How to Create a Family Recipe Collection


A Great Gift for Family Members

If you’re trying to think of something unique to give your family members for Christmas or Hanukkah, you might consider a family recipe collection. Three years ago I gifted my family with a compilation of recipes from various family members, some living and some no longer with us.  It was enjoyable for me to collect the photos and recipes, organize them and decorate them with colorful Christmas images.  I believe most family members would treasure this as a remembrance of other family members even if they aren’t interested in using the recipes.  This might be a great time to talk with those family members whose recipes you would like but don’t currently have down on paper.  (I have always wished I had my paternal grandmother’s pie crust recipe but now it’s too late to get it.)

Essential Elements for a Family Recipe Collection

First, decide on the format for your Family Recipe Collection.  I chose to use a notebook with plastic protector pages for my Family Favorite Recipes but you could use a recipe file, a scrapbook or a bound book.  If you wish to add more pages at a future date a notebook is ideal for additional pages. 

I bought notebooks with a plastic pocket on the front in which to slip the title page.  Colorful holiday art was added to the title page.

Next, compile the recipes and photos and decide on their arrangement in the book.  I organized my Family Recipe Collection by person.  One page was devoted to a photo of each individual included in the book plus some information about them.  Here’s an example of the page about my Dad.

After the biographical information and photo page, choose the recipes associated with each person that you want to include in your Family Recipe Collection.  People enjoy seeing recipes that were hand-written so if you have them include recipes in a family member’s handwriting.  In the case of my Dad, he typed all his recipes on the typewriter so I didn’t re-type them on the computer but left the recipes as he had typed them.  Here’s his recipes as he typed them:

Here’s an example of a handwritten recipe (from my Mom) with the printed recipe below the handwritten one:

Add some artistic touches to the pages to make them more interesting. Since my maternal grandparents were photographers I have many photos from the past and I used many of them in my Family Recipe Collection. Here’s one example:

My Aunt Juanita is wearing the print dress and my mother is in the solid-colored dress.  This photo was taken by my Grandfather Warren in the early 1940’s.  Below is another vintage photo on another recipe page:

Here’s another page with artwork instead of photos:

After the recipe pages are finished, you may want to add in some other pages such as an introduction, some pages with photos and quotes about the family, a page at the end with your photo (you are the editor!) and perhaps a page related to the holidays you’re celebrating.  Some of the pages I included are as follows:

After all the pages are complete, find a large space to spread out all the pages to organize them in the order you prefer.  If you wish you may want to number the pages.  I chose not to number the pages so I could add more pages at a later date if I wanted to do so.  (I was glad I didn’t number the pages as I later received recipes from cousins that I added to my copy of the Family Recipe Collection.) 

With all the recipes in the order you like, write down a table of contents.  This should be an easy task once you’ve organized the pages.  Here’s the Table of Contents for my book:

Printing is the next order of business in completing your Family Recipe Collection.  Depending on the number of copies you need, you can either print them yourself (assuming you have a printer) or you can take the completed book to a print shop.  A print shop may collate them for you if you desire this service.

Once the printed copies are complete and collated, you can wrap them in Christmas wrapping paper or put them in a gift bag if you wish.  I’m sure your family members will really appreciate all your efforts! 

Future Post – Hot Mushroom Turnovers

The next post will feature one of my favorite holiday appetizers – Hot Mushroom Turnovers.  Until then, I’ll leave you with another quote I used in my Family Recipe Collection: 

“Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future.”  Gail Lumet Buckley

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


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8 Comments on “How to Create a Family Recipe Collection

  1. I love the idea of including family photos and recipes in their handwriting. This will be a gift to treasure.

  2. Hi Karen, I was very blessed to have lots of “vintage” photos of family members to add to my book. One nice thing that happened was I received copies of handwritten recipes from my cousins (that I didn’t already have) after I gave them the Family Recipe Collection for our family. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments! Blessings, Janet

  3. I love this idea! It’s a wonderful way to remember loved ones and also to start a family tradition, like adding one new recipe every year, for example!
    If you have time, I would love for you to share this post over at the Holidays Celebration link party that is live right now! It’s such a neat idea, I’m sure our readers would love it too! (

  4. Thank you for linking up to the Holidays Celebration Link Party! Your post has been pinned to the party’s Pinterest board ( Feel free to link up other posts too, and stay tuned for the features on Friday!

  5. Hi Teresa, I like your idea of adding new recipes annually. I’ll have to see if I can get my cousins to bring recipes to our annual December luncheon to add to our family recipe collection book! Great idea! I’m going to the Holidays Celebration link party now. Blessings, Janet

  6. Thanks for hosting the Holidays Celebration Link Party, Teresa! Thanks also for pinning my post. Happy Thanksgiving! Blessings, Janet

  7. I made a scrapbook style recipe book for each of my kids many years ago – I love your addition of photos and hand written recipes too! What a lovely keepsake. Thanks for sharing on What’s for Dinner!

  8. Hi Helen, Thanks for your kind comments. I bet your kids treasure the recipe book you made each of them! An unexpected benefit (for me) was that my cousins sent me recipes from some of my relatives that I didn’t have before after I gifted them with a book. Hope you have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving! Blessings, Janet

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