Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Family Cookbook, Step 1: Requesting Recipes

Today I officially launched my family cookbook project. I spent the whole day composing letters and email to family members that I'm hoping will contribute to the cookbook. I've been putting this day off because it seemed like such a daunting task... writing the letters and locating all the addresses. Who keeps their address book up to date for all their family members?

Here's a breakdown of what I've done in Step 1:
  • I went online and looked up addresses to mail letters to those I don't have an email address for (most of my family members).
  • I sent out emails to those few family members of mine who are online.
  • I went to the post office and bought oodles of stamps.
  • I composed a basic letter, a request for recipes. I had to write two different versions for different sides of the family.
  • I wrote a separate letter (shorter and simpler) to my family members in Poland and Germany.
  • I went to visit with my Polish-English translator and gave her the letter I need translated to send to my family members in Poland and Germany. (She will likely get it done this weekend so I should be able to get those letters out early next week.)
  • I started addressing envelopes but quickly ran out. I'll have to make a trip to the office supply store this evening :-7
  • I printed up a batch of return address labels.
Yet to do:
  • Buy more envelopes.
  • Finish addressing the envelopes.
  • Print up copies of my basic letters.
  • Pick up my translated letter and make copies.
  • Make up a list of who I've sent recipe requests to.
I'm giving all my relatives here in the U.S. a deadline of March 1st for submitting recipes. I'm asking my relatives in Europe to get their recipes to me by March 15th.

The next step will be reviewing cookbook software and choosing one that best meets my needs.


  1. If you haven't heard of it yet I have a great way for you to put together a family cook book and it will look like a professionally printed book. Your family will want their own copies. Check out my website at

    By the way. You have a great blog. I also burry myself in my genealogy research.

  2. You did all this today? Impressive! You go, girl!

  3. If you really want help with your cookbook project. I recommend you check out The site is designed specifically for family cookbook projects like yours and it take a lot of the work off your shoulders by having everyone in your family enter their own recipes into the website. It even has an email tool that allows you to email some or all of yor contributors.

    I used it to create our Donovan Family Cookbook and I'm now helping my wife create a cookbook for her family.

    Good luck.

  4. If you are on the Windows platform and using Microsoft Word, I recommend the Living Cookbook ( software. It has great tools for copy/pasting recipes into it's format and will generate the book in Word so you can polish it however you want. I recently moved to the Mac platform and haven't found anything yet that comes close.

    You should also plan to make several pleas for recipes. I spent 6 months - and a lot of begging - to collect the recipes in my cookbook. It was a real pain, but the result was definitely worth it!

    Good luck!

    Moultrie Creek
    Family Matters

  5. Love your blog! The family cookbook program that bill recommended may meet your needs, but if you want to check out others look at "Now You're Cooking" at I've worked with Mastercook in the past and NYC is very similar and much less expensive. You can download it free and if you like it then it's $29 after 30 days. I participate in a foodwine list and this program is one that is recommended by several list members who spend a lot of time at their computers.