Making a cookbook is a fun and creative way to hold onto special recipes, but family cookbook printing can be even more meaningful since cookbook makers often use them to tell the family’s story or connect with their shared history in some way. If you are considering a family cookbook printing project for yourself or your family or even if you plan to sell it commercially, we have all the details to help you create a cookbook unique to your family that you will love.
Preserving Family Memories
One of the unique aspects of a family cookbook is that it can be personalized in a way that a regular cookbook is not. While each is a unique creation, family cookbooks reflect the charm, stories, and memories of all kinds of families. Whether the cookbook uses recipes sampled from everyone in an extended family, a collection of recipes from one special family member, or the cookbook simply includes recipes your family enjoys, all family cookbooks have a unique style and feel that sets them apart from a typical cookbook. And what all family cookbook printing projects have in common is that they are a way to preserve these family memories through recipes that are often accompanied by photos and anecdotes that add up to more than just a list of ingredients and a set of directions.
Getting Started with Family Cookbook Printing
One of the first things to think about when you want to make a family cookbook is to decide on the overall purpose and theme of the book. Answering a few questions will help you to decide what you want to include in your cookbook and what types of content you will need to gather.
Who is the cookbook for? You may want to make it for yourself, to give as a gift to others, or to sell it. Commercial cookbooks will need to include details like an ISBN number and barcode on the cover so retailers can easily track and sell the book, while cookbooks intended for personal use can omit that step.
Where will I get the recipes? You may have all of the recipes already or you may be compiling them from other sources. For family submissions, consider sending out a recipe template to standardize the recipe format, so transferring them into the cookbook draft will be easy and critical recipe details are not missed. If your recipes are coming from a single family member, give them plenty of time to gather their recipes for the cookbook and consider using a recipe template to record those that may not be written down.
What types of recipes will be included? Your cookbook may have a focus on one type of food, like an all-dessert book, or it may include recipes from appetizers to desserts and everything in between.
Will there be a theme? If your cookbook will be commercially available, crafting it around a theme is a great way for it to stand out, but personal-use cookbooks can also be created thematically. While there are almost endless categories of food to include, some of the popular theme categories and foods to include are:
- Food Style: grilling out, sweet treats, breakfast/brunch, healthy cooking, cooking for kids, the vegan family, garden-to-table recipes
- Culture: Tasty Cajun Recipes, Italian Classics, Spotlight on the Family’s Norwegian Heritage, German Flavors from the Grandparents, Mama’s Famous Soul Food
- Personality: Mimi’s Kitchen, Grandad’s Famous Foods, Cooking with the Grandkids
- Geography: New Orleans style, Italian Family Favorites, Southern Cooking, Low Country Favorites
- Purpose: Thanksgiving Treats, Christmas Entertaining, Birthday Cakes and Celebrations
A few standard ingredients go into creating any kind of cookbook and cookbook readers also generally expect the cookbook to follow a traditional structure to the book as well.
Every Cookbook Should Include:
- Cooking Fundamentals: All cookbooks usually provide at least some basic cooking information that will be helpful for cooking or baking in general. For example, many cookbooks offer a key to common abbreviations such as tsp = teaspoon and TBS = tablespoon. Some also give a listing of the essential equipment that will be used in the cookbook’s recipes like a stand mixer, a flour sifter, or a rolling pin. A family cookbook made for children might include a more comprehensive fundamental section while one focusing on just desserts might lean more heavily into baking basics.
- Index: This comprehensive listing of recipes allows users to alphabetically search the book for specific recipes, but some authors also use the index to group recipes in other ways, like by ingredients, or another way that the cookbook didn’t use organizationally, like by recipe author or by food type.
- Introduction: An introduction will explain how and why the cookbook was put together, and it gives the author an opportunity to provide background context to the cookbook. Craft the introduction based on the purpose to speak directly to those who will use the cookbook.
- Standardized Recipes: Every recipe should follow the same format throughout the whole cookbook, including the author’s name (if there is more than one recipe contributor in the cookbook), the recipe title, the ingredient list, the time required for the recipe, including cooking time if applicable, and the way in which the recipe steps are provided. All abbreviations used should be presented in the exact same way throughout the book.
- Exceptions: Family cookbooks might retain the humor or voice of their contributors. Keeping details like a recipe like “Grandma says to measure the chocolate chips with your heart and not a spoon” will make the cookbook look more personal and meaningful to your family as long as they are sprinkled throughout the pages and not on every recipe.
- Table of Contents: Cookbooks need a Table of Contents so readers can quickly find and return to recipes. The organization of the recipes is usually presented in this area, utilizing subtitles or category headings within the list, along with page numbers or even family photos to add interest to the cookbook.
Personalizing Your Family Cookbook
If the cookbook’s purpose is to highlight recipes that grandma can make with her grandchildren, then photos of family members in the kitchen together would be more meaningful than a beautiful food photo. But if the cookbook will be available commercially, a mix of gorgeous photos and personal anecdotes will help make the book personal, while also appealing to everyone.
Photos: To ensure the cookbook looks great, try to only use new photos that are at least 300 dpi. But even though historical photos may not be as crisp as new ones, including older pictures is still a good idea in family cookbooks since those pictures evoke strong memories and make the book more meaningful. Photographs of the recipe author with the ingredients, in their kitchen, or serving the food as well as photos of the original handwritten recipes will add interest to the book. Of course, pictures of the prepared recipes will appeal to foodies as well.
Anecdotes: One of the easiest ways to personalize a family cookbook is to include personal anecdotes about each recipe. Details like when grandma made this cobbler, the reason this dish was served at every holiday, or even a description of how different family members serve this food in their own kitchens can create an intimate connection to the recipes.
Interviews: Especially memorable is the inclusion of interviews completed specifically for the cookbook content. Snippets can be sprinkled throughout the book, or they can be placed in a dedicated section of the book. For cookbooks focusing on the recipes of one beloved family member, an interview can be a great way to present new information about them to the reader in a Q & A format or even using specific portions of the transcript.
Quotes: Humorous or helpful quotes are fun to pair with recipes.
Stories: Consider injecting family stories throughout the cookbook that tie into the recipes or the theme of the cookbook.
History: Perfect for personalizing the cookbook, historical family information shows the recipes and family in action through the years. Historical photos of the recipes used at events or meals as well as relevant news articles or publications about the family will make the cookbook a family keepsake for generations to come.
Printing Your Family Cookbook
Creating a cookbook for your family or a commercial family cookbook is a great way to preserve important recipes and memories. Partnering with a trusted printing company can help you turn your cookbook creation into a gorgeous book you will be proud of. Dazzle Printing has been working with cookbook authors for years and offers services to make sure your cookbook will look great on the shelves or in the hands of your family members. Authors can choose from four different types of binding so their cookbooks will function well while still looking great. And working with Dazzle Printing means your family cookbook printing project will be ready to use and enjoy in just a few short days after you place your order.