How To Create a Family Album Recipe Book

Create Your Own Recipe Book Using Family Pictures and Favorite Recipes

Every family has traditions, and one of the most common falls under the category of favorite foods.  Some of these foods come from tried-and-true recipes, others from tweaking on published recipes, and some are just plain made up; but it is what makes each family unique in their traditions.

Many of these recipes tend to get lost down through the ages, so before that happens in your family, create a “family album recipe book” and fill it with favorite pictures and delicious recipes.

You will need:

  • Computer with scanner and color printer
  • Software for importing scanned photographs or pictures sent through e-mail -- it should also allow you to create your recipe pages
  • Binder (optional) and accessories such as plastic covers and spines
  • Paper (good quality, 28 lb) and plenty of ink cartridges

Step 1

Do a little pre-planning. This is your project, so you direct what is going into the recipe book by creating categories. Six general sections could be:

  • Appetizers and Drinks
  • Breads
  • Soups, Salads, and Vegetables
  • Main Dishes
  • Desserts
  • Extras (mixes, rubs, marinades, sauces, and pet and people treats)

Decide who you will ask to be a part of this project. Family members and/or friends of the family will get excited to hear what you hope to accomplish and most will be more than willing to send you photographs and their favorite recipes.

Ask for recipes and pictures. Depending on the size of your family, determine approximately how many pictures and recipes you will need to make a flavor-packed, information-filled book. Usually about 10 photographs and 10 recipes per person is not too difficult to gather. Reassure participants you will send back the photographs once scanned. If the persons participating can e-mail pictures, that works even better – no chance of the pictures getting lost in the mail.

Give a deadline for gathering photographs and recipes. Usually about a month is plenty of time to gather and send these items from your participants.

Step 2

Decide on the set-up of the recipe book. Once you have all the recipes, divide into the categories you have chosen (see above for suggestions). A logical set-up would be:

  • Title Page. This can include the title you have given the recipe book and the categories as shown.
  • Introduction. You might want to describe how these recipes were gathered and the purpose for putting together this book.
  • Cast of Characters. Keep track of everyone sending recipes and list their names. You might even consider describing how they are related to you as a point of reference for everyone else.
  • Chapters. Each grouping could have a cover page with the recipes following.

Step 3

Setting up pages. At this point, it helps to be somewhat familiar with the software you are working in. CorelDraw is a great program for being able to manipulate pictures and text.

  • Scan a photograph or import a photograph onto the page.
  • Position and size this picture on the page. Depending on the recipe, you may want to make the picture larger or smaller to accommodate the complete recipe. If it is a short recipe, you may want to put two selections on one page.
  • Have fun with fonts. You might consider making the title of each recipe a fun, bold, different font, and then use a simple, easy-to-read font (such as Arial) for the ingredients and instructions. You also might consider framing each page in with a box to add definition to the page. Be creative.
  • Save your work. As you set up each page, be sure to save your work.
  • Print the pages. Using your color printer, print off the desired number of each page depending on how many copies you are putting together. You could do this either as you get a page completed or print the entire book when completed. Another possibility – if you do not want to spend time and money printing, head to your local copy center. If you are printing a large number of copies, this might be more cost effective.

Step 4

Bind the pages. Most copy centers will also do binding, but if you are making a high quantity of copies, you might consider purchasing a plastic comb binding machine. The GBC CombBind C100 is a low-priced, affordable, and sturdy binding machine, usually found at most office supplies stores.

If you find yourself purchasing a comb binding machine, you will find multiple uses for it later on.

So now you've gone to all of this organizing, creativity, and assembling – what next? For one thing, provide every participant with a copy – either as a thank you gift for being a part of saving your family's traditions, or as a Christmas gift that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

But, it doesn't stop there. If this recipe book is just too good to keep as a family secret and you would like to share it with friends and acquaintances, remove the family pictures and insert appropriate clipart on the pages.

Give as gifts to teachers and co-workers, remember someone's birthday with a homemade gift, and print a few extra copies for quick thank you gifts.

In the future:

  • Take time to look through the book and revel in the pictures everyone provided.
  • Think about doing this all over again in about ten years.


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