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Creative Ways to Make a Family Recipe Book

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📷: Tori Avey

Food and family go together like peas and carrots. For many of us, some of our best childhood memories were spent in the kitchen or around the table. Food connects families and brings people together, and passing down family recipes is a meaningful connection between past, present, and future generations.

A family recipe book or collection can beautifully document the intimacy and shared experience of family meals. Preserving your food heritage is a wonderful way to honor your history, cherished relatives, and ancestors. It’s also a lovely gift for your children and can become a treasure full of memories, traditions, and experiences. Today we’re talking about how to create a family recipe book!

If you’re not sure what recipes to include, here are a few questions to get you started:

Has family ever passed down a recipe to you?

What's the oldest recipe in your family?

What recipe most represents your family heritage?

Do you have any secret family recipes?

What is the weirdest recipe passed down in your family?

What's your favorite family recipe?

Your famous meatballs that you prepare for every family reunion are a must, as are Great Grandma’s curiously delicious fruitcake biscotti with the mystery ingredients. And now’s the time to pressure Aunt Susan for her Thanksgiving gravy recipe that she secretly simmers on the stovetop. 

Now that you have a good idea of what recipes you’d like to include, begin thinking about how you prefer to go about collecting, keeping, and sharing them. The format you go with should complement how you and your family like to cook and how interactive you would like the experience to be. Go as low tech or high tech as you like, the choice is yours! Here are five ways to pass down recipes and create a family recipe book or collection:

Scrapbook or photo album

 📷: Cottage Arts

Buy a scrapbook or photo album at a craft store and handwrite or tape family recipes inside. This is a great option if you have some old handwritten recipes from family through the years and is a thoughtful way to memorialize loved ones. Include photos, any history about the recipe, when the recipes have been made and for what occasion(s) - any memories that bring the recipes to life will be cherished in the years to come. 

Binder or other hardbound book

As you collect recipes, type them out in Word documents and include everything mentioned above. You can print them out, place them in sheet protectors, and collect them in a three-ring binder or other type of hardbound book. Another option is to send the recipes to a printer that can print and professionally bind the book at a reasonable cost.  

Online service/recipe book

📷: Create My Cookbook

An online service like Create My Cookbook, Shutterfly, or Blurb are great options if you desire a specific design and a more personalized recipe book. Create My Cookbook is particularly helpful because you can invite family members to collaborate and add their recipes to your online book. When you’ve finished adding recipes and have selected your design, they will professionally print and bind the book and ship it to you. How easy is that!

Social media

If your family is scattered across the country or is international, social media can be an easy and fun way to stay connected and pass down family recipes. Create a Facebook group for family and for sharing recipes, or a family recipes Pinterest board and invite loved ones to participate and collaborate. You can easily create a pin from your own photos, learn how HERE.

Recipe-sharing apps 

📷: Big Oven

If you want everything at your fingertips and on your device, a recipe-sharing app is the way to go! Apps like Big Oven, Cookpad, and Allrecipes let you upload your personal recipes to your profile and share with family and friends. A word of warning, though: once you make your recipes public and begin sharing them, anyone using the app and website can view and make them (and leave feedback). 

Have you created a family recipe book? What’s your favorite way to pass down family recipes? Share with us using #MountainHouseCA!