Making a Family Recipe Book

There are few things that will take you back to your early days faster than the smell of a favourite childhood food. Most people have fond memories of family gatherings and the special feasts that were prepared for the hungry crowds.

Child cooking
Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

Even everyday meals that you loved as a child are often the same ones that you crave as an adult giving birth to the term, “comfort foods.” We all have them — those dishes that make you hungry just thinking about them.

Families pass many things onto future generations; oftentimes, favourite recipes are among the things that are shared.

Assembling those recipes into a family recipe book is a great way to assure that the family will continue to gather for the same great meals.

Gathering the Recipes

In most families, there are literally dozens (if not more) of dishes that bring to life memories of family meals. When making a recipe book, be sure to ask family members for suggestions and try to include everyone’s favourites.

Inquire as to not only current favourites, but also those that each member recalls liking as a child, even if the dish no longer appeals to them.

Our preferences often change as we grow into adulthood, but the newest generation of children are likely to enjoy the same meals and treats that their parents once favoured. Once you have a good sized list of desired foods, you can decide on the format of your book.

Getting Organized

A well organized book will make it easier for specific recipes to be readily located, so it is worth the effort to sort the recipes. Much like in professionally designed cookbooks, recipes should be categorized into appetizers, beverages, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, snacks, and desserts. You might also want to have special categories, such as “Children’s Favourites” or “Holiday Meals.”

Making the Book

Your family recipe book should be as unique as your family and there is no one right way to do it. There are a number of computer software programs designed to help organize recipes, and many of them have nicely set up pages that look quite attractive when printed.

Other families may prefer simply printing the recipes on plain paper or sturdy note cards. Handwritten recipes, though considerably more work, would result in a book that can easily become a family heirloom.

Artistic family members could be recruited to lend a hand in designing a book cover.

A good tip for any format is to laminate the pages before assembling the book. This will not only make the recipe book more durable, but it will also help to keep the pages clean since any messes can be easily wiped off with a damp cloth.

Laminating machines can be found at many office supply stores. The specifics matter less than keeping in mind the fact that since this is a family recipe book, it should ideally be a family project.

Personal Touches

Since this book is being created specifically to highlight your family’s favourite recipes, it might be nice to include a few things to make it uniquely yours.

Snapshots of family members (be sure to use copies, not the originals!), especially those from years past, are sure to make the book memorable.

Another good idea is to credit the recipes to either their creator, such as “Grandma Brown’s Oatmeal Cookies” or to a family member who especially enjoyed a particular dish, as in, “Millie’s Favourite Baked Chicken.”

Since the kitchen is often the heart of the home, enticing friends and family members alike to gather and socialize, a family cookbook is an ideal way to commemorate not only the family’s favourite foods, but also the traditions, both everyday and special occasion, that help to make up the family’s history.

2 thoughts on “Making a Family Recipe Book”

  1. My daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby.I am 60 and extremely excited.I have also become anxious because I work full time and have to work until I’m 65 (new pension rules). I brought my daughter up as a lone parent and we are very close.

    I love my son in law very much.

    His family are large and very loving and are welcoming to me as well. My son in law’s family will provide the majority of childcare and my daughter and son in law will therefore be spending a lot of time with them.

    My worry is that I will not be able to develop the very close relationship with my grandchild as I wish for, or maintain and grow my own new little family unit, as there is only me and I shall be at work every day.

    I cant afford to give up work, but feel very worried at being ‘left out’. Has anyone any advice on how to manage all this?

    • @First time grandma – you can be special in a different way. A daughter is always a daughter and if you are close it is inevitable that your daughter will want to include you in your grandchild’s life.

      The pluses in your life are that at least they are local. Many grandparents have to put up with their grandchildren living in different countries, or even at the other side of the country.

      Love can be shared and hopefully when you have time you can have your own precious time with your grandchild. I love my grandchildren very much, but I would not want to look after them all the time – I’d be exhausted.

      So at least you can still offer to look after your grandchild, or be in on the childminding or babysitting duties when you can.

      Also, if you are close to the family, you can muck in when you have the time there too. Look forward to it and you’ll love every minute 🙂

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