As you plan and layout your family cookbook, be sure to include plenty of photographs and images. Not only do photographs bring an exciting visual dimension to your recipes, you'll want to capture the memories that family photographs will add to your family cookbook.
A family cookbook is more than a collection of your family recipes. This is your special opportunity to tell the family story and capture your family history. And all of those photographs that you've collected over the years make the perfect addition to your family cookbook.
Here are a few ways to incorporate photographs in your family cookbook
- Recipe and food images
- Family portrait (the family group)
- Portraits and pictures of family members
- Honor the chefs and cooks behind the family recipes with a photo
- Pictures of babies, children and grandchildren
- Pictures of the family pets (how about a funny food story or mishap with a family pet to go along with a picture of your pooch)
- Pictures at the holidays
- Pictures from family vacations
- Pictures from family events and celebrations including family reunions, birthdays, weddings, etc.
- Pictures in the kitchen
- Pictures of the houses and towns where your family has lived
Tell the story with pictures and words.
When you set out to create your family cookbook, don't just focus on the family recipes. It's also about capturing the family stories and preserving the family memories. There are so many ways to weave stories about our family members into the family cookbook content.
Here are a few of the more obvious opportunities to capture and tell the family stories
- Biographies of family members
- If your family immigrated to America, how did they get here?
- Every family event offers a story (weddings, holidays, graduation, births, family reunions, family vacations, etc.)
- A family member's special skills and talents (sports, charity and philanthropy, dancing, photography, hobbies, careers, inventor, gardening, storytelling, etc.)
Family stories spring forth from some of these less obvious places
- Sentimental objects that remind you of a family member
- Letters from a family member can reveal a whole chapter of memories (romatic letters when Grandad was courting Grandmother)
- A family disagreement and the lessons learned (hopefully you can find some wisdom even in the family conflicts)
- A family member's military service and the pride and gratitude we hold for all that make this courageous contribution
- Life's embarassing moments (hopefully everyone is a good sport)
How many times have you heard the phrase "from an old family recipe"? It tends to strike a powerful emotion. After all, we identify with great cooking that has stood the test of time. Particularly if it's a special dish or preparation that originates from the family kitchen several generations back, handed down over the years. If we can establish that we're cooking from an old family recipe it has to be authentic. The real deal for sure!
We certainly treasure our own family recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next. We tend to honor home cooking as better, more wholesome food. Somehow, nothing else can quite measure up to the flavor and taste of that old family recipe.
And the old family recipe makes us feel connected to our family's prior generations. It gives us a sense of duration and permanence. Pretty good family endurance if you can say that you've been preparing a special dish in your family the same way for 150 years.
Sometimes an old family recipe is so good it becomes the basis for starting a company. A commercial food venture based on an old family recipe can leverage a powerful marketing message. For some, it may even come off as a ploy, trying to take advantage of our emotions. After all, if your family recipe is so good that my family will want to feast on your family's cooking, it must be some spectacular food.
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 FamilyRecipeCentral.com
Keeping a journal of our favorite recipes is a tradition that goes back as long as we've been cooking in the kitchen and we've had access to pen and paper. When it comes to creating the family cookbook, or maintaining a personal journal of recipes, perhaps we have the advantage today with the help of modern technology, websites like FamilyRecipeCentral.com, word processors, and the like. But the fundamentals aren't a whole lot different than a hundred years ago. We love collecting recipes today. And we loved collecting them 100 years ago. The fact of the matter, we've probably been keeping track of family recipes in one form or another since time immemorial. And the challenge of keeping our recipes organized is certainly nothing new! Here's a fun example of a page from a family recipe journal circa 1902 that I found on Flickr.com
I was very sad to learn that Gourmet Magazine will be closing the doors. The publisher Conde Naste announced on October 5th that November 2009 will be the last issue.
Apparently the casualty of our current down economy and the advertising dropoff that has affected the publishing industry at large. Like so many publications, the magazine has faced tough challenges coping with the Internet and changing consumer behavior.
Do you keep your special family recipes a secret?
We're all about sharing the family recipes here at Family Recipe Central. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to share your special recipes with the entire world. A lot of people would like to share their family recipes with other family members, but still keep the recipes within the family.
That's why we provide "family groups" at Family Recipe Central.
You can create a group for your family, and only members that you invite to join your group can view and share the recipes and other content that you keep safe and secure within your group. It's a great way for families to collaborate online, but still maintain some family privacy.
But what happens when Grandma doesn't want to share her secret recipe, even with other family members?
It happens more often than you might think ...
More people everywhere are discovering one of the best ways to preserve the family history is with a family cookbook.
Our cherished family experience bridges the generations. For many of us, it would be nice if we could find more ways to establish more permanent and lasting connections. Better ways to document the family history, to preserve the family tradition. And to pass on the family experience, lessons and knowledge from one generation to the next.
Along with family scrapbooks and family photo albums, have you thought about a family cookbook? How often do you wish you would have paid more attention to capturing and preserving your mother's, grandmother's or favorite aunt's special recipes?
Time to Organize Your Family Recipes
If you have a collection of family recipes, for most of us, it's probably pretty disorganized. If you're lucky, you have all of your recipes more or less in one place, stuffed in a drawer. More than likely, your recipes are scattered all over the place, in drawers, recipe boxes, storage or moving boxes, file cabinets, etc.
If you keep all of your recipes stuffed away in a drawer, you might have a chance finding a recipe you've been thinking about. And you know, you can determine the age of a recipe by how far down (or far back) in the drawer you have to dig to locate your favorite recipe.
Or, maybe you use the discolored paper technique (similar to carbon dating). The yellower the paper, the older the recipe.
Does your recipe collection look something like this?
Hey, we get it.
There's something actually comfortable, familiar and sentimental keeping our recipe collection on a bunch of 3x5 index cards.
Dog-eared corners, faded paper, smeared ink from water spills, notes and scratchings when we want to make a change or addition, and so on.