The Beginning
How It All Began

It all started in late October of 2000. I decided that I wanted to make a family cookbook for my family and give copies as Christmas gifts. So I wrote letters, sent email and made phone calls, asking for everyone’s help. I sent the request out to my family and my husband’s.

I’d never done anything like this before, so I looked online and in bookstores for any helpful information I might find that would offer suggestions for how to go about compiling a cookbook. All I found were books about writing cookbooks, generally. Undaunted, I forged ahead. Mistakes were made, but about an exhausting month later, I had my heirloom.

There were days that I would spend twelve hours or more in front of my computer. Dinner got a little burned more times than I care to recall. We were quite lucky in that my husband had at work a comb binder that we borrowed, which helped greatly in getting it put together at a minimum expense to us. (And in the midst of all this, I was taking my three-year-old to a pediatric psychologist for an evaluation – she was diagnosed with autism that December.)

Because I had learned so much from my own mistakes (like allowing less than three months to put it all together), I decided it would be helpful to others if I posted my experience on a webpage, figuring that there must be others who are seeking the same information I was unable to find. Since I already had a family website, I added a page to it for “Creating a Family Cookbook.” That page was recognized as Site of the Day in June 2001 by Family Tree Magazine, and in a Dummies e-newsletter in December 2002. Three years after I compiled the cookbook, I sat down to write what I thought was going to be a pamphlet of information. Forty pages later, I realized what I was writing was a book, not a pamplet.

Several months later, Creating an Heirloom: Writing Your Family’s Cookbook was born. It is my fondest hope that I can help people create their own heirlooms. If nothing else, I hope to raise awareness of the idea of recipes as valuable pieces of family history, something worthy of archiving and preserving.

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A lot of encouragement came from folks who probably didn’t even know it. I get a lot of email from people who ask questions, tell me their solutions to problems they had arise, or just say “thanks!” I really enjoy hearing from the people who have found my suggestions useful. I love hearing that another family has preserved their recipes for future generations. I even love the poignant stories I’ve received, ones that brought me to tears.

It is the knowledge that I have helped a few people that encouraged me to try and help more, and that is why I wrote Creating an Heirloom. So if you have a story to tell, a question to ask, or a suggestion to share, please email me (visit the Contact page). I’d love to hear from you!

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