Whether it’s grandma’s homemade spaghetti sauce, Aunt Anne’s tangy lemon meringue pie or mom’s delicious minestrone soup, family recipes remind us of home. They’re part of our heritage and it’s important to preserve our family recipes for future generations. With the advent of the internet, it’s easy to create a family cookbook that will be passed down from generation to generation. Here are the steps to follow to make a family cookbook:

1. Plan Your Cookbook: The first thing that you will need to decide is what type of cookbook you want to make. The most popular choices are a bound cookbook or a 3-ring binder. A bound cookbook has the advantage of looking more professional. A 3-ring binder has the advantage of being easier to make and it allows you to add recipes in the future. There are some decorative 3-ring binders that have cooking related pictures on the front and you can also use the 3-ring binders that have the plastic inserts on the front cover. Design a cover page, slip it into the plastic insert and you have a colorful cover for your custom cookbook.

2. Collect Recipes: With the internet, it’s easy to collect recipes for a family cookbook. Simply send an e-mail to your relatives telling them that you are making a family cookbook and you need them to send at least 5 recipes to you for inclusion in the cookbook. If you use Facebook, you can create a group of relatives and post on your wall that you are making a family cookbook and need each of them to send you 5 recipes. Be sure to send or in10sityfitnessunited post a sample recipe for them to follow. Whether you send an e-mail or post on Facebook, a deadline for receipt of the recipes is crucial. If you want to encourage contributions, it’s helpful to send reminders and to let everyone know when a relative contributes their 5 recipes.

3. Organize Your Cookbook: There are different ways to organize your family cookbook. You could have sections for different sides of the family, time periods or you could use the traditional categories such as Appetizers, Side Dishes, Main Dishes and Desserts. Within the sections, recipe organization can be done alphabetically, by type of dish or by contributor. Adding section dividers will make your cookbook look more attractive and easier to use. You can create the dividers in a cookbook template or software program or purchase tabbed dividers from an office supply store.

4. Cookbook Layout: Once you decide on the organization, you will need to create the layout for your family cookbook. Since the recipes will be sent to you electronically, you can cut-and-paste them into a word processing program, a cookbook template or software program. Cookbook templates and software programs are easy to use because they are pre-formatted and you just need to add the recipes. Word processing software works but is not as easy and can be a challenge to set-up the formatting. Be sure to add page numbers, a table of contents and index. They will make your cookbook easier to use and they will make it look more professional.

5. Printing: A family cookbook can be sent electronically to relatives in pdf format or on a CD. However, the downside to an electronic cookbook is that it may get lost in someone’s in-box without ever being printed. Printing the cookbook makes it more likely that it will be passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom. Depending upon the number of copies that you are making, printing the cookbook from your home computer may be the best option. At copy shops, printing costs are around 11 cents per page and printing in booklet form (5.5 x 8.5) allows you to print 4 cookbook pages on each sheet of paper so a 100 page cookbook will cost around $3 per cookbook plus a few dollars for binding.

6. Binding: For three-ring binder cookbooks, hole punch the pages and put them in the binder with the section dividers, table of contents and index. Comb and spiral binding is reasonably priced and it makes an for an attractive presentation.

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