You’ve gathered family recipes and researched your kin’s culinary traditions. Now preserve your discoveries in a scrapbook-style heritage cookbook that mixes photos of Grandma and her recipes for beef brisket and clabber cake, with a sprinkling of stories about how she’d deliver homemade bread to her family at Christmas.
First, decide your cookbook’s focus—you might devote it to an individual or family branch, seasonal dishes or a cultural cuisine. If possible, use recipes in the original chef’s handwriting. Protect those originals in photo-safe sleeves mounted with clear plastic photo corners or hinged to the page (so you can flip them to read both sides). You also can use color photocopies and store the originals in a safe place. (Use copies of recipes in the kitchen to avoid spilling Great-grandma Beatrice’s spaghetti sauce on her original instructions for making it.)
Include a photo of each chef. Journal stories about your relative and her recipe—how long it’s been in the family, when it was served and how it’s changed. Other journaling topics: mealtime traditions (a special prayer or toast), table settings (china, utensils, linens) and the stories behind “secret” recipes. Add notes from your research, such as updated ingredients (margarine for oleo) and preparation tips (“Grandma always said the pasta’s read when you throw a noodle at the wall and it sticks”).
Number your album pages and craft a title page, table of contents and, for lengthier books, section dividers and an index. For more how-to heritage-cookbook instruction, read Meals and Memories: How to Create Keepsake Cookbooks by Kathy Steligo (Carlo Press, $15.95).