I’ve always been traditional in my attitude toward homemaking. For example, our family likes to eat dinner together around the table. I wanted my kids to learn the value of that tradition and be able to carry it on into their own families one day if they so desired. That meant they needed to know how to cook! As teenagers they enjoyed having a night every couple of weeks when they had total responsibility to get the evening meal on the table. This included planning the menu, doing the shopping–or at least giving me a list–setting the table, and preparing and serving the meal.
I wanted them to have a collection of recipes that had been favorites during their childhood so I spent a couple of years compiling a family cookbook for them. I photographed family favorites as I prepared them in the course of our lives and holidays and typed out the recipes. I used some memorable photos as well as just pictures of the finished dishes themselves.
One particular favorite is of the kids and their dad decorating Christmas cookies together. This illustrated our Christmas cookie recipe, one that has been handed down from my mother. I also included basic tips like how to peel a tomato how to poach a chicken (and I don’t mean stealing Suzanne’s—not THAT kind of poaching! Haha!) and tablesetting ideas.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake, one of our favorite family recipes.
I put it all together in a three-ring notebook, suitable for adding pages over the years, and gave them each a copy when they moved out on their own. They have been on their own for over two years now and have started their own tradition they call “Family Dinner.” They take turns one night a week to prepare a home-cooked meal for each other and several friends they invite over to sit around the table and eat together. Once a week is about all they can handle with their crazy schedules, but it’s a great tradition and their friends love it, too.
Have you ever made a family cookbook? Let me hear your ideas!
Find the Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe on Farm Bell Recipes for the handy print page and to save it to your recipe box:
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
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That is a wonderful idea, and it’s great that your kids are already utilizing their family cookbooks! I’m a firm believer in family dinners, and I’m sure that’s part of the reason I enjoy a close relationship with my parents. It really is a great way to bond with your kids.
On August 22, 2010 at 5:56 am
Miss Judy says:
I made a cookbook for my husbands family. It was called “Recipes and Memories”. The front cover was an old photo (1940) of my FIL’s family, all 9 kids and their parents. Inside were recipes, birthdates,pictures and memories as told by various family members.It was a lot of work but everyone loved it. At family dinners someone will ask for a recipe and about three people will call out, “It’s in the family cookbook”.
On August 22, 2010 at 8:45 am
My mother did something similar a few years ago, and gathered most of the favorites from her generation of our extended family. She distributed copies to three generations of women that Christmas. Each page is laminated for easy cleanup, and the photo album binder makes a tight seam. It’s a bit more trouble to add pages — I haven’t because it’s The Book With The Old Recipes, as opposed to The Binder With My Recipes.
On August 22, 2010 at 8:46 am
What a lovely way to pass along the family tradition! And what a good reminder to everyone how important it is to do so.
Some friends, it is sad to say, have been compiling family cookbooks for YEARS and are doing something really fancy and complicated. They may never finish. My opinion is that the form of the recipes is not nearly as important as the fact of getting them into the hands of the next generations!
On August 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm
I did a family cookbook for my moms side of the family in 2008. It ended up having over 300 family recipes in it. Counting my grandpa and grandma down to the great grandchildren there were 75 of us at the time. The cookbook was dedicated to my grandparents and he passed away while it was being published so it meant even more to my family when we got it back. I have sold almost 400 copies of it since. Some people know how my family cooks….YUM and others want it as a keepsake to remember them by or to give as gifts.
It’s something I will never regret putting the time and work into and I’ve already been asked to start another one…I’m thinking about it!
On August 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm
What great ideas! I had originally planned to include recipes from my husband’s family and also from my brother’s wife and give copies to everyone on all sides of the family. Doing it that way made it too big a project for that particular time in my life, though. I’m getting inspired to do another one along those lines now, however, after reading these comments! It really does have to the potential to be a cherished family heirloom.
On August 22, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Such a wonderful idea. We made a family cookbook around 15yrs ago. We order 100 copies through a cookbook company. It was for our family reunion. Everyone shared their recipes and seemed to really enjoy it. We had to order 100 more copies. I was able to save copies for my boys. My older son got married 2yrs ago and i gave him a copy. He was very excited. He didn’t know i saved it for him all these years. Been trying to get another one going but I’ve not been as successful.
On August 23, 2010 at 12:21 am