How to Create a Family Cookbook

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Every family has stories and memories worth preserving. And the family recipes make some of the best material for including in the family memoirs. Creating a family cookbook around the collection of family recipes is a wonderful way to share and safeguard the family recipes for future generations. When you think about it, many of our favorite family memories are associated with food.

All of us can identify with sentimental memories of our favorite dishes that mom prepared, funny food stories, food and cooking experiences that ended up in a disaster, the warmth and comfort of holiday meals and celebrations, and maybe even a frivolous food fight in the kitchen. The family cooking legacy provides the perfect central theme around which to write the family memoirs.

When you create the family cookbook, you can capture and write about the stories and memories behind all the great cooks in your family. A family cookbook that focuses on these memories and recipes is a beautiful way to preserve your family history. And create a terrific cookbook for all of your relatives in the process.

Unfortunately, far too often, we allow these recipes and stories to slip away as one generation passes to the next. Don't let this happen to your family. With just a little bit of effort, you can organize and capture your family history in the form of a family cookbook.And we'll make it easy for you to accomplish this worthwhile project at

Consider the Scope of Your Family Cookbook

The first step is to decide how big of a project you're willing to tackle. If you try to cover too many generations, too many recipes and too many stories, you may be signing up for a bigger job than you realize. It may produce an impressive volume for your coffee table, but more work than you're willing to undertake.

At the other extreme, if you're in a big hurry and want to cut your time frame down to a matter of weeks, you may end up with a family cookbook that's skimpy, and doesn't include enough memorable recipes and stories to be truly satisfying. We recommend you strike a reasonable balance somewhere in the middle.

Give yourself the time to gather and prepare enough content to create a meaningful cookbook that your family will enjoy. But don't take on so much work that you create a struggle for yourself to finish the project. We think a comfortable time frame to produce a truly memorable family cookbook is in the neighborhood of 90 days.

Think About Your Family Cookbook Focus

To make your family cookbook project more manageable, you can narrow down the category of recipes and stories that you write about. For example, you could create a family cookbook just about holiday meals and recipes. Or perhaps you decide to produce a family cookbook that honors your mother's generation of wonderful cooks in your family. This might include stories about your mother, aunts, uncles, and so forth, and the many recipes that the family has enjoyed over the years.

Another theme could be a family cookbook about the kids and children and the recipes they know how to make (of course the kids usually get the cooking suggestions from mom and dad). When you include the stories and pictures with the recipes, can you think of a better way to celebrate all of the children across your extended family

A slightly different twist on a family cookbook based on the children theme might be cooking for kids. Create a collection of recipes that your family has been successful at getting the kids to eat (not always easy, I know). Not only would this be a fun way to share stories and pictures of the children in your family, it would actually be useful and helpful to your extended family to share these cooking tips and ideas for kids.

Or maybe your family is famous for the best grilling and barbecue cooking. You could create a family cookbook just about your grilling and barbecue recipes, and the many stories I'm sure that accompany this category. Also consider that you don't have to produce just one family cookbook.

Just as there are thousands of different cookbooks published each year that cover different cuisines, cooking styles and food subjects, you can publish different versions of your family cooking stories and memories around different categories and subjects. We know of a family that publishes a family cookbook update each year and covers different subjects and stories with each new volume. This creates a special give the family at large enjoys and looks forward to receiving each holiday season.

Gather and Prepare Your Family Recipes, Stories and Pictures

These preparation steps to gather and collect the material for your family cookbook can take the majority of time for the project.

Here're the traditional steps to manage creating a family cookbook

  • Pour through all of your family archives (file cabinets, scrapbooks, shoeboxes, recipe folders, storage boxes, etc.) to locate recipes, letters and stories and photographs.
  • You'll want to contact and get the word out to all of your family members and relatives that you are putting together a family cookbook.
  • Ask family members for recipes, stories and photographs
  • Family members can send you these materials by email, regular post office mail, fax, or telephone (you can transcribe recipes as someone dictates over the phone).
  • Organize, transcribe and edit content that you've pulled together as well as the content submitted by others in your family.
  • You may also solicit assistance from one or more family members to help you collaborate on these tasks. Then you'll also assume a role as a project coordinator.
  • Follow up with family members, you will most likely have to remind them to submit their recipes and and nudge them a bit to participate. There's a little bit of chasing and coordination to handle.
  • Review the work. In many cases, especially where you're transcribing or editing recipes and stories submitted by others, you'll want to give the contributors a chance to review, to make sure you've captured the information accurately.
  • Once you've got all the material pulled together, you can do a basic layout and organize the format of the cookbook. What goes where, placement of stories and photographs, order of sections, etc.
  • When you have everything organized and prepared, you're ready for the final steps to actually publish and print copies of the cookbook.

So far, this might sound like a lot of work. Maybe even kind of tedious, you think?

Don't get me wrong, this is a terrific project to undertake, and is lots of fun and very rewarding. But there's definitely some logistics, organization and followup effort that goes with the effort.

At, we provide you with an easier way to get organized and manage your family cookbook project. An easier and more efficient way to coordinate your family cookbook project and interact with other family members in the process is through our online family group feature at

As a member at our site (signup and create a new account), you can create your own family group area. You can keep your family group private, safe and secure, and only other family members that you allow as members in your family group will have access to the content and information you share within the group area. There are many features within the group area that will truly help you manage your family cookbook project.

Some of the great group features to create your family cookbook

  • Enter all of your recipes in the online database. You as well as any other family members in your group can add and edit the family recipes online. This makes it far easier to collaborate and share in creating the family cookbook.
  • Access to a photo gallery, you can upload, share and comment on multiple photo galleries, use separate galleries to help you organize the images and pictures for your family cookbook. This is also a great way to share family pictures in general.
  • A forum to communicate. Much better than email for managing group discussions, you can use a private forum within your family group to discuss the many aspects and activities that make up your family cookbook project. The threaded nature of the forum discussion helps keep the discussions organized, and you have a central archive of all of your discussions in a safe and secure place that any family member can access online where ever they might be located.
  • The family group area allows you and your family members to view, comment, edit and revise all of the content that you're preparing for your family cookbook, all in one tidy organized place.
  • Once you have your recipes, content, stories and pictures prepared and entered online, you can create beautifully formatted printed copies of your recipes to 4x6 and 5x8 index cards as well as 8.5x11 full page copies.
  • You can also export and print a copy of your family cookbook which is a collection of your recipes, stories and images that you've prepared.
  • You can easily send PDF copies of your individual recipes or your family cookbook by email to friends and family. There's no easier way to share.

Final Step - Publish and Print Your Family Cookbook Copies

You have a lot of options when it comes to the final step of creating the actual printed books. There's a fairly wide range of pricing driven mostly by the quality of book you want to print. Let's break the pricing down into various categories of printing quality.

First of all, there's the FREE version.

Many of our family cookbook publishers  are quite happy with the electronic version of their family cookbook (PDF version) that you can create at the push of a button at After all, the PDF electronic form of your family cookbook looks great, contains all of the great images and photos you choose to include, and it's green (no need to sacrifice trees for the hardcopy paper). And very convenient to share with your friends and family.

You can even publish a PDF only version of family cookbook, this is done more and more today.

But if you'd like to publish and distribute printed hard-copy versions of your family cookbook, here are a few options we can help you with.

High End For the most elegant, high-end quality books including leather bound volumes, you can pay as much as $150 or more per book copy. These are special heirloom pieces that make a very impressive gift, suitable for special occasions and milestone celebrations such as wedding gifts, anniversaries, graduation, etc.

Middle Ground You can find cookbook printing companies that produce very nice quality books with attractive paper stock, rich full color printing including a reasonable number of images and photographs, and durable binding that will result in a beautiful family cookbook you can be proud of. For a cookbook that comes in at around 150 pages, typical pricing in this range is $35 to $50 per book copy, and usually requires a minimum of 25 books.

Lower End There a number of book printing companies that specialize in custom low volume printing. For these simple, less extravagant hard bound books, pricing is typically in the range of $5 to $6 per copy for runs of 150 to 200 books at 150 pages/book. These are not the fanciest looking cookbooks, and are typically printed in a smaller 5x8 inch format. With a budget of $600 to $700, you can usually provide more than enough copies for your needs.

If you choose one of these book printing routes, we can help steer you in the right direction and choose the best companies that offer these services. Here's the good news. When you're done putting all of your recipes, stories and content together using our system at, it's a very simple final step to submit the prepared work to a book publisher for printing.

If you're more budget minded, you have a some less expensive options as well. You can achieve pretty good results going to a digital printing company and printing color copies on an inexpensive stock. You'll find places like Kinkos and Office Depot too expensive for color copies, as much as 89 cents/page.

If you do a little shopping, you can find reasonable printing services that can provide full color digital printing as low as 12 cents/copy. If you keep the number of pages down, and go with a simple plastic spiral binder, you can print a 75 page family cookbook in the range of $15 to $20. You may not need more than a handful of books to start with. Ten copies of books would cost in the neighborhood of $200. And with the right printer, once you get the job setup, you can always go back for more copies, a few at a time, as you need them.

So why not get started today? It's simple, all you need to do is register for a FREE account right here. And you can begin creating your own family cookbook in just minutes from now!

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