Make Your Own Cookbook a Priceless Heirloom with Family Photos

When you make your own cookbook, include family photos, stories and trivia. Make creating a family cookbook easier by using cookbook templates. Family cookbooks are meaningful family gift ideas.


When you make a cookbook that includes more than just recipes, you’re creating a timeless heirloom, as well as a meaningful gift.

It's more than recipes and potential meals.

When you make your own cookbook with photos you're giving a piece of yourself.

Picture it with me:
Among your family cookbooks and recipe binders sits your favorite gift – a simple book with a picture of your family tree on the front that is full of your family’s favorite recipes, pictures of the friends and relatives who originally made them and little notes about the recipe’s history.

My friend, Lacey, at Strawberry Pearl Studios, made this little cookbook honoring her grandparents.

make your own cookbook

make your own cookbook

Before I was married, my best friend threw me an extremely practical bridal shower with a food theme. Part of the bridal shower activities included me baking a cake from scratch… without a recipe. All the guests were asked to bring a food item (I even received a 25-pound bag of sugar!) as well as their favorite recipes.

I received recipes written in scribbles on scratch paper, typed neatly on 4x6 cards and photocopied from magazines.

When I went to organize the recipes, my favorites quickly became the ones that included little notes like, "This makes a HUGE batch so be sure invite some friends!" or "This cooks up really fast and freezes great." At the time, I was appreciative but didn’t think much of it beyond that.

Since then, however, my appreciation for that very practical bridal shower and the recipes scribbled on scratch paper has grown considerably. Something to think about when you make your own cookbook.

For example, take my Grandma Olson’s recipe for "Blond Brownies," that came with a little note at the bottom that said, "Do you know me?"

heritage cookbook
heritage cookbook

Of course I knew her! I knew her food, too. She was famous for her homemade bread and used to tease my siblings and me that we could smell a fresh batch from miles away because we always seemed to show up just as it was coming out of the oven.

My Grandma passed away many years ago but I think about her and the lessons she taught me whenever I bake brownies. I often wish that my brownies tasted as good as hers did and wonder why we never have enough left to freeze, like she did.

Don’t you think I need to be creating a family cookbook that includes a scanned copy of my Grandma’s original writing, her photo and a couple of lines about how her food used to taste?

Soon after my husband and I were married, I was given a cookbook full of classics from his side of the family. It had a copyright of 1948 and the instructions for shrimp salad included "Set in ice box until firm." I didn’t even know what an ice box was!

There were several familiar names throughout the book and I’d heard stories about "Stucki Stew," so I decided to try it. Turns out my husband’s Great Grandma was famous for it.

family cookbook

Again, don’t you think I need to be creating a family cookbook that includes a copy of this recipe and her photo?

Cookbook Templates and Cookbook Printing

When you make your own cookbook, it’ll come together much faster if you use cookbook templates. Research recipe book software and decide how and where you will have your book printed.

I like this one from Heritage Makers. While you won't get the luxury of easy recipe input forms with them, they do offer many cookbook templates for the 6x9 wirebound book and you can individualize EACH and every book.

For example -

If you want someone else to arrange the photos and text, and are ordering at least 5 books, you might want to check out Heritage Cookbook. I love their work.

One way or another, you’ll need to know what recipes you want included, so the first step is to gather and organize recipes. If you simply type your recipes using word processing, you can always copy/paste the text into its final format when you’re ready.

If you’re going to the trouble and taking the time creating a family cookbook, be sure to make your work worthwhile and have it professionally printed.

Family Gift Ideas: Family Cookbooks

Cookbooks, especially one of this nature full of photos and stories, make wonderful gifts for families, moms, aunts, even teenagers, teachers and bachelors. They'd also fit in beautifully at the family reunion.

Here’s why.

When you make your own cookbook, it’s so much more than just a book full of potential meals. It’s more than just Valentine sugar cookies and jambalaya recipes. When you make your own cookbook, you’re able to personalize every single detail. The recipes. The pictures. The dedication page. You can even include a family picture, sharing a piece of yourself.

It becomes a treasure. An amazing gift. A priceless heirloom.


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