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I'm Compiling a Family Cookbook... Any Hints?

This Christmas, I am working to assemble a family cookbook; essentially a collection of recipes and stories that are frequently enjoyed in my extended family. The only other book I have written was my margarita book a while back, so I am looking for any hints from those who have taken on the task.

One big question I have is about writing recipes. Anyone know of a standard when writing about measurements? For example, I use two medium onions in my Pork Jambalaya recipe, which translates to 4 cups, chopped. Same with garlic - 2 tbsp., or 6 cloves? I am a practical cook and all of my written recipes have the quantity, such as 2 onions, or 6 cloves, but many professionally written cookbooks have the measurements. Which one do you relate to better?

I know there are several options out there for publishing and right now I am leaning toward the Self -Published route (Kinko's) with plain white paper, comb binding and a cool looking cover. The other option would be a type of self publishing company that is frequently used by fundraisers for schools and churches. My only reason for self publishing would be the free-form use of text and stories that may not fit into a one-size fits all template. I want this to be a book full of stories that go along with each recipe.

Anyone else taken on this task? For the writing, the compiling or the publishing?

Anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks so much!


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  1. Kevin - To answer only a small part of your questions: quantities such as 2 medium onions and 6 gloves of garlic are perfectly acceptable to me. In fact I prefer that over measuring such things. Best of luck with your project!

    2 Replies
    1. re: kstroble

      I'm the opposite - I prefer actual measurements - and I think if your audience includes people who may be novice cooks, I think the actual measurements would be safer. I hate figuring out if an onion is "medidium" or whether to use the large garlic clove or the small one. Good luck - sounds like a fun project.

      1. re: MMRuth

        Why not give both - "2 medium onions (4 cups chopped)"?

        Regarding the book production - are you producing this book as a family Christmas gift, or are you planning to publish and sell it? If it's a family gift, I would definitely go with self-publishing. If you're planning to sell it, you can still self-publish - I know I would, but I'm very hands-on about that kind of thing and have lots of amateur design experience.

        My mom made a small family cookbook in 2000 which she produced entirely on her own - she wrote up the recipes and short introductions to each, set up the text with clip-art illustrations, and copied and hand-bound it! (She had taken a couple of classes in bookbinding, and bound it hardcover. Not actually practical as a cookbook, but it's a gorgeous little thing.) But we're a very small family - she only made 12 copies. She passed away in 2005, and I treasure the book, even though the thing I actually cook from is the big old blue 3-ring binder full of recipes...

    2. There are a number of books available on how to write a recipe. Here's a link to one of the best ones:


      There are also many books available on self-publishing as well as quite a bit of information online.

      Either method of listing ingredients is entirely acceptable. Many cookbooks will list both, as in "3 ounces Gruyere, grated (about 3/4 cup)." The most important thing is that you be consistent throughout and not do it one way in one recipe and one way in another.

      How you decide to have your book produced depends on what you are willing to spend and how much work you're willing to do yourself. You imply that self-publishing may give you more options in terms of layout, but there are a number of software programs that will allow to you set up the book any way you choose. You need not be locked into a one-size-fits-all template. Some of these programs, such as Quark, are professional programs and have quite a steep learning curve. But Microsoft Publisher, which you may already have, affords quite a bit of flexibility and may suit your needs.

      1. Kevin... I don't know if this will help you or not, but I asked some similar questions last year in this thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... Unfortunately, my cookbook is not coming along very well due to reluctant participants! The people I knew I could count on came through, but the rest are being difficult! Good luck!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Katie Nell

          Thanks for the link Katie; I had actually read that thread when I did a search for "family cookbook," it was very helpful. I figured I would ask again anyway in case there were some new members here and had some recent experiences.

          As far as the measurements, I'll probably do both, though I don't make a habit of measuring how much yield I get from an onion or a clove of garlic.

          I'm going to do a self-publish on this one, probably spiral bound with the wire, not the comb. Thanks for the suggestion on MS Publisher... I don't use it regularly, but I believe I have a copy. I did a Margarita book a couple years back and a graphic designer friend did the layout for me in Quark; though I believe she lost all of the software in the hurricane.

          Anything else I missed?


          1. re: UptownKevin

            I was hoping you would get some new suggestions as well! I think I'm going to do my own as well; it seems like a lot of the companies have more restrictions than I would like.

        2. I printed a collection of Christmas carols a while back.

          For binding, I chose spiral plastic wire-bound instead of the wider plastic "Cerlox" (comb?) for durability. The wire looks less bulky, and the book can still open up completely flat. It seems the wider plastic becomes brittle after a few years.

          Good luck with your project!

          1. By the way, thanks for posting this... it's made me realize I need to get on the ball with my project! Anyway, as I was searching around today, I ran across this blog: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/... I haven't read through it entirely yet, but it seems to have some good information.

            1. I did this as a continuing project for several years. I used a loose-leaf binder format so I could add more as we went along. I got recipes written in people's own hand sometimes and kept them that way - it was more meaningful for people to have Gramie's chocolate zucchini bread recipe copied in her handwriting on the notepaper she always used.

              I also included photos of the people involved.

              Have fun.

              1. Kevin,
                I made cookbooks for my grown -up kids last year for christmas. I did family favs and then also their personal fav recipes.. I wrote the recipes on the computer, printed them out (with exact measurements, since none of them are experienced cooks),put them in plastic sleaves and then into a very nice three ring binder. I found a great food picture that I copied and inserted into the front of the binder which made it look like a real cookbook.Also named the book. Not only did I include stories about some of the recipes, but I also included pictures(copied at Kinko's) of them as they were growning up. Some of the pictures included the food the recipe was for, such as a fav. birthday cake, etc. It took me a good 2 months to do this project and I worked on it prob. about 2 hours every day.
                Yes, it was a lot of work, but well worth it. They love it, actually cook recipes out of it,enjoy the stories and pictures as well. I included recipes from their grandmas and aunts as well.When I had the recipes written in grandma and aunts own hand, I photocopied them and then included them with the printed copy. I know they will enjoy this book for many years and it will be a reminder of how food keeps a family together. I left plenty of extra sleaves so they could add their own family favs as well. Good luck with your project and if you have time, please report back.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jackie de

                  jackie de, I believe we must have been separated at birth! I've done the exact same thing, calling it "The Mother-In-Law Cookbook". Since their father and all the grandmas have died, it is especially poignant. Food memories are especially strong ties as well as wownderful memories.

                  UptownKevin, hope this inspires you to continue with your project. Nothing else can take the place of work from your heart. One of the reasons I chose to use plastic sleeves and a loose leaf binder is the ability to add momentos, recipes, etc as time passes. Good Luck on your project.

                  1. re: Sherri

                    Sister Sherri,Wasn't this a really fun gift to make? When I was typing out the recipes, it brought back so many memories of my kids childhood. It was a much of a gift for me as for them. I loved using the full size sleeves and recipes. It makes it easy to read and add your own comments. What a great idea we had!

                2. I made one several years ago to give as gifts. I found recipe binders that have 2 - 4x6 slots per page (kind of like a photo album) it is in a small 3 ring binder format.

                  I printed out the recipes on 4x6 cards and when I could, included a photo of the recipe.

                  The nice part is, several years later, I gave "insert packs", new recipes on cards with photos for people to slip into their binders.

                  1. Kevin,

                    Several years back the parents assoc created a recipe file that was very popular. We used a common Rolodex as our binder.

                    Each recipe fit on a 4x6 index card; photo on one side; recipe on other. The plastic sleeve protected the recipes and the A-Z index could be used however the owner wanted (I used mine by contributors last name).

                    Recipes were accepted in all forms, as the author intended (eg: hand written, pinch of this, exact measurements) and it made for a unique cookbook.

                    Perhaps these ideas can assist you.

                    1. Put a date on each recipe. And a note of how it was obtained, i.e. dictated to, written down by, etc.
                      My sister and I were compiling family recipes after Katrina and we each had "the recipe" for Mama's Oyster Dressing. Actually, I found two versions of it and they were different! I had fortunately dated them when Mama had given them to me - about 8 years apart. My sister's version was a third version altogether, yet Mama's dressing always tasted exactly the same. Go figure. She apparently just winged it on measurements or changed them over the years. Totally typical of good home cooks and family recipes. She died several years ago so we can't ask. We included all three, my sister and I make the dressing differently still, but it tastes pretty much like Mama's.

                      1. It depends how creative you want to be. To get ideas I recommend craftster and flickr. Craftster has a huge community of crafters and has specific forums dedicated to book making. Flickr has a lot of people's projects on it.


                        1. Hey, I am doing the same thing for my family. But they are sending me the recipes so it can be like an heirloom thing. Fortunately I have a cooking database from: http://www.ffts.com/ so it is easy to plug things in. Many of the cookbook publishers will take the database as input to their publishing systems and that can save you some good money.

                          I am planning on 365 recipes and about 300 copies for our family and extended family - should cost over a thousand bucks but I am sure we will cover that easily.

                          This will take at least 3 months - but I am getting the recipes by emails so it is just a cut-and-paste effort into the inport screen.

                          Be glad to send you the details by separate email - have it on my website but don't want to give spammers the chance to get to it by posting here.

                          Good luck and take care,


                          1. To Kevin and all.

                            In regard to your question of measurement. If you want to be completely accurate, measure everything by weight. Of course this doesn't count when it comes to spices,etc. But volume by weight is the most accurate. Especially when it comes to baking. It can be critical in some cases.

                            As for "Medium onion" or "Two cloves of garlic" I think they're perfectly fine because everyone will adjust their opinion of what exactly that measurement is if they choose to recerate that recipe. A ballpark of one cup or two or whatever is a good idea but cooking is about feel. Baking is about formula. I can't tell you how many times I've looke at a ***** recipe that someone has posted and know that the amount of onion (as an example) is not enough for my tastes.

                            Besides, you make a recipe once as it's published, then you adjust to your tastes. It's then your recipe. This is what cooking is all about.


                              1. i think going by "one medium onion" or "2 cloves garlic" is fine.
                                as for weights.. thats a bit tricky, i don't know anyone who wants to bother weighing out things. on the other hand, for baking, if something is really finicky, weight might be good, but i've never had any problems baking with just the regular measurements (eg. cups. tbsp. etc.)

                                1. I have a recipe card that belonged to my Grandmother that is written in her own hand. I think that when possible to include recipes written by hand by the person whom the recipe is original to would be a nice touch.

                                  1. You might find it useful to download Google's free Picasa program - I just recall it has some interesting photo layout options at the touch of a button - if you'll be including pics. Like the poster above suggested you could include recipe cards written by people in their own handwriting (as a graphic) - just take a pic of the recipe card, take a pic of the finished product or get the person whose recipe it is to send you a pic... slap them into Picasa and you'll probably come up with some interesting illustration for the recipe which I'd recommend still typing in too.

                                    1. Whatever else you choose to do as far as printing and binding, put it online!
                                      You could do this simply by uploading whatever file you've used to generate
                                      the book, or more complicatedly by making a special online edition. I think I'd
                                      generate the recipes in pdf and upload them, but whatever option suits you.

                                      Several people in my family have done this (both) and while I've lost the paperbound
                                      versions, I refer to the online recipes all the time.

                                      One bit of advice: have someone else proofread and test. For example, are you
                                      *sure* that 2 medium onions are going to produce 4 cups chopped? My aunt's
                                      book, while filled with all the great things she cooks, is so filled with mistakes
                                      it's more a book of suggestions than actual recipes.

                                      1. For anyone trying to pull off a recipe collection between now and Christmas: As an alternative to a cookbook, several years ago I put together a recipe calendar to give friends and family. (I used my own recipes, and was not trying to collect from throughout the family). It is certainly easier to put together 12 pages than a vast collection (although I still spent a huge amount of time on it, but that’s me). The calendar approach also offers the opportunity to organize recipes seasonally.

                                        With each month’s recipe I included a brief personal anecdote, e.g., about a childhood food memory, a meal I’d shared with a relative that inspired me to come up with the recipe, or referencing a birthday or family occasion that month which the recipe could pertain to. The recipe calendar gift was a hit, but the lesson I learned was this: Despite all the time I spent writing the recipes and trying to come up with accurate measurements for ingredients (I am more of an improvisational cook, but knew my audience would be looking for specific measurements), what people enjoyed most were those “little stories.” If you are putting together a gift for family and friends, by all means, go for the personal. And consider your audience when deciding how much time you want to spend on being meticulous about the food details.

                                        1. I hope this isn't too late for your project - take a look at www.blurb.com. This is an on-line publishing house for people who want to publish one book or many copies. They have templates and guidelines for want-to-be-authors, and have an entire section devoted to cookbook development. They earn their money through consultant guidance if you want the service, and the publishing of your book. You can have one printed and bound (hard copy at that!)or order several copies if you want to distribute them as gifts. I heard about them on NPR, when the owner was being featured on a business program. Pretty interesting.

                                          Regarding format, take a look at the books you like to use. As an example, Barefoot Contessa series has an easy-to-read/understand format. As others have commented, photos help. It makes a recipe come alive to the visually inclined.

                                          Best of luck!

                                          1. Just an update on the cookbook...

                                            It's December 20th - 5 days before Christmas and the cookbook is almost complete. Yesterday I decided that a better quality book that was one week late was better than a basic book on time. Family can wait; they're forgiving.

                                            I've done the complete book in MS Word and will convert it to a PDF file before publishing, using a free program called CutePDF (www.cutepdf.com). I have access to Acrobat, but I downloaded this program on my computer and it works fine. This morning I began the finishing touches. I got a one week subscription to Clipart.com and began inserting some images into the recipes. I didn't want to do photos since high quality printing would be cost prohibitive.

                                            I'm currently at about 100 total pages, which will produce a book of about 60-65 pages total (with TOC, intro, etc.). The front and back covers will be laminated and it will be plastic-spiral bound (not the comb binding).

                                            As soon as it is finished, I'll upload it to my website for anywone who would like a copy. It's got a ton of good dessert recipes and a lot of New Orleans classics. It's very well rounded and covers just about the whole gamut. I can't wait until it is finished!


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: UptownKevin

                                              Kevin- Thanks for reporting back! You're more on track than I am! I'm going to be late with mine too, but it will be much more than a week! Please do post pictures of it if you can.

                                            2. Any updates on your progress?

                                              I have 209 recipes now in my family cookbook database and expect to be published by June 30th. GWATCDR



                                              1. I've always wanted to do a compilation of recipes. My problem is finding a easy standard form for writing the recipes. Does anyone have one or have a suggestion?

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: paprkutr

                                                  Yes, based on the Now You're Cooking database system which has the following (and more): Note: this is from a booklet I am developing because others have expressed an interest in doing what I am doing:

                                                  "The recipe format is needed to make sure whatever recipes are submitted for your cookbook that they contain the essential items needed for the cookbook. After all, how would someone prepare a recipe which didn't have, for example, the ingredients listed in it? So here is what it looks like:

                                                  The Recipe Name: (no special characters): “Aunt Dot's Pineapple Upsidedown Cake”
                                                  Categories: (Appetizer, Main Dish, etc): “Dessert”
                                                  Ingredients: ( Each line must contain number, measurement, description of the ingredient):
                                                  1 can (16oz) Pineapple slices
                                                  1/4 cup butter(1 cube)
                                                  1 cup brown sugar
                                                  maraschino cherries { there can be just the ingredient itself if the item is an accessory or option.}
                                                  3 ea fresh eggs, separated; set aside whites
                                                  Directions: (This is the free-form section of the recipe and just about anything goes)
                                                  Melt the butter in a large cast-iron frying pan and add the brown sugar, taking it off the heat. {etc}
                                                  Yield: (Normally always expressed in terms of servings): 8 servings
                                                  Prep time: (This is the time it takes to assemble the dish, NOT the cooking time): 15 minutes
                                                  Contributor: (You really must include this – especially if you want people to pay for it): Sandi

                                                  Using this format will help greatly in putting together your cookbook... you can copy this and distribute it for people to follow. Make sure they put one ingredient per line... makes your job that much easier."

                                                  I hope that helps you...


                                                  1. re: paprkutr

                                                    I really liked Matilda's Fantastic Cookbook Software published by The Cookbook People for this. You can just paste in an entire recipe into one big field, instead of having to do all the drop down menu nonsense.

                                                    I built a recipe book with about 120 recipes in it in about ten hours (although I'm still adding photos here and there as I get to it).

                                                    Here's their site:

                                                    There may be other software that does the same thing. I couldn't find any, though.

                                                  2. The only advice I can add to anyone doing a family cookbook is, print extra copies! My family wishes we had. It takes surprisingly little time for kids to grow up and leave home and want their own copies, and there's no way their parents are letting go of theirs! After my mom passed away, I had a couple of cousins ask me if I had plans for hers, because they had grown kids who wanted one. And then there will be people who want to give them as wedding gifts, or for no particular occasion, to non-family members who appreciate heirloom recipes.

                                                    1. I wanted to thank everyone for their support and input on the topic of compiling my family cookbook, titled "Family and Food." I actually finished writing mine before my self imposed deadline, but getting it printed and shipped was a different story. I settled on having them printed at Office Depot; black and white printing with a black plastic spiral binding (not a comb binding), black back cover and clear front cover. They come out perfect and were a hit. My mom actually has a list of people that want to buy copies from me and I am selling them for $15 to cover the printing and shipping costs. However, I'm not in the printing business, so at this time I am not distributing the book in any way, except for electronic format in PDF.

                                                      After printing and reading, I realized my favorite part of the book was the commentary and stories written by family members. There are a lot of classic New Orleans recipes there, as well as family traditions, but the stories are what glued it all together. Next time, that will be my focus.

                                                      After a bit of procrastination, I finally put the file on my website. Feel free to download and print out any good recipes (they're all good) and email me with any questions or comments. I put a lot of work into it; I hope you will all benefit.



                                                      1. Love all the cool ideas. I've been collecting heirloom recipes from my family and my wife's family for a couple of years. To make the project more manageable, and because it's difficult to get recipes from everyone in a timely manner, I turn them into recipe cards rather than try to create a book. The first year, I gave everyone a recipe box, and a few cards to start the collection. I created templates using Excel to input the recipes and make it easy to print copies. The template allows for a short description of where the recipe came from, and hopefully the story and what makes it an heirloom recipe. There is also room for a photo of the person who submitted the recipe to me, which I also add a date. I find it easier to do a couple dozen each year, and is also easier for my family to read through them and generate new interest in the project each year. Some members of my family have given me hundreds of recipes to choose from to support the project for many years, while others need to be hounded to submit recipes that I feel are important to include. Other members will send me something they came across in a magazine that looked good, which isn't the intention of my project. But, I do have fun with it, and it keeps me in touch with my family through out the year as we talk about our family history through food. Especially when we get together for the holidays and pull out our cards to make dinner and carry on the tradition.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: egbluesuede

                                                          What kind of template did you make? I have been trying to come up with something, yours sounds good. Can you post a copy? Thanks

                                                          1. re: paprkutr

                                                            If I did this correctly, there should be 2 excel files attached to my response. These are my recipe card templates that are formatted to print out to 4 x 6 cards. One is a 1 page template that can hold 2 recipes, and the other is a 2 page template for longer or more complicated recipes. You can cut the photo out and paste in one of your own to make it yours. The cells should be formatted already so all you have to do is click on one of them and start typing. I don't have anything locked down, so you can shuffle things around a little if you know excel without messing up the format. If you do add or delete lines though, it will screw up the size of the card, so be careful with that. Hope these work for you. Enjoy!

                                                            1. re: egbluesuede

                                                              Thank you, but nothing is showing up on your response, or I'm not reading it right. I appreciate your taking the time to upload.

                                                              1. re: paprkutr

                                                                Sorry about that. I checked with tech help, and I can't upload excel files. I'm only able to upload images and jpgs. They recommended that I use a free file hosting website and link to it there. I'm not sure where to post something like that but am open to suggestions if anyone has one???

                                                                1. re: egbluesuede

                                                                  I appreciate your trying, but I haven't a clue what you are talking about. Maybe someone else does.

                                                        2. Kevin, here's an example of the kind of recipe that drives me nuts. I copied it from a website and wrote the writer for explanations. His email addy is no longer good and my email came back.

                                                          "Yield: 1 Servings [sic]

                                                          12 Limes
                                                          2 Pods garlic
                                                          4 Inch piece ginger
                                                          8 Green chillies
                                                          1 tablespoon Chilli powder
                                                          12 tablespoon Sugar
                                                          1 cup Vinegar

                                                          Clean the limes and chop into smallish pieces, removing the seeds. Keep any lime juice that collects whilst chopping. Finely slice the garlic, ginger and chillies. Mix together all the ingredients except the vinegar. Cook over a low heat until mixture is thick. Add the vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool and bottle. Eat after 3-4 weeks."

                                                          Now, I suppose an experienced chutney-maker, esp. an English one like the writer, would know exactly what he's talking about. But being neither of those, I wrote him:

                                                          Dear Mr.______,

                                                          "I just found your lime chutney recipe on the web and have some questions.

                                                          (1) Any preferred kind of chiles? Mild ones like Anaheims? Big, little? We have so many kinds of green chiles.
                                                          (2) Ginger root, you mean--not crystalized ginger? Four inches of a fat root or a skinny one? Could you give the approx. amt. in tablespoons or ounces?

                                                          (3) Any preference as to type of vinegar? Some lime chutney recipes specify malt vinegar, some white wine vinegar.

                                                          (4) You really mean two whole pods (bulbs) of garlic, not cloves (toes) ?

                                                          (5) How much does the recipe make?

                                                          (6) Is it not necessary to process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes if the chutney won't be used for 3-4 weeks?

                                                          Kindest regards,

                                                          Have you ever seen the McCullough/Witt cookbook, "Classic American Foods Without Fuss?" I do believe it's the best-written, most informative and fun-to-read cookbook I've seen. The italicized notes/options/sources/shortcuts at the end of almost every recipe are the notes of a careful, resourceful, innovative, enthusiastic, sharing kind of cook and I've found countless unexpected bonus treasures in them. If I were to compile a cookbook--which I might someday--I'd try to model it somewhat on that one.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: PhoebeB

                                                            Hi Everyone!
                                                            I am just beginnig to collect recipes from relatives to put together our own family cookbook. I will be typing it all out in Microsoft Word and I plan to print it all out myself since it will be costlier to use Staples or Kinkos. Kevin, I took the opportunity to download and look at your cookbook. Great job! Thanks for making it available for us to see. I really enjoyed looking at it. I was wondering what style and size font I should use. I started typing in Times New Roman size 14; but that is not allowing me to get 2 recipes per page. I don't want to get too small though. Any suggestions? Anyone?
                                                            Thanks! Patti

                                                            1. re: Bowls111

                                                              When I did one last summer I set up a template in MS Publisher with 12 pt. AGaramond. But my pages were 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 (half page) and my basic template was for one recipe per page. I set up a style for the title with a different font, a style for the ingredients lists with paragraphing set up for easy reading, and a style for the instructions with a different paragraphing. If my recipes are short I could get two on a page, but I didn't try to do more than that.

                                                              My mom's church ladies did a cookbook a couple years ago in a "large print edition." The basic format is 18 pt., one recipe per page, although they also have two or three short recipes per page. Their pages are full-size (8 1/2 x 11). The books they sold were bound with plastic combs, and the ones they made for themselves and their relatives are 3-ring bound. (I am not a big fan of full-size 3-ring recipe binders, personally, because they don't fit on my bookshelf.)

                                                              1. re: revsharkie

                                                                Thanks for your comments, Revsharkie! I really appreciate you taking the time to type. As of now I am leaning towards the full size 3 ring binder. I haven't ruled out the 51/2 by 81/2. I like that idea a lot; but not sure I can do it. This is all so new to me and I am learning Word as I go. It's going well so far! I like the style I'm typing in so far; but that may change too as I get further along. Right now I am typing in 14 Times New Roman. I am starting each recipe by centering the title then single or double spacing to add any comments the contributor made about the recipe. Then triple line space between that and Ingredients. Single line space each bulletted ingredient and then another triple space for Directions and single space each numbered direction. As you can see I am not doing paragraghs. I finish by double or triple spacing and add the Contributor's name and how many serviings. I plan to print out each page when I am all done typing and entering recipes in a few months. Then I will put each page in a protective sleeve and put in a 3 ring binder. I plan to make about 25 and hopefully have it done in time to give as Christmas gifts. I have a lot of potential contributors who are procrastinating but love the fact I have started doing this. We'll see. I have quite a nice selection already so I am happy about that. It's a good start so far. I don't plan to do an index because I want this to be a tried and true book of family favorites so I want it be expandable as the years go by. I Sound good? Any comments are greatly appreciated. Patti

                                                                1. re: Bowls111

                                                                  Sounds good to me.

                                                                  The one thing I might suggest is that you do your ingredients in a table so you can make it two columns. But if what you're doing works, it's fine. After all, as long as folks can read and follow the recipes, and they evoke memories of good times with family, your cookbook is successful.

                                                                  1. re: revsharkie


                                                                    You really ought to spend a minute or two looking at the cookbook software I mentioned above (Matilda's Fantastic Cookbook Software at http://www.cookbookpeople.com/). You could easily copy and paste the recipes from Word right into the software without any hassle, and it'd take care of all the formatting for you.

                                                                    It also automatically creates a Table Of Contents organized by type (Entree, Bread, Salad, Soup, etc), and alphabetized within each type. Makes it super-easy to come up with ideas for dinner.

                                                                    Plus it's got a really easy way to build a family birthday calendar and address book that you can stick in your recipe book. When I go visit my two daughters I always see their family cookbooks sitting near the phone.

                                                                    It sounds like you've put a lot of work into your book, but you could copy and paste all your recipes over in probably an hour or so.

                                                                    Anyway, it's interesting to see how many people are now making family cookbooks. I think this is becoming the post-scrapbooking Next Big Thing.

                                                                    1. re: LindaMurphy

                                                                      Hey Linda,
                                                                      After I posted to Revsharkie, earlier, I did go up and reread all the posts in this thread and I did start reading about Matilda's Fabulous Cookbook software. Thanks for sending the link! Too bad I did not run into it when I did all my research several months ago about how to go about this project. It looks like a neat program. I will be looking at it again. Thanks a lot! Patti

                                                                      1. re: LindaMurphy

                                                                        Hi Linda!
                                                                        I don't know if you are still reading this thread but I am thinking about getting Matilda's Fantastic Cookbook Software especially since Word is giving me a lot of headaches and I have already reentered my Chicken recipes twice. The more I look at Matilda's site, the more I like it and wish I had started off with it. Did you finish your book? Is it really easy as they say? Is putting in pictures easy? Do you know how big the font is in the finished book? I can't tell from the sample if it's big enough. Thanks for any further feedback from anyone!

                                                                      2. re: revsharkie

                                                                        Thanks again Revsharkie!
                                                                        I like your idea of a 2 column ingredient list and will surely experiment with it soon. Thanks for the tips and feel free to keep them coming. Patti

                                                                2. re: PhoebeB

                                                                  I couldn't agree more. This is particularly a problem with family recipes, because the originator has usually made this dish so many times they don't even think about it anymore. I would suggest getting a friend who has good cooking skills but is new to these recipes to review them before publication. This will allow them to bring up any questions that the recipe leaves unresolved.

                                                                3. I enjoyed all the replies> Using frontpage I made a great online cookbook. My frustration is that NONE of these so-called publishing formats (Word, Publisher, Serif Page Plus) have workable templates to actually create a a book -- in which the pages would be collated as to print both sides of a page. I nearly pulled it off with Publisher, but it was damn difficult. Word does have a cookbook template but so far I have not been able to figure it out. I need to create an index. If anyone has used this template I would appreciate any tips. Until then I will check out the help feature.
                                                                  Three publishing programs and not ONE has a template for a book. Shame on them all! Fifteen years ago I created a garden magazine that printed out beatifuly. This was done with Ami-pro on Windows 3.1 Sadly I no longer have that defunked, outdated and totally superior product!