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Gift Ideas for Special Occasions
Family Cookbook

Cover.jpg (82987 bytes)This project can go from the very simple and inexpensive to the more involved and very expensive. A year before you want the cookbook as a gift, request recipes from family members. Give them a deadline. About half of them will respect this deadline. The others you may have to contact several times if you want this cookbook to be a complete representation of your family. Men are encouraged to contribute too. Decide if you want to do this simply by typing in recipes on 8 1/2 X 11 paper, or if you want to format and work with 8 1/2 X 5 1/2 paper. Decide on your cover – a family picture is a good choice or the old homestead, something with which everyone will identify. Set up your cover on the size paper you have chosen and color copy it at a place like Kinko’s then laminate it. If you want pictures on your back cover also, do that at this time too. In your introduction, write something of your family’s history, list the family groups and relationships, include mini biographies, if you like. 

When two cousins and I did a cookbook, we wrote lists of our favorite things and included those in the book. Perhaps that is a way to get to know some of your family members better. Do you know that Great Uncle Bart loves to watch the sunrise each day? Do you know that Aunt Hattie loves the smell of rain? Perhaps when the contributors send in their recipes, they could also include some of their favorite quotes. You can use those at the bottom of pages as fillers. Encourage family members to write their memories at the top of the recipes. Perhaps this is Great-Grandma Black’s pudding recipe, and she served it every Sunday for dinner when all the family gathered around her table. The younger generation needs to know these things. Do you have favorite songs you sing when your family gathers? Include the words to the song on the backs of the recipe divider sections. Perhaps you are of Scottish ancestry and would like to include the words to Scottish songs. Include poems that speak to you. 

On the front of the divider sections, you might want to include pictures of all of you from childhood to the present. It is less expensive to do these dividers with black and white pictures than with color, but we used color. Include a title page and index for a more elaborate cookbook. If you use the 8 1/2 X 11 paper, you can print a side then turn the paper over in the printer and print the next page. It is then easy to take everything to a copy shop and set the copier to copy both sides. I had to do mine the difficult way and use the smaller size paper. First you have to sit with a paper cutter and cut all of your sheets of paper in half. Then, after you have them printed on both sides, you have to tape pages together to full sheet size and copy one at a time to get a set that is printed on both sides so you can then run a full size page through the copier and then cut the full page in half to have the pages separated. This takes hours. I went to the copy shop at 5 a.m. and was there until 9:30 a.m. One of the employees asked me if he could go get breakfast for me! So, to make it simple, you might want to do your cookbook on the full size paper and use limited color pages. However, you can do everything yourself on this except the binding. You will need to be very organized. Have the copy shop put a coil binding on your cookbook so it is easier for the book to lie flat. Friends and family alike enjoy these cookbooks!

Some Snapshots of the Family Cookbook

Table of Contents Index.jpg (128961 bytes) Divider Page

Back of a Divider Page First Page of a Section Great-grandmothers

Memories Recipe Note and Filler Sample.jpg (104881 bytes)

Note: One such project was done by Charlotte Marie Alvoet Bleh Juarez entitled "Stories and Stovies" which was published on Electric Scotland.



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