ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Creating A Family Recipe Book

Updated on February 26, 2010

 Like many people, I'd rebelled against the food of my youth. My path to maturity as a cook has been tied to a combination of the ethnically exotic and/or healthy. I love grilled (almost charred) chicken with mango salsa; I've dabbled in coconut milk and lemon grass; I stir-fry bok choy; I've even tried making my own corn tortillas from blue masa harina.

But suddenly, this culinary life I'd adopted seemed rather phony and flimsy. Where were my roots? I called my ex's 86-year-old grandmother in her nursing home to talk about pot roast. Her memory is still sharp, and she enthusiastically gave me step-by-step instructions over the phone. In fact, she enjoyed talking about it so much that she also gave me her recipe for red cabbage and apples (a truly wonderful thing), and one of my great favorites: Hungarian goulash in a sauce flavored with broken pieces of ginger snaps (better than it sounds).

Ours is not illustrious gourmet history. But this is the food that nurtured us as first-, second- and third-generation Americans. In its ordinariness is our own ordinary (and sometimes not-so-ordinary) story, one that I may someday sit down and write.

Preserving Family History Through Food

If you want to preserve your family's past, consider compiling a family recipe book. From mundane daily meals to great ritual celebrations, food and family histories are inextricably linked. Old recipes reveal ethnic and religious identity, tales of immigration, and regional culture, not to forget the personal quirks, loves and character of the individual cook.

Go and record the gems of your family before they are forgotten. With desktop publishing and word processing programs, you can get lovely results from your home computer. This said, family recipe books can be whatever you want them to be, from the lavishly designed and professionally printed to the homespun, handwritten and photocopied booklets of a few pages.

A number of companies offer custom printing services tailored to charitable fundraising and family cookbooks. These may be a good option for large families with many contributing cooks. You can get a laminated cover and pages bound with a spiral ring for easy flipping on the kitchen counter. Though they are less personal products, the benefit is that you submit the recipes and get back a finished product rather easily. Note, however, that these are usually big books with at least 150 recipes and there is often a minimum order of 100 copies. Also, they may run you about $5 per copy or more if you add lots of photos and personal notes.

If you want a more personal touch, a much better route is to make your own book at your local printer or copy shop. Look for one that offers POD or Print On Demand technology. You can give your local printer pages you have made using a scanner and QuarkXpress (or similar) desktop publishing program. If these tools aren't available to you, consider a photocopied booklet.

Ingredients for a Family Recipe Book

  • Contact key family members for their old recipe cards. If necessary, take down recipes orally, many favorites are never written down.
  • Ask the best writer in the clan to write a personal introduction.
  • Include old family pictures and artwork.
  • Weave in a few family stories, notable quotations or favorite culinary tips amid the recipes.
  • Sprinkle in some casual family genealogy, such as when and where grandparents were born, and their occupations.

Give the final book as a holiday gift or memento from a family reunion. Your family will love you for it!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)