Family Cookbooks: Food, traditions, customs and love

I challenge anyone to make it through the holidays without thinking of family, food, traditions, customs, and love.    All of these memories sparked me onward to make Christmas cookbooks for gifts.

Christmas Pudding

Bring out the figgy pudding!

When my  maternal grandmother passed, we found recipes stashed everywhere.

We found clippings from newspapers and Capper’s Weekly and Farm Journal.

We found recipes written on envelopes.    We found a plethora of recipe cards.

We found many cookbooks (which I now have) from a cookbook book club.   These books are marked up and dog-eared.

My aunt decided to try her best to index these family favorites into a keepsake cookbook.   (It is the pink covered one below.)

During the planning stages for the biennial family reunion on my paternal grandma’s side of the family, one cousin had the idea of submitting recipes and doing a keepsake cookbook.    This cookbook has family favorites plus a few “way-out” recipes from the hippy cousins.    Vegan recipes anyone?    Some of the elders were shocked, shocked I say!  (It is the yellow framed one with pictures of our matriarchs and patriarchs.)

Recipes from both Grandmothers' families.

Recipes from both Grandmothers’ families.

I refer to these two books often.

In a pretentious bit of inspiration, I decided last year to start compiling annual cookbooks for my mom and sister.   (Remember our homemade gift giving decree?)   I wanted something with pictures and something that was professional looking.

Enter Tastebook.   I love the ease of putting these books together and getting them printed in color with a slick cover.

This year's edition.

This year’s edition.


These looked so professional that as we were watching my mother open her presents last year (via Skype), she casually glanced at it and put it in her opened gift pile.    It wasn’t until my sister and nephew started perusing through their book that she realized what it was.   Mom actually thought it was just another purchased cookbook—nothing special.  🙂

I put together 100 recipes last year and was able to pull 100 more together this year for the 2012 addition.

A recipe from one of my SRC posts.

A recipe from one of my SRC posts.


A couple of more recipes.

A couple of more recipes.

They each will have Christmas Recipes 2011 and Merry Christmas 2012 in their archival recipe collections.

Be aware, Tastebook is a bit pricey.   I am looking for a MS Publisher or Word template so I can keep up this tradition and keep the professional look to the books.   I will keep you posted.

However, I probably use the xeroxed, simply bound family recipe books just as much as I use my “professionally” bound books.    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it is the thought that counts, right?

Remember the reason for the season and good luck with last minute cooking and gift making and giving.

(The recipes pictured above can be found on this site:   Morroccan Tagine with Roasted Eggplant and ZucchiniRefried Black Beans,  and Santa Fe-Inspired Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash. )

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My Favorite Reads

Eat, Pray, Love
Running with Scissors
SantaLand Diaries
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Angela's Ashes
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
My Life in France
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
The Liars' Club
Code Name Verity
The Paris Wife
The Shoemaker's Wife
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel
Brother of the More Famous Jack
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

Debra's favorite books »

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I Heart Cooking Clubs

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Foodies Read