Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Autumn Asks: Have you ever wanted to do a family cookbook?

When my son was getting ready to graduate High School, he started asking me to write down his favorite recipes. I think his hand must have been broken. (Not.)

Anyway, his cousin, Miss Cell, was graduating also. Plus, he has two other cousins, Pinky and The Brain, that had graduated in the last few years also. The two boys have a mother that really cooks -- and I figured they had lots of recipes they would want from their mom.

So I started looking around for a company that printed family cookbooks. You always have people doing them for fund raisers, so I figured it would be easy. Not so. Most companies will only do large orders. I figured we would need 10-20 tops.

Finally, I ran across You can order as few as 4 books from this company!!

So I joined for the free trial month to try this site out. You send an email invite to all those that you want to contribute...and they type their recipes into the computer and its done. You can add a picture and a story or whatever. AND DID YOU CATCH THAT....THEY get to type in the recipe they are contributing??? Talk about cutting down on the work.

Disclaimer: I did most of the input, because otherwise most of our family wouldn't have contributed. So the theory of that is fabulous...but I make no promises your family will be compliant!

How it works: You pay a monthly fee to keep the site open for people to add. If you can get it done in a month...bonus!!! If not you will pay for each additional month you keep it available. I noticed that the price has doubled since I did this in 2006. Still reasonable in my mind as you can order as few as 4 books.

So you add your recipes. You can add dividers and decide how to divide the recipes up. You can add and white or color. You can design your own cover. You can have different kinds of bindings also.
Prices vary depending on what you add and whether you use color. I opted to do our cover, in black and white, and not put photos in the book. This kept our price down. The price of the books was VERY reasonable...but the shipping is steep since its a heavy box when you are done. We had 21 or 22 books and when I divided it all out it was about $21 per book, including the shipping. That is with 190 pages. So a 100 page book would have been about $10 a piece.

All three of my kids have one of these. And what is cool is that you can add a dedication/Introduction page also. And I can go back at a later date and get more if I want...the printer already has it on file so I just request the book.
This has become one of our most used cookbooks at home. I transferred all my hand written recipes into it. My copy is already wrinkled and stained. I love it. My son uses it. I hear one of cousins has been using it also (Hence a cry for help as the directions weren't clear enough. Whoops.).

We are already collecting recipes for the next go-around. Songbird and one of her cousins will be graduating in 4 years. I should have another book worth of recipes by that time. And maybe some of the other family members will participate now that they have seen what the final product looks like. And then again maybe not since half of them claim not to cook. Either way I look forward to our next family edition.

I have nothing but good things to say about the ease of use, delivery and the whole process. I highly recommend this company. If you have ever considered doing this - do it now!! You never know how much time we have left and what recipes will be gone forever if you don't get them down. I'm ever so thankful that I did our first edition while my father was still alive...many of his recipes are in our book!


  1. Now I really love this idea! And my oldest have already been asking about getting recipes. Thanks!!

  2. Looks great!

    I actually did mine using Matilda's Software from You buy their software (about $30 or so) and then just write it up on your home computer.

    I just had people email me their recipes. After I got them together, I made my own front cover, and took a PDF of it over to Staples. They charged me about $4.00 per book (I did 10 of about 100 pages each), coil bound. It was all black and white--next year I'll do color covers.

    The nice thing with this software is that it's on my own computer. I won't find out in a year that they've doubled their price. I'm in control!

    For the one I printed out myself, I actually went with my own 3 ring binder. That way I could add recipes whenever I want. I just print it out on my inkjet at home. It was more expensive to do this, though.

    Anyway, the cost doesn't really matter that much. The important thing is to get those family recipes saved!

  3. This is so cool!

    I wish my Grandma had made one of these. I can't tell you how many great recipes were lost after she passed away. It makes me so sad.

    When my girls graduate and move out on their own, I would like to do this for them. The problem is - for now at least - they seem to hate everything I make for them.

  4. Loretta -

    Great idea with the software.

    At the time I had a printer that would have made it more expensive to print from home and have bound than the way I did it. But now I have a more economical printer and could do this easy. Thanks for the info! (Especially since Heritage increased their monthly price.)