Create a Gift Cookbook for Giving

The holidays are just around the corner. NO! They’re not! The season of giving may not be just around the corner, but when it isâÂ?¦Do you suffer headaches from trying to figure out what to give each person on your list? Do you end up with sore feet, aching back, and teeth grinding from standing in long lines shopping for the perfect gift? One word: Cookbook. Forget the mad rush and the stress that goes along with finding the perfect gift for each person on your list. Create a gift that keeps on giving long after the holidays are forgotten amidst returned gifts and holiday decorations packed away for another year. Create a cookbook, unique and personal, an anything you want it to be gift.

Every family enjoys favorite recipes that they pass from one person to the next, from one generation to the next. Create a cookbook gift that shares not only recipes but family cooking secrets, memories of the recipe, cooking quotes, and your own thoughts. Think of the cookbook you create as life stories through food.

Personal Cookbook Gift: Create the Recipes
The first step to create a personal cookbook begins with taking time on a lazy hot August day to search your cookbooks, recipe files, and memories for recipes that have special meaning to you and yours. Jot down the recipes you wish to include in your cookbook. Organizing the recipes in a logical fashion is the next step. Before beginning the organization process, you may want to take a look at the layout of your favorite cookbook. How is it organized? Was an alphabetical format used with appetizers first? Was it organized by food groups? Decide the layout and organize your recipes beneath the appropriate heading. Ex) Appetizers: Andrew’s Stuffed Mushrooms, Crab Pizza etc.

Personal Cookbook Gift: Create the Information
The time to acquire some information is at hand. If you wish to include handy cooking guides such as measurements and substitutions in your cookbook gift, make note of what you’re going to include and where it can be found. Ex) Equivalent Measures pg. 23 Good Housekeeping Cookbook There’s no need to copy the information down now unless you want to and have the time. Knowing where you saw the information will help you get your hands on it when the time comes to begin typing the information. Finding cooking quotes is as easy as “googling” the words “cooking quotes.” Ex) “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with good butter, the greatest of feasts.” James Beard (1903-1985)

Personal Coobook Gift: Create the Divisions
It’s time create a folder on your computer for your cookbook. Don’t forget to hide it so no one will know what you’re up to. Start by copying down the recipes. For continuity and a fluid look to your finished product choose a font and font size and use it throughout the cookbook. I used standard Times Roman, but italicized all quotes. I began by creating a page for each subject. In bold big font I typed out the words, “Appetizers or Hors’doeuvres” and added my own blurb afterâÂ?¦ “Those tasty little bits that come before the full course. They entice, invite, and whet our appetites for what’s coming next.” I centered the writing on the page to give it a polished look. I saved my work in the cookbook file and began copying all appetizer recipes. It’s up to you how many recipes you wish to fit on each page. I used a larger font size and chose to put only 1 or 2 recipes on each page. I repeated the process with soups, entrees, breads & rolls, and desserts. As I typed recipes and looked at my notes I would often include a paragraph before the recipe to explain its history; where it came from, who loved it, who didn’t. Some were childhood memories, some were recent. Ex) Potato Soup – beneath the underlined title Potato Soup, I added in parenthesis who gave the recipe to me (Aunt Nancy) and then beneath the name I wrote: “Aunt Nancy gave me this recipe and it is the best potato soup I’ve ever tasted! It’s thick, creamy, and soothes the soul.” Then I typed in the recipe and saved it. I didn’t do this with all the recipes I included, only those that I had something to say. Add an index, a forward, or anything you want. I typed a letter of love as a forward. It’s very important while typing all your recipes to save them in an organized manner. Create a file for each subject and save the recipes in that file. Save on CD or disk just in case a catastrophe should befall your computer. You don’t want all that hard work to fall into cyberspace land of the lost.

Personal Cookbook Gift: Create the Cookbook
You’ve finished creating pages of recipes, quotes, and memories, now it’s time to go shopping. Head for a craft store, Staples, or anywhere you can purchase three ring binders. You’ll also need plastic sleeves, plenty of print paper and card stock pages for the divisions of recipes. You can color coordinate, make each cookbook unique to the recipient or keep them all the same. I purchased black three ring binders that had a plastic sleeve covering the outside. I used card stock all in the same parchment color and one was slipped into the outside sleeve of the notebook with the title in huge, bold font. Your cookbook can be bright and bold or more subtle and elegant. It really is all up to you. Print off your division pages, your recipes, and slip pages into the plastic sleeves. Organize the cookbook according to layout plans to create the actual cookbook.

A wonderful part of creating a cookbook like this is that it can easily be added to. When a new recipe comes along add it to the file. When enough recipes have been compiled and filed, print them off, slide them into sleeves and give them as gifts in the following years. The ideas of what to include are endless. You could add things like photographs, drawings, and all manner of memorabilia. Don’t wait until the shopping countdown has begun; decide to do something different this year. Decide to create a family cookbook as a gift to family and friends. This is not a gift project that can be done overnight. It takes some thought, some research, and some time. The cost to create a very personal cookbook for family and friends is minimal, but the labor of love lives on and on.

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