There are few things that will take you back to your early days faster than the smell of a favourite childhood food. Most people have fond memories of family gatherings and the special feasts that were prepared for the hungry crowds.
Even everyday meals that you loved as a child are often the same ones that you crave as an adult giving birth to the term, “comfort foods.” We all have them — those dishes that make you hungry just thinking about them.
Families pass many things onto future generations; oftentimes, favourite recipes are among the things that are shared.
Assembling those recipes into a family recipe book is a great way to assure that the family will continue to gather for the same great meals.
Gathering the Recipes
In most families, there are literally dozens (if not more) of dishes that bring to life memories of family meals. When making a recipe book, be sure to ask family members for suggestions and try to include everyone’s favourites.
Inquire as to not only current favourites, but also those that each member recalls liking as a child, even if the dish no longer appeals to them.
Our preferences often change as we grow into adulthood, but the newest generation of children are likely to enjoy the same meals and treats that their parents once favoured. Once you have a good sized list of desired foods, you can decide on the format of your book.
A well organized book will make it easier for specific recipes to be readily located, so it is worth the effort to sort the recipes. Much like in professionally designed cookbooks, recipes should be categorized into appetizers, beverages, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, snacks, and desserts. You might also want to have special categories, such as “Children’s Favourites” or “Holiday Meals.”
Making the Book
Your family recipe book should be as unique as your family and there is no one right way to do it. There are a number of computer software programs designed to help organize recipes, and many of them have nicely set up pages that look quite attractive when printed.
Other families may prefer simply printing the recipes on plain paper or sturdy note cards. Handwritten recipes, though considerably more work, would result in a book that can easily become a family heirloom.
Artistic family members could be recruited to lend a hand in designing a book cover.
A good tip for any format is to laminate the pages before assembling the book. This will not only make the recipe book more durable, but it will also help to keep the pages clean since any messes can be easily wiped off with a damp cloth.
Laminating machines can be found at many office supply stores. The specifics matter less than keeping in mind the fact that since this is a family recipe book, it should ideally be a family project.
Since this book is being created specifically to highlight your family’s favourite recipes, it might be nice to include a few things to make it uniquely yours.
Snapshots of family members (be sure to use copies, not the originals!), especially those from years past, are sure to make the book memorable.
Another good idea is to credit the recipes to either their creator, such as “Grandma Brown’s Oatmeal Cookies” or to a family member who especially enjoyed a particular dish, as in, “Millie’s Favourite Baked Chicken.”
Since the kitchen is often the heart of the home, enticing friends and family members alike to gather and socialize, a family cookbook is an ideal way to commemorate not only the family’s favourite foods, but also the traditions, both everyday and special occasion, that help to make up the family’s history.