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Are you making a specialty food?

Anyone ever make a cookbook?

chrissytine Feb 19, 2008 03:11 PM

Like, just for family and friends. I'm thinking Christmas presents and I want to start early. There are a few websites, anyone have any suggestions or comments? Thanks.

  1. f
    FriedClamFanatic Mar 20, 2009 02:35 PM

    Many, many years ago, my darling wife gave me a spiral-bound, cork-covered empty "journal" for me to list my recipes ( I think it was 1997; I had it filled by 2002 - I'm now 3/4trs of the way through vol 2). She said I made so many good things I should record them. So I did, along with the date, any guests or family, anything interesting happening in the world on that day(or in my garden), etc. All handwritten, all chronological. When it was filled, we decided it would be our Christmas present that year.

    I added a few Excel spreadsheets at the back listing the item, the date, what type it was (bread, entree, veg, dessert, etc), key ingredients, who the "victims" were that ate it first, etc. Where there were blank spots, I had my kids draw B&W pictures. Added a few pages of fluff and took it to Kinko's or one of them to be printed(xeroxed).

    Was Plastic coated and spiral bound. Total of 208 pages. Made about 50-70 copies. Sent to all the "victims" as well as friends and family who weren't here to try something (including a bunch of friends from the UK when we lived there back in the 80-90's).

    Ended up costing about as much as if I had bought them a best-seller cookbook, but it was the thought that counted. Got lots of nice notes. i may do it again with Vol 2!

    I think the "trick" is to make it memorable somehow. I love the idea about soliciting recipes (maybe vol 3?).

    2 Replies
    1. re: FriedClamFanatic
      hangrygirl Mar 20, 2009 04:24 PM

      Wow, that sounds amazing! And in all honesty, as sleek as a lot of cookbooks one can make with the use of computer software/internet vendors can look - you really can't beat handwritten recipes. It just feels more genuine. My mother has a plain ring binder in which she just puts recipes - hand-written, photocopied, stained with butter, flour and cocoa and I adore looking through it.

      1. re: hangrygirl
        FriedClamFanatic Mar 20, 2009 05:26 PM

        I freely admit that other than myself, I bet the recipes in the book haven't been used more than 10 times by any of the recipients. But, as they say, it was the thought that counts. And folks did respond kindly. My Christmas presents tend to be offbeat and very personalized. Most of our family and friends have all they need, so it's more of a "rememberance" than a needed gift (one year, they all got spring bulbs in October - a Christmas gift that would remind them of us every year thereafter! Another year, I found a family geneaology site, so each sibling got a 3 yr memebership.).

        I saw a website that is a woman who collects old, tattered recipes. She started off with some of her mother's that she found in an old tin box and has just added to them from flea markets, friends, and relatives. It's a nice way to remember "things that have gone on"

    2. hangrygirl Mar 20, 2009 08:48 AM

      www.blurb.com is also good for book publishing - I've only used them for a photo book, but I think they'd be good for cookbooks as well!

      1 Reply
      1. re: hangrygirl
        Ruth Lafler Mar 20, 2009 02:00 PM

        That depends on what kind of cookbook you want. If the purpose is to be mostly decorative and you want lots of pictures, then that would be good, but if you really want to use it as a cookbook, it's much more practical (cheaper, easier to use) to have it spiral bound. My office once put together a cookbook as a fundraiser, and after we designed it, our local copy shop printed and spiral bound it for us.

      2. m
        Morticia Feb 19, 2008 09:09 PM

        I had a good friend who made a cookbook to use as her wedding favors...she had all of her food-loving friends contribute recipes, and then she had them all printed and bound (inexpensively). It was a cute idea, and the recipes she asked us for were all ones that she and her intended had enjoyed with us...

        1. p
          paprkutr Feb 19, 2008 07:13 PM

          I just bought Matildas Fantastic Cookbook software on line. I found out about it here, do a search. So far the little I have used it it was very easy to use.

          1. l
            LisaN Feb 19, 2008 06:49 PM

            I did this several years ago with binders that look like photo albums - the pages have 2 openings on a page roughly 4x6 in size. I typed the recipes up and printed them on heavier stock and took pictures of many of the recipes I included. THis way, it was easy to give out recipe expander packs for birthdays etc. and people could have places for their own recipes.

            1. jnstarla Feb 19, 2008 05:15 PM

              Blogger and cookbook author Heidi Swanson posted about this site on her blog sometime in December:


              I have not tried it though, so cannot personally vouch for how they turn out.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jnstarla
                hangrygirl Feb 20, 2008 03:10 AM

                The tastebooks *look* very pretty - I'm very tempted to try it!! I'll report back if I do choose to give it a shot!

                1. re: hangrygirl
                  mjhals Mar 20, 2009 03:10 PM

                  I used Tastebook this Christmas to make a cookbook for my mom. I was very pleased with the result. If I recall correctly, you can kind of inter-use it with epicurious, so you can include your own recipes as well as select some from epicurious. I thought it turned out really nice and professional-looking, highly recommend it.

              2. s
                Sherri Feb 19, 2008 04:41 PM

                Last year there were several posts on this topic including one which solicited recipes from family members to be a family reunion (?) gift for everyone. I recall that different software types, websites as well as publishing options were discussed. Sorry that I cannot be more help. Good luck.

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