November 1, 2008

Our Family Cookbook

For any of you considering putting together a family cookbook, here's our story. I know that you can have them professionally done online now, but our version allows for future updates. Yes, it's a lot of work, but if you enjoy recipes and cooking as much as I do, it really is a lot of fun! Just allow yourself plenty of time to work on it at your leisure and you can make something really unique and special that your family will love for future generations to come.....

In 1998, Daughter started a family cookbook. Early in the year she sent out a letter to all family members requesting favorite recipes and any family food history that anyone wanted to share. She also included a question: "If you could eat only three things for the rest of your life what would they be? (this is my favorite part of the cookbook!)

At her grandmother's suggestion, Daughter decided to name it "PINTO BEANS and BLACK-EYED PEAS", in honor of the blending of cultures of her great-grandparents: Grampy was from Mexico (pinto beans) and Grammy was from Arkansas (black-eyed peas). Recipe software was used to print all the recipes and they were put into 3-ring binders to allow for updates to be added in the future.

By Christmas '98, the cookbooks were ready to give as gifts.


Time for an update. By now, Daughter had 3 small daughters of her own and turned the responsibility over to me. More recipes were added and our "3 Favorites" list was redone. What fun to see how some people's tastes changed and others stayed exactly the same! The new pages were sent out and everyone added them to their cookbook. I personally enjoy mine so much I get it out every 6 months or so and read it cover to cover. I especially enjoy the personal notes and stories added to the recipes.

In the past 6 years we've had a whole generation become young adults. In this family, that's 9 young people suddenly between the ages of 16 & 25. and since we have also become a family of foodies even more than ever before, it was time once again for an update. I sent out the letter, started collecting recipes, and promptly dropped the ball when I became obsessed with all things Apron-y!(see here) Bottom line: Christmas '07 came and update.

Here I am again, hoping to get the current update ready in time for Christmas this year. I have hired oldest Granddaughter as my assistant. She will be earning money to put towards her school trip to Washington D.C. in January.

Her job will be typing all the "raw data" into the software for printing.

It can be such a good way document what some family members are doing at this time in their lives. A niece currently teaches at a school for the deaf in Puerto Rico and sent me her favorite Puerto Rican Dessert. Another niece spent a lot of time in China this year and has added her favorite recipes. Still another niece worked all summer at a Christian Camp as Head Chef and contributed several recipes. This isn't just about's about life!!

Besides re-doing the "3 Favorites", we have an additional question this time: "Describe your favorite sandwich". Here are two examples I've received so far:

1. grilled cheese w/pepperjack cheese on jalapeno bread

2. cooked chicken, red onion, cashews, celery, red grapes, celery, mayo w/ poultry seasoning on a croissant with butter lettuce.

This is going to be interesting with 36 people taking part in this!

excuse me for a moment while I speak to any of my family who might be reading this.....

Dear Family:
There is still plenty of time to send me your recipes to be included. We sure would like all you young people to include something, even if it's just your favorite coffee drink! My goal is to have at least ONE entry of some kind from all 36 of you! You'll thank me someday, trust me!! Someday your kids will love reading about YOU in the family cookbook! If nothing else please answer the "3 favorites" question and describe your favorite sandwich......5 yr.old. Grace has added her recipe for Doggie Biscuits and 3 yr. old Ethan his favorite Jello! It's not a FAMILY cookbook without everyone's input....

hoping to hear from EVERYONE soon!....Nicki

1 comment:

Bill said...

Your family cookbook sounds like a great idea. I created a wonderful family cookbook using Family Cookbook Project and I could not be happier with how easy it was to get everyone in my family to contribute recipes and then have our family cookbook printed. Not only do we have a printed cookbook, but are recipes are online so it is easy to email them to friends that don’t have the cookbook available to them.