Preparing Your Recipes


One of the biggest tasks to do before your cooking family session for The Family Cookbooks is locating and preparing your recipes for print. Whether your recipes are neat and tidy in a storage box, or are more like my family’s scattered about in a mishmash of random antique cookbooks, note cards, and even scribbled on an old paper plate from a barbecue 30 years ago, or stored away in a relative’s memory, here are a few steps to getting everything organized for your personal cookbook.


From cookbooks to note cards

The easiest way for me to transfer your recipes into your book is through Google Docs or a similar text application. Depending on where you recipes are, that might mean a lot of typing, but the effort will be worth it when you receive your beautiful custom cookbook with everything in one place.

  1. Old Cookbooks: If your special recipes are already printed in an old cookbook, all you have to do is take a picture of each recipe with your phone and send them to me. Easy!

  2. Handwritten note cards: This is where recipe preparation can get laborious. You can send me scans of recipe cards or the recipe cards themselves and I’ll input them into my system. Or you can type them up yourself. Interpreting handwriting can be tricky, so if you are having me type up your recipes, proofreading your book will be essential. If you have any notes scribbled in the margins of cookbooks or stories about certain foods, please include them! It makes the book more personal.

When you book, I’ll share a link to a private Google folder where you can upload your photos and text documents.

Recipes from Memory

What happens when your recipes aren’t written down? Many families have someone who cooks family meals from memory and there are a couple of ways to get those down on paper.

  1. Write them out before the session: Experiment and measure out the recipes with whoever has them filed away in their memory. This might even just be interviewing that person and getting rough estimates of ingredients.

  2. Make developing the recipe part of the session: Especially if the recipe keeper in your family is an older relative, one of the most fun parts of documenting families and food is translating Grandma’s intuition and decades of experience on to paper. Working together to write down an accurate representation of your recipes makes for a fun chapter of the session.


Tips for writing down recipes

  1. Be clear and concise

  2. Don’t forget oven temperatures and baking/cooking times

  3. Include descriptions as best you can of what each stage looks and feels like.

  4. Add individual annotations and notes from family members. Each person might make their version a little differently.

  5. Have fun with it!

During the book proofing process, you’ll be able to make electronic notes next to the pages of your cookbook to indicate changes. You are responsible for the final proofing the make sure everything is accurate. Once the book goes to print, it cannot be changed, so giving it a thorough look is very important!

Bilingual Cookbooks

If you are interested in printing your recipes in another language, that is something we can do! Again, you will just be responsible for making sure the final proof is accurate and typo-free. Most families who want to incorporate other languages into their book usually print the title of the recipe in both languages, but leave the recipe in just English. It’s totally up to you!


Thanks for reading! Documenting family food stories is something of immense joy, and I would love to tell your story. Get more information about The Family Cookbook as well as pricing by filling out the form below.


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I get inquires from all over the country, so it helps me to better plan your session if you provide your city and state.