're right! I think it's a wonderful keepsake or souvenir for reunions. Something to relate the family story through their favorite. You gave me an idea. So happy you dropped by and thank you for that. Have a fun weekend.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Great idea. I can see that theses books would make for some really nice gifts to family members as well.

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Tonipet,

      Wonderful! I really like your suggestion of adding those amusing and humorous cooking experiences.

      Voted up and away