Date Posted: 07:59:32 07/28/04 Wed
Subject: Help with planning a Family Cookbook
Hi guys, I am in the process of preparing a Family Cookbook for our annual Family Reunion at Labor Day. I've already contacted family members and the recipes are coming in. Now I need to start compiling the book. Anyone out there had any experience in this department that could give me a few tips, comments or suggestions, what worked, what didn't? Tell me how you arranged your catagories and what/and how you did it? Did you do it yourself or have it done elsewhere? Thanks in advance, any advice welcome.
Fran in Maryland
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Marciaot, 18:29:03 07/29/04 Thu 
I did a family cookbook a few Christmases ago. My son wrote 2 poems about family to include in the book. In the front of the book, I included recipes from 5-6 older members of the family who are no longer with us. I wrote a brief paragraph about each one along with a photo. The paragraph focused on special remembrances of their cooking. I was lucky to be able to get recipes in their own handwriting so I photocopied them. The oldest photo and recipe was late 1800's.
I grouped the recipes by who submitted. For the "elders" (my aunts), I also included a photo and something about them. The rest of the book was grouped in alphabetical order by last name.
The book has over 150 pages and included both sides of my family and my husband's family, so it is a real keepsake. Although recipes had been contributed, no one knew about the photos, etc., until the books were distributed. There were lots of tears!
If you can open a PDF file (Adobe), I'd be happy to send you a couple of sample pages. I used a 3-ring binder with the paper-insertable cover.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- jazbo, 09:21:31 07/28/04 Wed 
What a fun & wonderful project! Sounds like it is going to be a success. We tried it once & got only 4 recipes from DH's family. So I put all our favorites in it. It was a homeschool project for the boys. We organized ours by holidays. I ran it off at a local copy shop, with each holiday on a different color. Then I had it bound with a comb binder. I still have it & use it often.
There are companies that will organize, print & bind your cookbooks for a fee. Churches & women's organizations have those cookbooks all the time.
This is probably not what you were seeking, but this is my experience with family cookbooks. I love them - they are a source of family history. Best of luck with yours.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Lilpeach, 09:55:01 07/28/04 Wed 
What a neat idea! Sorry I can't offer too much help in this area but I really love your ideas Fran & Jazbo. This might be something I'd like to try for my family, we have alot of cooks in the family and I can use all the help I can get when it comes to cooking..lol:) Looking forward to seeing everyones ideas on this. Good Luck with your cookbook Fran and please let us know what you decide and how it turns out.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Lori Jean, 10:05:06 07/28/04 Wed 
That's such a wonderful idea! You might want to check your local school district. I know in our district they have a "print shop." They print and bind it into a book with the plastic kind of rings. Your local school district might have one that's available to the public. We also have some kids at the middle school level that run a "print shop." They print out stationary to sell.
Lori Jean :^)
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- jenjoy, 11:41:57 07/28/04 Wed 
our PTA did one for the school. We used www.morriscookbooks.com
to put it all together. Here's how we organized: Appetizers & Beverages, Breads and Muffins, Breakfast & Brunch, Salads & Soups, Vegetables & Side Dishes, Main Dishes & Casseroles, Desserts, This & That.
One of the things we did that was really neat was to ask the children to come up with their own recipes. We would ask the younger ones how to make choc. chip cookies. We would get the funniest answers (ie: dump in a lot of flour and some chocolate and cook it on high until it's done, etc) We also had the kids write out recipes for friendship, and put them in as well. It might be neat to ask the younger kids in the family to contribute in some way. Anyway, just an idea.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook (*Warning: LONG* Sorry!) -- Patty, 13:03:15 07/28/04 Wed 
Been there, done that! It is a LOT of work, but it is something that I am really proud of and glad I did!
My Mom's family had a raffle at a reunion a few years ago to help cover the expenses. They made a lot of money, plenty to cover the expenses and still had a lot left and they didn't know what to do with all of it. With some of the leftover money, I volunteered to do all the work to make a family cookbook, as no one had ever done that on my Mom's side of the family. Dad's side has already made 3!!! Mom and an older cousin, who was in charge of the money, REALLY liked the idea, so it was a GO!
I sent out a letter to the family telling them that I would make ANYone a family cookbook, for FREE, using some of the raffle money, IF they would send me recipes by a certain date. I told them that I WASN'T going to make ANY extras to sell. They could ONLY get one, if they sent me recipes and that I would give the cookbooks out at the next reunion, the following summer. I gave them my snail mail address and my E-mail address.
My Mom (and Dad's family, too) comes from a family of 10 kids, so we have a LOT of relatives! Since I was doing this by myself, I was afraid that I would be bombarded with recipes and would have a difficult time getting them all typed up, so I put a limit on how many recipes they could send...5, give or take a few. Most recipes came with letters from relatives saying they were thrilled to get a family cookbook and couldn't wait to get it. There were also recipe requests, like my grandma's famous big cookies. I even got recipes from kids for "kid recipes": play dough, mud pies, reindeer food, soap bubbles, silly slime, Gak, Goop, etc. One 11 year old sent me several recipes, when she was at her grandma's, so she got a book, but her Mom wanted to buy one, but didn't send any recipes, so she didn't get one! I didn't make any extra. The little girl was so happy that she had something Mom didn't.
Since I volunteer at my kids' old elementary school and use the copiers non-stop for the teachers, copying it wouldn't be a problem. I have also made several small classroom cookbooks at school for parents' Christmas gifts. I bought a box of copy paper from Office Depot and several packages of pretty copy paper for the dividers at Wal-Mart. My Mom's maiden name was Fisher, so I got the pretty copy paper with an ocean scene on it ("Fish"-er). I bought 1" white 3-ring binders at Office Depot when they would put them on sale "buy 7, get 5 free". These have a clear outside sleeve, so I put the pretty copy paper cover inside it. I decided on the title of it "Fisher Family Favorites 2002" from someone else's that I had seen. Inside, I did a dedication page to my grandparents:
"This cookbook is dedicated to (my grandparents names). It is because of them that we are here today, June 15, 2002, having a wonderful time at the 2002 Fisher Family Reunion at ______State Park in (City and State)."
On the back of that page I put an appropriate verse I had seen:
"A recipe that is not shared with others, Will soon be forgotten, But when it is shared, It will be enjoyed by future generations. Author unknown."
Then, I did a Thank you page to the contributing cooks, listing all the ones who had sent in recipes.
Then, was the contents page:
1. Useful Information
2. Appetizers, Candy and Snacks
3. Beverages and Miscellaneous
4. Breads and Rolls
5. Cakes, Cookies, Desserts and Pies
6. Casseroles, Main Dishes and Meats
7. Salads, Side Dishes, Soups and Vegetables
Useful Information section was for measurements, pan sizes, abbreviations, etc. I even got things sent to me about the care of cast iron pans and other uses for Bounce that I included. Then, I made a blank form for them to write their favorite recipes and page numbers on with notes lines on the back.
After copying all the pages, I punched holes in them with a 3-hole punch and added them to the binders.
With each recipe, I included the sender's name and any info or history about the recipe that they sent me, like it had been my late uncle's favorite food, how they liked to serve a particular recipe or what was good with it. Tell them to PRINT or TYPE the recipes, TRUST ME! And type them as soon as you get them, to keep on top of them. There will be a FLOOD of recipes come in just before the deadline...or after! I put several recipes per page, front and back, or I'd still be copying. Yes, it took a while, but it was time well-spent. I got a lot of compliments and thank yous. One uncle, I was told, was showing his neighbor and telling them that his niece had MADE it and how impressed he was! I didn't get to go to this year's reunion, but my Mom told me that they are STILL talking about the family cookbook. I'm so glad I did it!
If you don't have as many recipes as I had, instead of the binders, you could also use the paper pocket folders with brads in the middle. Watch for them to be on sale for back-to-school.
On my own personal copy, I didn't punch holes in it. I bought, with my own money, the clear sheet protectors and I put each page in one and added it to my binder. Splashes wipe right off and protect the recipes.
Hope this helps and hasn't put everyone to sleep!
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Patty, 13:09:44 07/28/04 Wed 
I forgot to send this link. It is to a site for individuals' online cookbooks. It is where I got the idea for the title for mine. Some are pretty clever...some aren't!
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- linne, 14:00:58 07/28/04 Wed 
Just one more suggestion:
I have purchased several 'group cookbooks'. Because I can't always find a certain recipe in the ones I have, may I suggest that you group recipes by category, AND also list all recipes alphabetically by name. Sometimes you know the name of the recipe, or just want to look for something by name. It takes a longer time to go through the categories to find what I am looking for. BUT, i also need the categories to find that special 'casserole' or 'salad' to take to pot lucks.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Kim in Texas, 14:12:09 07/28/04 Wed 
I did one of these last year for my family for Christmas. (I come from a family of 9 kids!) I didn't get a whole lot of response on new recipies so I took all the ones that we had as kids and used them. What I did was type each one on a different page and put it in a page protector. Then I put them in a spiral binder by category. I found this worked really good because then they could customize their notebook. My brother's could take out the recipies that they didn't like and we could add more as we found others we liked. I use mine constantly and absolutely love it. It was simple, easy, and works great.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Fran, 15:04:10 07/28/04 Wed 
Thanks for the wonderful suggestions and ideas for the Family Cookbook and Patty thanks for taking the extra time and effort to explain all the details of how yours was compiled. I really feel like I can get this done now. Labor Day is my deadline so hopefully will succeed. I'm printing all these ideas out and am going to keep them in my reunion book of ideas. I've been doing our Reunion now for the past 5 years. I've been attending this Reunion all my life so am now heading towards my 50th in September. A milestone for me. I think I've only missed one! Anyway, keep those ideas coming and I'll post from time to time and let you know how things are going with the project. What a great bunch of ladies we have on board here! You always come through for me. Can't imagine life without you all to come to when I need help. Hugs,
Fran from Maryland
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Patty, 15:13:30 07/28/04 Wed 
You are very welcome, Fran!
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Virginia/WA, 16:06:04 07/28/04 Wed 
This company will send you a whole box of information for free,
Cookbooks by Morris Press
They are a publisher of personalized cookbooks.
The box comes with several sample cookbooks, some hard cover, some soft cover. Will show the different types of binding and different layouts ideas.
I didn't use the company because when I was doing the cookbook, I was only going to do 20 or so. They are more geared for schools or fund raisers.
But all the ideas that come in the box was so helpful.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Fran, 09:19:22 07/30/04 Fri 
Thanks for the ideas, and yes I should be able to open the files and I'd love to see some examples.
[> Re: Help with planning a Family Cookbook -- Nancy, 11:02:06 07/30/04 Fri 
I am in charge of doing the same thing for a reunion cookbook.We are putting our family tree in it and lots of old pictures of my grand parents and great grand parents. It looks pretty good, but haven't decided how we are going to finish it. Do it ourselves or have itdone by a book company.