Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Family Cookbook

Last night, the family came over for dinner. ...Three grown sons, with families of their own now. Dinner was simple, but it was literally devoured! Two of my daughters-in-law openly admit that they can’t cook unless it comes straight out of a can or box. The other is said to be a very good cook. My sons, who were raised on home cooking, have taken up the slack. One of their good friends, who adopted our family and often sat at our table, has also become “The Chef” in his own home.

When my oldest son married, I wanted to send something of my self along, and slowly and carefully put together a collection of our favorite recipes. We have lived all over the United States, and have experienced a culturally rich diet. Our favorite meals have come from our Mexican American friends, after living for many years in California, and Arizona. The first cookbook took months to put together, because it wasn’t easy to find color photos in magazines, for each recipe. Now, with the computer and internet, it only takes a few clicks of the mouse.

Here is what I have done, as anyone can to put together a cherished collection of family recipes:

  1. Write up your recipes in Word.…It’s the most widely available format, and saving them is a necessity!As computers advance, you will be able to keep the recipes current.Make it fun and you can even include a story about where it came from, whose favorite it is, etc.Try to keep each recipe on one page.
  2. Scrounge the Internet with Google searches for images of your recipe. You can find one perfect image that appeals to your taste buds and fits your personality. If not, get out the digital camera, and take your own photos. You can even have the family eating! Add a photo to your recipe. I use the text box a lot to save space.
  3. Keep a separate file folder for each grouping of recipes (i.e.: appetizers, beverages, meats, salads, soups, etc.). I learned the hard way, and mine were all hodge-podge in one cumbersome folder.
  4. Scrounge the Internet for fun clipart to use for a page image for your food sections, and add a WordArt title. For instance, I have a funny childish pictures of stick figures, one offering the other a cupcake. I have this as the section page for desserts. There are wonderful cartoons to use too.
  5. I print out and place pages in sheet protectors, back to back. This keeps them safe from spills, and keeps them from tearing out.
  6. Arrange all your pages into a 3-ring folder that has the pockets for photos on the front. Create a cover of your own with a family photo, or you in an apron, or, …get back on Google and find an image that feels good to you. I chose one that is an art poster and expresses the personality of my recipe book as I see it: a gift, a blessing, a loving and nurturing extension of a mother’s love. My “adopted son” (you know, the neighborhood kid who just slips into the family one day) told me his eyes glazed over when he got his, and my bio-sons tell me he raves about how great it is.
  7. I add to these books each year at Christmas. I continually discover old recipes that were someone’s favorite, and new ones that will be.

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