Create A Family Heritage Cookbook


One fabulous way to preserve your family traditions is to create a heritage cookbook. Heritage cookbooks are a perfect way to share your knowledge of your family history with those who may not be drawn to genealogy. By presenting your stories in an accessible way your family can benefit from it in their hearts as well as their stomachs. Family stories and traditions are typically closely tied to the foods that we eat.

First, begin compiling your favorite recipes as well as those that have been handed down throughout the generations of your family. Then you need to send an email blast to your relatives. Ask them to share one of their signature dishes: your grandmother’s apple pie, your cousin’s spinach pie, your Aunt’s fried chicken and gravy. You can also ask them to share any recipes or photos that were passed on to them from older generations. Using recipe or note cards (make a standard recipe format like a fill in the blank card) and include the following information:

1) Who first created this recipe? When did they live, and how were they related to the family?

2) Is there a story behind why this recipe is a family favorite?

3) What makes this recipe special?

After you’ve assembled your recipe cards begin looking through your photographs. If you have a recipe that appears every Christmas or Hanukkah consider including a photo from a family holiday celebration. Do you have a photo of the great-grandmother who originated the family’s favorite pie recipe? This would be an important addition that will add depth and history to your heritage cookbook. Consider adding a summary of your relative’s life or a basic map of their hometown. These small touches will allow your future generations to feel connected with people of the past.

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If older family members aren’t available, use regional cookbooks to find new recipes to try. Check your local library or bookstore for cookbooks that describe the cuisine from countries where your ancestors lived. Regional American cookbooks, too, are good for finding dishes your ancestors may have eaten. Regional cookbooks often describe traditions surrounding certain dishes, along with the original name of the dish. Add this information to the family cookbook as well.


A 3-ring binder can be personalized in a way that creates a family heirloom. If you enjoy scrapbooking or other art forms use these designs to add a bit of your own personality to your creation. You can also design the cookbook on a computer, printing the recipes in interesting fonts, and scanning in the photos. HeritageCookbook.com can provide heavy stock for covers, along with a spiral or glued binding for a long-lasting book. Picturiapress.com  and Shutterfly.com can create custom designed books for both personal and professional purposes.

 


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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life, Heather is chauffeur to 3 busy kids; the president of her Home and School Association; and VP of Marketing for TipsFromTown. And she's passionate about all 3!