Food does not just feed our mouths and bellies; it feeds our souls. For many of us, food has been woven into our family legacies in the form of both culturally traditional and completely unique recipes. Depending on your heritage and the communication between generations, some of these recipes may be quite old!
Preserving and chronicling our family history has become much easier because of our rapidly increasing technological capabilities. This is especially true when it comes to putting together a family cookbook. You can still write the recipes on index cards and place them in a file box, but your smartphone and computer will allow you to much more easily and thoroughly put together this piece of family history for future generations to enjoy and add to in a more effective way.
While we are in the middle of a pandemic, we have more free time at home. Utilizing this time productively will allow us to enrich to continue to enrich our lives despite the challenges of the times. The following tools and methods will help you put together a beautiful family cookbook for everyone in your family to enjoy.
Writing Recipes by Hand & Adding Pictures
Many of us still enjoy writing recipes by hand on an index card or piece of paper. That does not mean you cannot use the technology of today to make them even better by adding beautiful, full-color photos.
Cameras have come a long way in our lifetime. You likely have a smartphone, and a very capable camera in the palm of your hand. When creating a cookbook for future generations, visual representations of the recipes will help ensure their accuracy endures.
When taking photos with your phone, be sure to take them while holding the phone horizontally. This will translate better when you print them out to couple with your index cards. After you have your photos, you can either email them to yourself through your phone or connect the phone to your computer using the USB charging cable. Once your phone is connected, you can open the files in your phone on your computer and move them to your computer.
When printing your photos to fasten to the back of your written recipe cards, you will be able to fit two per page and cut them appropriately. To easily print two photos at a time, hold the Ctrl button on your computer keyboard and click on two photos so they are both highlighted. Right-click on one of the photos, and select “Print” on the dropdown menu that pops up. On the right side, you will see options to print two per page for either 4” X 6” or 5” X 7” index cards. Select the one that you need, print, cut and paste!
Using Word to Create an Editable, Printable Document with Images
If you enjoy typing, you can easily create an ongoing, editable recipe book in Microsoft Word. Depending on the length of the recipe and directions, try to keep each recipe on its own page or on two pages by itself. Using a font size between 10 and 12 will help you keep things streamlined, and be sure to use an easily recognizable and readable font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Type your recipes, leaving about one-third of a page open at the bottom for an image.
After you have your photos (remember, if using your cell phone, hold the phone horizontally for a better image), move them or email them to yourself and place them in a separate folder on your desktop (right click on an empty space on your desktop, go down to “New”, select “Folder”).
Open your image folder while you have your document open. Click and drag each applicable photo (left click, hold and move the mouse) to the bottom of each applicable recipe.
***NOTE: you will likely need to delete some empty space between each photo and the following recipe.
Once saved, you can add to this document, anytime. You may also share it with family using a free cloud service like Google Drive so they can all see it and continue to add to it, over time. If you do not already have a Gmail, creating a Google account is free and easy. Visit either drive.google.com or gmail.com, and follow the prompts for a free and easy sign up.
Using Online Tools to Create a Cookbook
If you frequent the internet and would like to use a website to help walk through the design and creation of your cookbook, try Cookbook Create or Create My Cookbook. Both websites walk you through the process utilizing simple interfaces so you can start chronicling recipes for free. Once you chronicle and save a recipe to your profile, it is saved unless you delete it.
Once you are ready, you may order your recipe book in a variety of formats directly through either company. You can even access easy-to-use design implements to give your cookbook a visual theme.
You can also put together multiple projects if you prefer to present your recipe legacy in a series of thematic, professional-looking cookbooks.
However you choose to do it, putting together your family legacy through food is both intrinsically rewarding and a lasting impression you can leave on your family for generations to come.