Create a Heritage Cookbook to Preserve Family Genealogy and Heirloom Recipes

Grandpa Joe’s banana splits by the river in summer.
Auntie Marie’s enormous Cranberry Fluff served once a year at Thanksgiving.

Cousin Linda’s hot French fries with tartar sauce on a cold beach day.

Such memories of food and family may not be yours personally, but you can relate to them because you may have many similar memories of your own. They are a precious link to another era, when life was seemingly less complicated. A time softened by reflection, and where relatives become oddly appealing with the passage of time.

Preserving the essence of such memories in a family cookbook is becoming very popular these days as we seek comfort in familiar, less-tech touches to our daily lives. Many of us are choosing to preserve both heirloom recipes and family genealogy all in one place — in a family heritage cookbook.

A family recipe book is a wonderful way to share treasured family recipes and special moments in family history with others who share your same DNA. It isn’t hard to do, really, but it is a project that needs some planning.

A basic family heritage cookbook consists of five key elements:
– Family recipes, preferably from several sources
– Photos of dishes and people with detailed captions
– Personal stories & memoirs
– Family trees
– Specific theme that ties it all together, such as “From rags to riches” or “Christmas 2004”

Your family heritage cookbook may also include other mementoes, such as letters, handwritten recipe cards, or newspaper clippings that can be scanned and included as photographs. This makes it easy to reproduce when more than one copy will be published (instead of making a single cookbook-scrapbook with all original materials).

Some other items to consider including in your family heritage cookbook:
– Oral histories (transcribed) from several family members discussing family food traditions as well as “who did what when”
– Maps of where relatives live(d), and a list of surnames (especially if you have an extended family)
– Facts and figures that provide a glimpse of the time period, such as the cost of a loaf of bread

Creating a family heritage cookbook to preserve family genealogy and beloved heirloom recipes may seem a bit daunting, but it can be a wonderful journey of discovery, nevertheless. To help get you started, we recommend Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software which allows you to include recipes, photos and family histories in your family heritage cookbook.

In the end, you’ll have a nice recipe collection and a perspective of your family’s life, culture, traditions, and individual family members that can tug an emotional chord for all concerned.  At the very least, a family heritage cookbook gives you a great way to connect with all those oddly appealing relatives.

Happy heritage cookbook making,


About Erin Miller

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  1. Is it possible to put little “snip-its” of story with each recipe? Maybe along with the name the recipe belongs to? Or would it work better at the bottom of the recipe? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Kelley

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Yes you can put “snip-it” of a story with your recipes. You could either put them and the beginning or end of your recipe or you could use the “Biography” section of Matilda and place your story there.

    Customer Liaison

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