People always talk about how great it is to get kids involved in the kitchen; it’s where young people can work on early math skills through measuring ingredients, and they can also boost their level of responsibility by learning how to provide for themselves in the kitchen when it comes to snacks and small meals. Well the same applies when creating a cookbook.
Kids can play an intricate part in choosing pictures, cookbook titles, and help with the wording for dedications. Older children can also work on their typing and computer skills. Kids will also be highly impressed by the amount of recipes that have been collected and are being passed down in their family.
Working on a cookbook with children can also inspire impromptu bonding sessions in the kitchen.
Don’t forget, creating a family cookbook is just that: for the family. Don’t hesitate to get all family members involved.
The main reason I started Secret Ingredients was because I was inspired by the joy I saw when family members celebrated one another and connected in a meaningful project. As I’ve said many times, Secret Ingredients cookbooks are emotional gifts. They are made with so much love, thought, time, and thanks that it is often an emotional experience for the recipient, as well as the creator.
As I was previewing cookbook orders today, I had a moment of thanks. I feel so lucky to be involved in these projects- to be trusted to make such important gifts and heirlooms. I am thankful to have each of you as SI customers. The fact that you have taken the time to really make the people in your life feel special is amazing to me. I’ve always known that a cookbook project is not for everyone. It takes time and commitment, although it’s a lot of fun. For those of you that are making or have completed projects, you are a special bunch, and we feel lucky to work with you.
Everyone has a list of favorite websites. I don’t know what I’d do without my favorite blogs, YouTube, Flickr, Craigslist, Google News, and of course Secret Ingredients! They are my daily dose of entertainment, places I go when I need to be informed, inspired, or just need a good laugh.
Lately, I have come across some really neat photographs of original, handmade family cookbooks on Flickr. Check them out:
(Click on the picture to see a larger image on Flickr.)
… and the best part is that you can turn your old famiy cookbook into this:
If you would like to make a cookbook your way, be sure to check out our new Cookbook Kits. They offer full flexibility. You can make your own recipes pages however you would like- using your home computer.
I recently came across Cooking Up a Story on YouTube, and I have become a huge fan. Cooking Up a Story releases about one video a week that tells “stories about real people and their special connections to food and sustainable living”.
This recent video, Cooking with Love: Alice’s Kitchen, is one of my favorites. It is a beautiful story of a daughter continuing the legacy of Lebanese cooking learned by her mother. You will see the cookbook she made to keep the traditions going.
We get questions from customers every once in a while about the placement of certain recipes in their cookbook projects, and whether or not they can create their own recipe tabs. For instance: What section should I put my famous Chicken and Beef Vegetable Casserole in? Or, I have a lot of Rice dishes, can I add a Rice tab to the recipe sections of my cookbook? Here is an explanation and a handy trick you can use should you end up asking yourself similar questions.
Your recipes are organized according to the pre-set categories you see on the website; this way our programming can organize your recipes correctly throughout the cookbook, Table of Contents, and Index. We do have suggestions for recipes that fall into several categories:
Here’s a trick: Place your recipe in the category that you feel best fits the main ingredients. For example, casseroles and rice dishes that are based around chicken, we suggest the Poultry category. For dishes that have several vegetables in them (casserole, rice, or even an egg dish) we suggest the Vegetables category. Any dish that has seafood in it, that is not categorized as an Appetizer (i.e. Crab Dip), is obviously best placed in the Seafood category.
For non-food recipes, such as Playdoh or Recipes for Life, the choice is yours. Hope this helps.
That’s it for me, until next time…
10. Organization: Now that your recipes are nicely organized alphabetically and by food type, not to mention a handy-dandy Table of Contents, Index, and List of Contributors, you’ll never have to hunt for a recipe again.
9. Great Gift: You know by now that personalized cookbooks are perfect gifts for any occasion. Most special occasions have two things in common: food and gifts. Why not combine the two, and add a personal touch by giving that special someone a personalized cookbook?
8. Easy to Find Recipes: Whether you keep your recipes in a box, kitchen drawer, or stick them in a scrapbook as you go, taking the time to create a personalized cookbook will make finding your recipes much easier.
7. Kitchen Décor: Secret Ingredients Heirloom Cookbooks come in beautiful 3-ring leather binders with three color options to choose from (black, blue, and burgundy). You no longer have to stuff your recipes into a box and hide it in a kitchen drawer. Your Heirloom Cookbook has such a beautiful and professional look that it can now become a part of your kitchen décor.
6. Preserve Recipes and Memories: Creating your own personalized cookbook not only allows you to keep your favorite recipes intact, but it also preserves them and the special memories that make them more than just good food.
5: Easy to Re-order: Our goal at the Secret Ingredients is to make things as easy as possible for our customers. If you’ve ordered a Keepsake Cookbook from us in the past, now you can re-order your cookbook and change your cover to match whatever occasion you want. Stay tuned for more details.
4. Have it Your Way: Perhaps you have more beef recipes than you can shake a stick at, but barely any recipes for appetizers. Maybe you prefer pictures of family and friends instead of vegetables and cookies. Not a problem! When you make your own cookbook, the world is your oyster and you can always have it your way.
3. Unique to You and Your Family: Sure you can buy a celebrity cookbook from a national book store chain, but how many people can say they’ve got a copy of the very special Smith Family Cookbook complete with Grandma Sue’s Apple Pancakes, and cousin Jake’s Chile-Cheese Dip.
2. Inspires Others: When friends, family, and co-workers find out how easy it was to create such a beautiful cookbook, you’ll become an inspiration to them all. Their own ambitions will fire up and they too will be inspired to make their own personalized cookbook all because of you.
1. Secret Ingredients: If you’re reading this list, you already know of a great place to get started. TheSecretIngredients.com works very hard to offer its customers the best products and services available, as well as upgrading our website to improve our user-friendly capability everyday. We want your cookbook project to be an easy and pleasurable experience. Don’t forget, our Customer Service team is there to help you whenever you need us. Send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 866-697-3247
So you’ve taken the extra step, allowed your creative juices to flow, and bypassed a store bought gift and instead decided to give that special person in your life a personalized Secret Ingredients cookbook. Good for you! Here’s a tip to add one more personal touch to that awesome gift…
Get out your favorite pen, and sign the Dedication page yourself. Depending on the amount of space on the page, you can get other contributors to sign too. Before you know it, the Dedication page will start to become a gift in itself; reminiscent of yearbook pages, office birthday cards, and that giant wedding photo that all of the guest get to sign. Not only will the receiver have fun cooking all of the delicious recipes inside their new cookbook, but they can sit back and pick out all of the signatures of the people that helped create it too.
For those out there who are lucky enough to have a summer break, and even for those of us who aren’t, here’s a cool way to wrap up the last month of summer with a bang. I’ve done some searching and found out that August is National Catfish Month and National Peach Month. So fry up a meaty filet, and cut yourself a sweet slice of cobbler, because this is the month to do it.
Turns out, there are several food holidays for every month of the year; and since Secret Ingredients cookbooks come with several pre-organized food sections, I put the two concepts together and came up with a great idea…
Here’s a fun way to add new recipes to your cookbook project: Pick a month, then do some tasty research and figure out what food holiday people are celebrating that month. Use the notes section of your Secret Ingredients cookbook to explain the story behind the recipe. For example, I’ve had a dish before called “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Casserole”. No surprise, it has a little bit of everything in it, but there’s actually a month to honor such a dish. November is “National Clean Out Your Refrigerator” month. So, if I was to add this recipe to my Secret Ingredients cookbook, this is what it would say in my Notes section: In honor of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Month, this dish is best served in November… and only with items that haven’t expired yet!
You can also take this trick to the next level and pick a month with meaning to it (a favorite relative’s birthday month, your grandparents anniversary month, or the month you finally finished remodeling your dream kitchen). Find a delicious recipe, incorporate it into the sentiment of the special month, and share the story with everyone that gets to read your Secret Ingredients cookbook!
The photos in your cookbook can make a powerful contribution to the feel of the project as a whole. To make the most of this opportunity, think about connections between the photos you’ll use and what your cookbook is all about. You don’t necessarily need the prettiest scenery, or the most professional or flattering photos of family members. Photographs that speak of the warmth of home, and the connections between and among the generations of your family are just the thing.
So, if some of the recipes you are including have been in the family for a long time, you may wish to include pictures from farther back in the past as well. Kitchen pictures are of course a natural, but pictures of a home’s exterior, yard, or any well-remembered living space may work just as well.
If the book you are making has at its heart the recipes of the family matriarch, or if in some other way, the essence of the book centers on a smaller group than the whole list of people who will be receiving it, then its only natural to choose photos consistent with the book’s focus. But in most cases it’s desirable to include a good balance of photos of the people who will be receiving a family cookbook. Its nice for as many of the recipients to feel as much ownership of the cookbook as possible.
Secret Ingredients offers custom cookbook options perfect for every family. Kate Walling, President and Founder, built her company as a platform through which she explores the importance of food traditions, cooking, and their integral place in the lives of modern families. Check back often for updates on Secret Ingredients products, as well as tips, recipes, inspiration, and ideas!