Five Reasons to Make a Christmas Cookbook Now

It’s early September and yes, you really should be thinking about Christmas. At least a little. If you want to put together a lovely family memento that everybody will love, get started now on making a family cookbook.

Here are 5 reasons to start now:

  1. It will save a lot of money. American families averaged $830 in Christmas presents last year. With our software, plus printing and binding and maybe a recipe binder or two, you can still come in at under $85 and have gifts for 7-10 people! That’s around $8/person. And it won’t be a “cheap” gift–it’ll be something sincere and heartfelt!
  2. Making a cookbook as a Christmas gift is pretty easy. Get our cookbook software (Matilda’s Cookbook Software), type up your recipes, add some photos, select a template and print. Stick them in our recipe binders or have them spiral bound at a local photocopy shop for a few dollars (or do both–the nice binder for the real cooks and spiral bound for everyone else).
  3. It does take a little time though to do it right. You’ll want to pick through your recipes, collect recipes from others in the family, get photos if you want them. Do you really want to be doing this in December with everything going on? Do it now and save yourself the headache.
  4. It will be something everybody will talk about. You’ve just made something that is filled with memories of great meals. You WILL hear somebody say, “I haven’t had that in ages!”
  5. It will be a family tradition. A few years from now others will have used your cookbook and have suggestions to add. Add them in, hit print, and voila, another year of Christmas presents covered!

We’ve had thousands of great stories from our customers who have put together their own family cookbook, and you can do it to. Get started with our software and plan for a really fun Christmas present!

Good cookbooking!



Get a Tablet PC on your Fridge for $9.95 (Well, sort of!)

Ok, I admit that headline is a little internet-y. But honestly, you’ve got to see this refrigerator magnet we make now.

This thing is AMAZING! Just look:

It’s not a tablet (or a smart phone for that matter). But Looking up conversions on phones or tablets is unhygienic. A cell phone has 15 times the bacteria than your bathroom, as one example. This is a much cleaner, tap-free way to get all those useful conversions without touching technology.

Other things to consider:

  • PERFECT GIFT: This is a must-have for any kitchen. It covers hundreds of questions professional cooks & beginners face in the kitchen.
  • COMPLETE GUIDE: The Cookbook People sees thousands of our customers recipe books that they make with us. We compiled all the most referenced questions into one simple chart.
  • MADE IN USA: We design, manufacture and ship these ourselves from Boise, Idaho, USA. 🙂 Buy American! 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  • SO MUCH! Conversions/Advice for Teaspoon/Tablespoon/Cup/Fluid Ounce conversion, Fahrenheit/Celsius, Steaks, Roasts, Altitude, Bread, Butter, Egg, Flour, Rice, Sugar, Turkey, Water, Egg boiling time, Freezer shelf lives, Dry spaghetti measure, PLUS a 9inch ruler!

Get it here.  

Good cookbooking!



Oiling Wooden Spoons and Wooden Spatulas

So you’ve bought a wood spoon or spatula (or both) from somewhere (hopefully us right here!) If you bought bamboo, you are pretty much done. It’s such a hard, non-porous wood that it’s not going to absorb a lot of oil. If you bought something of another hardwood, such as the beechwood in the above example, you should apply a quick coat of oil to it to give it a much more interesting, pretty color, as well as vastly improve it’s life span.

We really recommend walnut oil. It gives this really rich, interesting color, and it smells absolutely fantastic.

Just go to your local grocery store’s olive oil section, and you’ll probably find one bottle somewhere in there of walnut oil. Buy the smallest bottle, because you’ll really only use a tablespoon or two of it. Pour it onto a paper towel, give it a wipe, and in 20 seconds you’ll be shocked at the difference!

If you’re likely to cook for somebody with very extreme nut allergies, there are other (less deep and pretty) alternatives. Coconut oil, rapeseed oil and mineral oil all work well.

Here’s a look at own tests of oiling spoons and spatulas with different household cooking and mineral oils:

Here’s a link to our spoons and spatulas:



50% off FLASH SALE ON our engraved spoons on Amazon!

We’re really excited about this new gift set we’ve made. To get sales moving (and reviews) we’re selling them below our cost!

We absolutely love these spoons and spatulas, and that you get to put your own name on it is just more icing on the cake.

As soon as we sell 75 of them we’ll raise the prices back up. So act fast.

Reg. $23.95  SPECIAL $11.95  Buy on Amazon

Reg. $23.95  SPECIAL $11.95  Buy on Amazon

  • FREE custom engraving: Engrave your name on this beautiful 14in long hardwood spoon/spatula gift set
  • Heirloom quality – perfect gift for weddings or birthdays for anyone who loves to cook
  • Beech hardwood – long lasting and beautiful. High quality look and feel.
  • Includes 2 spoons, 1 spatula and cotton gift bag with drawstring
Also available at

The 9 Best Organized Recipe Websites

A quick google search of course brings you to heavy hitters like and, but sometimes you want quality over quantity (and clever people who know how to top search engines). Besides, a lot of the recipes on those sites are kind of bland, or have been modified 20 ways until Tuesday to make palatable in the comments, which means what gets voted up isn’t actually what was cooked.

Here are a few of my own favorite recipe websites organized for carefully curated cooking content:

  1. Serious Eats has a fantastic Food Lab column that I love.  Beautiful easy-to-follow photographed instructions and fantastic recipes. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is a genius! Plus, they describe not only what you are doing but why, which can be helpful in learning cooking in general.
  2. The Kitchn is another genius recipe site organized with just fantastic quality. You’ll be in there for years trying to get through it all.
  3. I love Nonna’s Cooking for it’s super-simple interface and lots of user additions.

    Beth from Budget Bytes

  4. Budget Bytes is the best site on the internet for cooking within your means! Beth not only tells you how to cook, but what it’ll cost per dish. Smart.
  5. BBC Good Foods proves that the British do indeed cook well.
  6. Food Wishes does a really good job with photography and youtubes of the dishes. Browse there and get hungry! Here’s a nice one I made recently:

  7. Saveur has more of an international, experimental flare, as does
  8. Smitten Kitchen is great for it’s fantastic recipes organized by seasonality.
  9. The New York Times cooking section is brilliant because they thoroughly test everything, and the selection is enormous.

Well, these are my faves. What do you look for?

Good cookbooking!


Show Mom How Much You Love Her With Something Personal

Are you looking for something special for Mother’s Day?  Have you run out of ideas?  Look no further, we have the solution for you.  Instead of a card this year, why not write your message on something she’ll use in her kitchen everyday? Every time she does, she will think of you.  All of these are available from $24 to $39.



Personalized Rectangular Cutting Board

Chopping Board with Engraved Name


Not what you are looking for?  No problem.  Maybe she’d like a new Recipe Binder, or something else we personally engrave for you.

Visit for more great gifts for cooks!

Family Cookbook: Turn Family Recipes Into a Cherished Heirloom

Creating a Family Cookbook! All you need to know about creating your own, GREAT tips and resources! @amandaformaro

Collect your family’s recipes and compile them in a book for a truly delicious heirloom.

What would Thanksgiving be without your aunt’s famous pumpkin pie? If Grandpa doesn’t bring his special chocolate swirled fudge to holiday get-togethers, chances are a family riot might break out! (Well, not really, but you get the idea.)

Recipes are quite often handed down from generation to generation, handwritten on food-stained index cards or scrawled onto lined paper tattered over time.

Now imagine collecting some of those favorite family recipes and compiling them into a cherished cookbook everyone can enjoy. You’ll need a little time for this project and we all have busy lives, but, with a little perseverance and a lot of love, you can put together a wonderful family heirloom that will be cherished for years to come.

Making a list
First, make a list of all the recipes you would like to include in your book. Try to keep it manageable and don’t shoot for too big of a book to start with. Try maybe 15 or 20 recipes as a springboard and work from there. If you aren’t sure which to include, start contacting family members for their favorite recipes and ask them to contribute. Be sure to list the names of the family members you’ll need to contact for each recipe.

Collecting the recipes is the hardest part
Remember, everyone is busy. It’s quite possible that one of the recipes is only used once a year. Asking a cousin to find that recipe between her son’s soccer practices, her daughter’s dance class, work and making dinner might not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s probably not on the top of her priority list. Try to make it easy for people to submit by creating a written recipe template they can fill out, offer to let them email it to you or let them dictate it to you over the phone.

Decide on the contents
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, photographs and quotes from the recipe’s creators can make nice additions to your cookbook. If you are pressed for time, however, you may want to consider keeping the book design simple, or just using a few clip art images instead. Remember: Collecting the recipes will take time — as will collecting photographs and gathering quotes. Keep all of this in mind when planning what will go in to your book.

If your deadline isn’t looming, here are a few ideas for personalizing your family cookbook:

    • Family interviews – Try asking questions about the recipes to be included. How many generations has the recipe been handed down? Who started the tradition? What special memories are associated with this particular recipe?
    • Photos and other art – Include family photographs of holiday gatherings, vintage photos of descendants or even hand-drawn artwork from the young members of the family.
    • Handwritten recipes – Make use of original hand written recipes — even those on aging recipe cards. Scan the recipe and use it as a photo in the book. This adds nostalgia and authenticity to your collection.
    • Collection of memories – Ask family members for their favorite memories about certain recipes and the relative that usually prepares it.
    • Quotes – Did your grandma always say “A pinch of pepper goes a long way,” or do you remember her uncanny ability to never waste a thing? Quips and quotes add personal touches to the pages.
    • Food photos – If you’re feeling ambitious and you have extra time, make a few of the submitted recipes and take pictures! They will make a wonderful addition to your cookbook.

Choosing a publication method
In its simplest form your cookbook could be created in a word processing document then printed out and bound together by hand. If you prefer something a little sturdier, however, several companies offer private publication.  We here at The Cookbook People offer a cookbook making software allowing you to create this wonderful masterpiece using your home computer.

Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software (CD or Download) here


Prices for these services vary depending on the size of your book as well as the number of pages needed. There are also options for soft and hardcovers, and even hardcover with “lay flat” pages. Research the different options each company offers to find the best option for you.

Whether you decide to print the pages yourself, take them to an office printer or use online software, your results will be heartfelt and appreciated. Family cookbooks preserve wonderful memories and will be cherished by all that receive them.

Kitchen Conversion Chart – Magnetic

In a single 10.5″ x 15.5″ refrigerator magnet you have access to the following information:

  • Teaspoon/Tablespoon/Cup/Fluid Ounce conversion
  • Fahrenheit/Celsius conversion
  • Baking pan dimensions and volume
  • Ounce/Pound conversion
  • Egg boiling time
  • Freezer shelf lives
  • Guidelines for cooking a steak rare/medium rare/medium/well done
  • Guidelines for roasting beef/lamb/chicken/pork
  • Dry spaghetti measurement
  • An inch ruler
  • Plus conversions for altitude, bread, butter, cheese, chocolate, cocoa, corn, cottage cheese, egg, flour, gallon, gelatin, gram, herbs, lemon, marshmallows, onion, orange, pasta, pint, quart, raisins, rice, sugar, turkey, water, and yeast.

Carefully designed to match nearly any kitchen or refrigerator, we invented this kitchen conversion chart to be durable, washable, useful, and (of course) beautiful.

It will easily and attractively fit on any side-by-side fridge door, yet also look great on over-under fridge doors. The tans, yellows and umbers in the chart help it match practically any modern kitchen cabinet from oak to cherry to mahogany to maple to white, while also showing nicely against stainless steel refrigerators.

This chart packs so much information that great cooks will wonder how they did without it.  Magnetic Chart

Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

How do you organize your seed packets?  Here at the Cookbook People store we have thought of that for you.  This little engraved box is the perfect solution.  It would look pretty sitting on your counter.

Make this recipe box personal to whomever you give it to (or yourself!) Write up to 50 letters (fewer letters will allow us to make the text bigger.)

7 wide x 4 3/4 deep x 5 1/2 tall (outside measurements), 6 1/8 wide x 4 deep x 4 1/2 tall (inside measurements).

A recipe box made from sustainable resources. Enjoy storing your seed packets in this simple, durable yet classy box without any negative impact on our environment!

Comes complete with 9 pre-printed dividers. Fits cards up to 4×6.


Time to get organized!

Does your recipe box look like this?  Are you frustrated trying to find that one recipe?


Well, look no further.  Here at The Cookbook People store we have the solution to your problem.  We have engraved recipe boxes you can personalize with your name.  Or you can choose one of the many boxes that will fit into any kitchen.  Our boxes come in bamboo, oak, cedar, poplar and walnut.  Click here to view our extensive recipe card collection.


Unique Bread Boxes


We offer a range of bread box designs, including personalization options and more whimsical designs. There’s truly something for everyone here!

This is a really nice roll-top bread box that is only available here, because we do the custom design work on the top ourselves here in Boise, Idaho, USA. The delightful honey color of Bamboo is produced entirely naturally, without the use of stain or paint, through a special heating process that caramelizes the sugar in the wood. This is made bamboo, a wood that is a naturally replenishing grass and one of the world’s most renewable resources. Dimensions: 15-3/4-inch by 10-3/4-inch by 6-3/4-inch. Extreme changes in temperature, humidity and dryness effect wood; store away from heat and sunlight in a well-ventilated spot. Wipe clean with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly; rub occasionally with mineral oil to maintain appearance.

Engraved Lazy Susan

Personalized with Your Name Family Seal Gorgeous Lazy Susan

We custom-engrave all of these lazy susans, ensuring you are getting a fantastic product not available in any store.

A perfect way to dress up a kitchen table, dinner table or cabinet, while making it easier to share dinner items or condiments. The laser engraved design on the top is unique–only available through Cookbook People.  here

This bamboo 14-inch lazy susan turntable is made of bamboo wood, which is a naturally replenishing grass and one of the world’s most renewable resources. The dimensions are 14-inch by 14-inch by 1-1/2-inch. Extreme changes in temperature, humidity and dryness effect wood, so for best results store away from heat and sunlight. Wipe clean with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly. Rub occasionally with a little mineral oil to keep it looking new.

Coming Soon! — Bamboo Bed Tray with Folding Legs


Bamboo Bed Tray with Folding Legs

  • Wash with mild soap and water; rub occasionally with mineral oil
  • Made of bamboo wood which is a naturally replenishing grass and one of the world’s most renewable resources
  • Open dimensions: 19 3/4″ wide by 12″ deep by 9 1/2″ high
  • Closed Dimensions: 19-3/4-Inch wide by 12-Inch deep by 2-3/8-Inch high



Coming Soon! — Bamboo Tea box

Coming soon to our store.   A very nice Bamboo Tea Box .

Bamboo Tea Box


  • Bamboo storage box for teabags, craft supplies, and collections
  • Built from a bamboo that is harder than maple
  • Features a hinged lid, 8 compartments, and dovetail corners
  • Finished without stain; laminated with food-safe glue; heated to retain color
  • Clean with mild soap and water; dry thoroughly
  • 7.7 x 12.8 x 4.6 inches
  • Will hold over 100 tea bags

Sized externally at about 12L x 7.25W x 3.5H inches (inner dimensions are about .35 inches less as that is the approximate thickness of the walls) this Lipper International tea box is constructed of bamboo and has 8 separate compartments to organize tea. The compartments are made from a single insert (rather than glued down) and so you can remove them to have an open box without compartments if you so desire. A small chain holds the lid open at about a 120 degree angle. Using hardware that is brass (presumably plated), it not only looks good with the bamboo, but will help prevent corrosion (always a plus for something used in the kitchen.) Each of the 8 compartments can fit about 12-20 tea bags, depending upon the size/thickness of the individual package.


How to Choose and Use Cutting Boards

I use several different cutting boards when I’m cooking dinner.

I have one that I use just to cut raw meat, chicken or fish. It’s made of some type of acrylic material that is safe to put in the dishwasher.   Keeping a dedicated cutting board just for this purpose means that I don’t have to worry about inadvertently spreading the germs that raw meat, chicken and fish contain.

Wooden boards are fabulous and the best choice to look after your knives. Glass boards look fabulous, but they are nasty to knives — your knives will dull quickly. Most acrylic boards are OK for knives, but wood is best.

Wooden cutting boards should only be washed by hand with hot soapy water and dried immediately. They should never be left to soak in water. Minor stains and odors can be removed with lemon juice and by rubbing the stain with salt.

Every so often you will want to sanitize both wood and plastic cutting boards with a diluted chlorine bleach or vinegar solution consisting of one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach in one quart of water or a one to five dilution of vinegar. Flood the surface with a sanitizing solution and allow it to stand for several minutes, then rinse and air dry or pat dry with paper towels.

Occasionally, you need to rub mineral oil on your wooden boards, or else they may dry out and age very quickly.

You can buy mineral oil at some grocery stores, usually in the non-food aisles. Or you could just get some at the hardware store.

Cooking oils, like vegetable, corn, or olive oils are NEVER used to oil wooden cutting boards. These oils will turn rancid in time and ruin your good cutting boards.

Before I use any of my cutting boards I put a wet paper towel under the board.

This stops the cutting board from sliding all over the counter-top. (Sharp knives and slippery boards are not a safe combination!)

We have a wonderful selection of engraved cutting boards in our store.  They are so lovely they can be left on your counter all the time.  No more stashing away in the cupboard.

large cutting boards      cutting board round            Engraved cutting boards with handles            features juice groove






Black Forest Cake Recipe

Black Forest Cake

Six-step preparation of the Black Forest Cake. This cake is a variation on the traditional Black Forest Cake, which is all-chocolate. If you prefer, you can make an all-chocolate variety.

1. Yellow Cake Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Raspberry preserves (if not using Kirsch)
  • Morello/maraschino cherries or cherry topping for garnish
  • Shaved chocolate for garnish
    (Mini chips can be used—chocolate sprinkles can be substituted, but they don’t provide the same luxurious flavor and texture as real shaved or grated chocolate)

Yellow Cake Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Using an electric mixer on low speed with the paddle attachment, incorporate all ingredients slowly; mix until well-blended. Increase mixer speed to high; mix for two minutes more, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
  3. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 25 minutes until cake springs to the touch.  Set aside to cool.


2. Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs

Chocolate Cake Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans; dust with cocoa.
  2. Using an electric mixer, on low speed with the paddle attachment, incorporate all ingredients slowly; mix until well-blended.
  3. Increase mixer speed to high; mix for two more minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
  4. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cake springs to the touch. Set aside to cool.

3. Cherry Filling Ingredients

Brandy or rum can be substituted for the Kirsch.

  • Two 16-ounce cans pitted tart cherries in
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch (optional)

Cherry Filling Preparation

  1. Drain liquid from canned cherries, reserving 1 cup liquid.
  2. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, reserved cherry liquid and 1/3 cup sugar.
  3.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, approximately 1 minute.
  4. Remove pan from heat, stir in butter and vanilla extract; fold in cherries.  Set aside to cool.

4. Kirsch Syrup Ingredients (Optional)

Make this syrup if you plan to use Kirsch in the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 water
  • 1/4 cup Kirsch

Kirsch Syrup Preparation

  1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove pan from heat and stir in Kirsch. Let cool.
 Black Forest Cake


5. Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar


  1. During assembly (see below), whip cream with an electric mixer at high speed, using the paddle attachment.

6. Chocolate Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 1/2 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder


  1. Using a small chilled bowl, whip ingredients together until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Black Forest Cake

Now that you’ve baked and simmered and whipped all of the components to perfection, you’re ready for the final challenge: putting them all together into one picturesque masterpiece.

Black Forest Cake


  1. Using a serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place 1 layer of chocolate cake on a cake plate or cardboard round. If you are using Kirsch syrup, brush the top with syrup.
  2. Using a metal spatula, spread a thin layer of chocolate whipped cream on top of cake.
  3. Using a pastry bag with an open tube, pipe 2 circles of chocolate whipped cream on the cake, one around the outer edge and one in the center of the cake.
  4. Using a pastry bag, pipe the cherry filling inside the chocolate circles.
  5. On top of the first layer, place the yellow cake and brush it with Kirsch syrup. If you are not using Kirsch syrup, spread a thin layer of raspberry preserves on the cake.
  6. Using an electric mixer, at high speed with the paddle attachment, whip together 1 quart heavy whipping cream and 1 cup confectioner’s sugar. Apply a thin layer of the whipped cream on top of the preserves.  Set aside the remaining cream.
  7. On top of the whipped cream, place the last chocolate cake layer and brush with Kirsch syrup. With the remaining whipped cream, coat sides and top of cake. Press chocolate shavings onto sides of cake.
  8. Spoon remaining whipped cream into a pastry bag, using a star-shaped tip. Pipe small rosettes around perimeter of cake. Decorate with a cherry on each rosette. (Or use other decorating ideas from this article.)
  9. Refrigerate until ready to serve.