Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Family Cookbook

I have always loved to cook and bake.  That love came from my Mom.  She makes some of my favorite meals, so when I went to college and got my first apartment I had to get those recipes from her.  I would call her and ask her how to make this, or how to make that.   And I would have all these little pieces of paper with recipes scribbled down.  

I had babysat for a few different families while I was in school, and one of them had me make dinner one night from a recipe from her family's cookbook.  What a great idea I thought!  It was filled with favorite recipes of the women in her family.  

So one Christmas while I was still in school, I decided that I would contact all the women on my Mom's side of the family to ask them if I could have their favorite recipes.  Now not all the women in my family cook.  A couple of people did not give me any recipes.  Luckily my Mom had a recipe or two from these people that she could give me to include in the cookbook.  Basically it has recipes from My mom, sister and me.  But that's ok.  I didn't tell everyone why I wanted the recipes.  I may have told my Mom because I have a really hard time keeping a secret from her, but I cannot remember! 

Once I had everyone's recipes, I typed them all up on my computer and printed them out.  I made sure to add  "Contributed by" at the bottom of each recipe so everyone would know who's recipe it was.  Now I made in total 8 cookbooks, so that would be a lot of pages to print out on my little printer!  I was in college at Robert Morris University at the time, and we had a student ID card that allowed us to print and copy so many pages from the computer lab.  Well... haha.  I guess the copy machine didn't read the IDs correctly and basically you could print how ever much you wanted.  So one night, I took all my pages to a copy machine where no one was and made ALL my copies.  I'm talking more than 200 copies.  I was like for so long!  Thanks RMU!  :-)

Then, I gathered pictures of all my family members and made a collage for the front and back of the cookbook.  I used a binder that you could slip a piece of paper in the front and back.  Next, I sorted out the recipes into categories and started making the cookbooks!  

I gave them to everyone for Christmas that year!  I use the cookbook all the time and love that I have my family recipes all in one place!  

I know... the spine of the book is nothing fancy!  I was a poor college girl after all!  But it works :-)

Now I know what you are thinking, this is going to take forever to make!  But I have a few suggestions how to make this work perfectly!

  • Not really close with your family, or your family members don't share your love of cooking?  Don't worry!  This is a great idea for Families, Friends, Book clubs, Mom groups and more!  
  • Have a cookbook party!  Have everyone bring a binder, some clear page protectors, and how every many copies of each of their recipes as people attending the party.  Then you can all assemble the cookbooks together with good food and great company! 
    • For instance, if there are 8 people at the party, everyone brings 8 copies of each recipe you want to share!  
    • Then, just like a cookie swap, everyone can take one of each recipe to put into their cookbook.  
    • To make it even better, have each person make one of their recipes to share!  You are more likely to want to make something that you have already tasted and know you love!
    • Take a group picture at the party and use that as the front cover to your cookbook!  
    • To get a good variety, ask each person to bring one appetizer, one entree and one dessert recipe, plus any extras that they are dying to share!  
    • Want to get specific?  Have a theme for your cookbook: Desserts, Appetizers, Drinks or choose a type of cooking that everyone loves like Italian or Mexican!

  • Don't want to make an actual cookbook?  Set up a email group of people who want to participate and whenever you get a good recipe, send it to all the people in the group!  Make it your "Online Cookbook" 

I hope you all like this idea and make your own cookbook!  I am so happy to have all these recipes together! It really came in handy this past Thanksgiving when for the first time in my lifetime my Mom did not cook!  My sister just bought a house in Boston, so she wanted to have us all out there.  My husband and I were on our way there, and unfortunately my parents could not make it because my Gramma was in the hospital.  Luckily my Mom put in her recipe for the Thanksgiving turkey in the cookbook so my sister knew exactly how to cook the turkey the way my Mom does it!  And it turned out great!  

 Since you will have all your family's recipes, just make sure that you do not take over someone's "signature dish" and start bringing it to family functions!  Just some friendly advice! ;-)

Happy sharing!  

1 comment:

  1. I use that cookbook all the time! Thanks again for one of my favorite gifts ever. Brings up lots of family memories - families, gotta love them (much better than killing them!). Just kidding! (or am I?)