Sample Chapter
Chapter One

Here’s a sample of what you can expect in Creating an Heirloom: Writing Your Family’s Cookbook...

(an excerpt from the first chapter)

Which Cookbook Will You Write?

So you’ve decided to sit down and gather your family’s treasured recipes. Good for you! The aromas from the kitchen can evoke more memories than can mere words. Talking to family about some of their favorite dishes and recollections will provide you with a rich tapestry that you can craft into a cookbook. Your cookbook, an heirloom in the making, will be something everyone in your family will appreciate. Later generations will praise you for your efforts and your foresight in collecting it all in the first place.

The question then becomes, where do you start? You need a clear goal in mind or your project will be an enormous mish-mash of intentions and ideas. Are you collecting recipes from a certain part of your family – just your mom’s side, just your dad’s, your side of the family, your side and your spouse’s? Once you have that decided, you can think about theme. Really, you don’t need one, but it can help you stay on track. If you’re intending for the book to be done for a Christmas gift, you could choose that holiday as your theme. In that Christmas cookbook could be included various special occasion recipes and the sweet treats that are only made once a year. If you’re intending a family reunion cookbook, your focus could be on the more historical aspects of the recipes and the people who made them. Perhaps you want to make a single cookbook to welcome a new bride into your family, and want the family favorites from both families. All of those ideas lend themselves to a theme in both recipe content and look of the cookbook.

Keep in mind that you need to plan in advance for these occasions. If your sibling gets engaged, consider asking folks to contribute recipes as soon as possible, so that you will have plenty of time to get the book finished before the wedding. And don’t start a Christmas gift in November! Three months is the absolute minimum time you should allow yourself to put your cookbook together; six months is a much more reasonable time frame.

Small Families.
It is entirely possible that you don’t have any old family recipes, or that the family members that you could have asked for recipes have passed away. Or maybe your family is just small, or really spread-out, or simply not close-knit. If you still want to make a family cookbook, don’t let those things stop you! Take the dishes your family loves and include those. Write about the birthday cake that your child asks for every year, or the special barbecue you make for Independence Day, and what your family does that day. What do you serve for Christmas dinner? Was there a special celebration for some family milestone?

Your cookbook could be something that you put together out of love for a child leaving home. It could be a tribute not necessarily to your entire family tree, but to your immediate family. The cookbook you write could be a legacy for grandchildren and great-grandchildren you haven’t even met yet. You don’t need an army of relatives to make a family cookbook, just a lot of love… and patience.

You are bound only by your imagination. Hopefully you are now filled with inspiration, and ready to begin!

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