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Family Cookbook Project Upgrading Servers

We wanted to give our Cookbook Editors a heads up that for a few hours on April 8 and/or 9th the site will be taken down so that we can move the operating software to new larger, faster, more robust and secure servers that will allow our ability to access their online recipes boxes and design beautiful printed cookbooks to be shared with family and friends.

Once offline, we will disable login to the editor accounts. We expect the service will be back up and running better than ever within a few hours of being taken offline.

Food For Thought Newsletter Wins Best Recipe Newsletter of 2021

The Family Cookbook Project ( has been named the Best Cooking and Recipe Online Newsletter of 2021 by the Web Marketing Association’s 19th annual Internet Advertising Competition Awards.  The Family Cookbook Project creates personalized cookbooks for individuals, families, church groups and schools.

“The Great Family Cookbook Project is a website dedicated to helping families collect and preserve cherished recipes into a printed cookbook that can passed down from one generation to the next”, says Chip Lowell, Co-Publisher of the Family Cookbook Project.  “We are proud that our communication efforts have been recognized by the Web Marketing Association with this IAC Award.  Our monthly newsletter is sent to our 66,000 editors to help them get the most out of their cookbook creating experience. We will continue to develop our site and our communication programs to help families, schools and church groups create both online and printed cookbooks that become treasured heirlooms.”

The Family Cookbook Project Website was started as a project in 2003 to help one family collect and organize a family cookbook. Overwhelming feedback from those who used the website led to its continued development and public launch.  Currently, more than 100,000 families have started family cookbooks using the website and have entered more than 2 million individual recipes.

Thousands of entries from around the world were adjudicated in 85 industry categories during this year’s competition. Entries were judged on creativity, innovation, impact, design, copy writing, memorability and use of the medium. The competition was judged by a team of independent Internet professionals representing a variety of relevant disciplines of Web site development. Judges included members of the media, advertising executives, site designers, creative directors, corporate marketing executives, content providers and webmasters.

We Did It! A Cookbook Editor’s Story

We did it. Started this project the end of August 2020. Took a break over Dec, then finalized things in Jan. Placed our order and received them by mid Feb. This was so easy and fun to do. I put together another family cookbook in 2004 and all I had was Microsoft Word. Then I was at the mercy of some guy at the Xerox store to copy and bind a book for me, not knowing what it would look like till it was done. Using made this a breeze. Being able to see what the book would look like while we were creating it really helped to visualize the final product. Being able to add our own pictures as well as genealogy family charts help to make this a family heirloom that generations will enjoy. If I had a suggestion it would be to have more editing abilities with photos. What I mean is, being able to add multiple individual pictures on a single page. I was only able to accomplish this by putting multiple pictures on a blank Microsoft word document, and then creating a JPEG file from that document. While it did work, it wasn’t very convenient. We are all very pleased with the final product that was created. Now it’s just a matter of handing them out to family members and sharing the memories. thank you Cheers! Kevin Grandma Mahlstedt’s Recipe Box   Thanks for sharing Kevin! And by the way, we are working on creating a more flexible photo layout tool that should be announced in the near future.   Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest! In the News

Increasingly, more websites are finding out about and writing about their experiences with creating their own family cookbook using our website. Here are some recent articles you might enjoy.

Preserving Cherished Food Memories with a Family Cookbook – This is a guest post by Family Cookbook Project founder Bill Rice on the website Nothing But Net Nanny, a social blog that will offer a fun, inspirational and even self-deprecating take on aging, retirement and fitness…or lack thereof

HOW TO CREATE A CUSTOM FAMILY COOKBOOK THE EASY WAYAll Things with Purpose is a creative lifestyle blog started by Sarah Kemp as a place to share DIY tutorials, tips, money saving advice and homeschooling resources. She created her own family cookbook and wrote about the experience.

What if You Could Have Just One Cookbook? Wouldn’t That Make You Happy?– Shea Hulse’s Realize Your Natural Potential is another website blogger who started a family cookbook and loved is so much she wrote about the experience on her website.

Create a personalised family cookbook filled with your own recipes – Eat Simply is a top rated food blog in the United Kingdom and she writes about her experiences with, the UK version of our site.


Please visit these website and check out the articles.

Advanced Photo Arranger Tool Announced for

Photos are such an important part of any good personal cookbook. They help to bring the food to life and show family members enjoying time together.

The vast majority of cookbook publishers today only allow a single image per recipe and it is always in the same position. has just announced an industry leading upgrade that allows you to control multiple photos and images on a recipe to get them to look just right for your cookbook.

As part of the Recipe Layout Tool, you can set a global photo position. There are six options:

  • On top/before the recipe
  • On to with a fade
  • After recipe title
  • Right of the ingredients
  • Left of the ingredients
  • After the personal notes/end of recipe

By default, recipes photos are “stacked” one after another down the page in the order determined in the settings. When you edit a recipe with a photo, you will see seven different standard positions that the photo will be located as part of that recipe layout. If you need even finer control, you can select the Custom Photo Arranger Tool to precisely set the location on the page of that particular recipe.

If there are multiple photos, you can build a collage and allow the photos to overlap, set the order and change size of each photo.

The new collage arrangement will be positioned based on your global or unique recipe position.  The exception is Right/Left of Ingredients.  That will always use the “stacked” look down the ingredients column.

You also have the option to generate a pop-up preview to see exactly how the images and text will look on the printed recipe page with a single click.

Below is a video tutorial to show you how to use the new photo placement tools.


Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Recipe Layout Tool Upgrade on

Family Cookbook Project is pleased to announce a major upgrade to the Recipe Layout Tool within

The recipe layout is what formats the design of the recipes within the cookbook. When you add a recipe, you are only adding the data. It is the recipe format tool that takes that data and organizes it into a well-designed recipe consistent throughout the cookbook.

The recipe layout controls the size and font of the recipe title, ingredients, directions and comments. It can also allow for one or two columns of text in the ingredients to save space.

Finally, it determines where any photo will be displayed if there is one attached to the recipe.

Here are some of the major changes:

Side by side viewing – The first thing you will notice when you select the Recipe Layout tool is the ability to see all of the options as thumbnails without having to click a pop-up link for each. The options are now laid out like the covers and dividers allowing you to see them all side by side. You can click on the thumbnail for a pop-up window full-sized view.

Recipe Level Layout – We have always forced all of the recipes to be in the same layout for consistency within the cookbook. However sometimes you need the text just a little smaller so it will fit on a page. Or a recipe is very special and you want to highlight it. Now you can. Each recipe edit page now contains an option to change the layout for that one recipe. We recommend using this sparingly. We also offer a global reset button to get all of the recipes reset back to the original layout if needed. You can also choose the recipe photo position uniquely for any recipe – which also has a reset option incase things get to “messy”.

Custom Layout Import – Custom Recipe Layout can import settings from any static layout we offer as a starting point and then you can change as aspect of that layout to fit your needs.

Photo Positions – We have increased the number of places a photo can appear on a recipe than just above the title and at the end of the recipe. There are four new positions for photos:  After Title/before Ingredients; Top of recipe fade out (1 pic only); Left or Right side of Ingredients. The Recipe Layout Tool also shows you these options side-by-side. You can select your recipe photo position like the layouts above. You’ll see them listed with thumbnail views. Simply click the button to use one and save.



Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Introducing New BBQ Cookbook Covers

Both Chip and I, the two founders of Family, love to grill, smoke and BBQ. Cooking meat, seafood and veggies outside is kind of a guy thing (even though I know women that are excellent pitmasters!).

I was working on a new cookbook for my family featuring my favorite BBQ recipes and I did not find a cover that I really liked ever though we have a great library of cookbook covers to choose from.

So I had our professional designer come up with a series of cookbook covers that I loved so much that we are making them available to all of our cookbook editors to use.

Here are the new BBQ Cookbook covers:

If you are interested in BBQ and great BBQ recipes, be sure to join our Facebook BBQ Recipe group.

On Pinterest, we have two boards Food Guys Love and Family BBQ and Grilling Recipes to check out and follow.

Finally, here is a fun video we created for the BBQ community.



Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!



What Our Cookbook Editor’s Say


Lucille Curcio and her Christmas Cookie Cookbook

In January, 760 Cookbook Editors responded to our survey and the results are outstanding! I have been sorting through the data and we will release the results next month, but many of the comments provided were very touching and heart warming and I wanted to share some of them with you.

I’ve also included some of the wonderful photos our editors have submitted with photos of them and their cookbooks. The photos do not necessarily go with the quote they appear with.

Quotes from Family Cookbook Editors

This company made it as easy as possible for a non-computer type like me to navigate the tasks.
–Nancy, A Cookbook for Nancy’s Grandchildren

I made this cookbook as a gift to my daughter for her 29th birthday. The recipes were collected from my mother, grandmother, sister, mother in law and my own collection. Both mothers and grandmother have passed away. So the sentiment and hard work behind this book has several meanings. My daughter cried when she read the inscription and realized what was in her hands, what was just given to her. Thank you for creating such a wonderful website for all of us to share. Blessings,
–Kathy, Kay Kay’s Recipes

Getting in and out of the website to add recipes is so convenient. The templates offered for organizing and recording recipes are really useful and well done! I’m glad to have a continual (lifetime) repository for important recipes I want to save for the family. We published our first edition in honor of our first daughter’s wedding and gave cookbooks to extended family members and close friends. It included pictures of her wedding. Many of us refer to it often for recipes and get reminded of such a lovely time. I also really enjoy the clever quotes provided by Family Recipe Cookbook. The spiral binding, page dividers, and format look really nice. We hope to collect more recipes and publish another edition when another daughter gets married.
Jeri Spurling, The Veree Tastee Family Cookbook Project

I have created cookbooks for non-profits from several different cookbook printing companies. Family Cookbook has been by far the easiest to work with and best to obtain the end product I wanted.
–Debby, The Family Cookbook

Your user-friendly program made my project enjoyable to put together. The professional book that you published after my editing made me look like a professional cookbook author. The best part for me and the greatest compliment to you is the reaction from my family when they opened their gift of the cookbook. They were teary-eyed with memories of the recipes, gratitude and love for Gramma Anne. Thank you so much for an enjoyable & excellent product.
–Elizabeth, Gramma Anne’s Favorite Recipes

Katy Hale with Cardinal Cooks! Friends & Family Favorites 2020

Creating my cookbook started out as a family cookbook, but as time went on, my family members were not very helpful. So I decided to make a cookbook that I could leave for my two daughters to have when I’m no longer alive. Turned out to be the best decision I could’ve ever made. Now, the family members that didn’t contribute actually want to purchase a copy of the cookbook because I included recipes I personally created as well as family recipes mom made while growing up in Mississippi. It’s been very easy adding the ingredients list and editing the recipes. It’s taken me a little more time to add the instructions to the cookbook because I’m going through each recipe, making it, and then editing the instructions so it’s easier for my daughters to make it with better directions. Once this treasure of a cookbook is complete, my daughters won’t have to wonder, “Now, how did mom make this!” It’s already documented.
–Shamecca, Blessed Hands

I was thrilled when I received my finished published cookbooks! They turned out better than I ever expected! It was such a joy to create it as I planned it as a surprise Christmas gift for my daughters. I had always wanted to pass down our family favorite recipes from their grandmothers and other family members. It was an emotional experience when they received it! Thank you!

Sheree Reese FAMILY COOKBOOK The website was very user friendly, so I found the process very enjoyable. The only frustration I felt came from my actual family!
–Lenore, The Knutzen Family Cookbook with Family Friends

My daughter-in-law begged me for years to give her all my old Italian and Portuguese recipes that were handed down from my relatives. I finally decided to do it, so I researched a dozen sites that offered cookbook programs. I actually started a book on two of them…but finally gave up. They were difficult to maneuver, impossible to edit, and low on the totem pole with customer service. Thank goodness I finally found The Great Family Cookbook Project! It is well organized, has lots of options, customer service is great if you ever need it (not likely) … and SO easy to use that when I gave the first version to my daughter-in-law last Christmas, I actually had to LIE to tell her how hard I worked to put it together!

This is a wonderful – and easy! – way to share those family recipes that get passed down through the generations. I was able to not only add the recipes, but I could also add photos of the finished meals!
–Elise, The Gillem Family Cookbook – Our Favorites Through the Years

The Balogh Family Cookbook is our first cookbook as a memory of my mother who was an amazing person and who has provided us many great recipes. My son and I translated her handwritten recipes from Hungarian to English in order to preserve the recipes for the next generation.

I am still working on my cookbook. My mother died four years ago and it has taken me a long time to be able to look at her recipes without crying. Now I realize she would be so proud to know I am doing this for future generations.
–Vicki, Momma’s Memories

Starting this project initially was just a way to organize my recipes to share with some friends. Once I saw how easy it was to use the software, I decided why not do a cookbook for charity. I serve on the board of The Salvation Army and our family has a scholarship fund at the local community college so with my sister’s help we decided to offer the proceeds from the sale of our cookbook to go to these two organizations. Within a couple of weeks of receiving our cookbooks it was sold out and we were able to share the proceeds with two deserving nonprofits. It has been a very rewarding experience that helped others in need and was a great gift to our family.
–Jinger and Karen, Jinger’s and Karen’s Favorite Recipes

I first used this site to make a cookbook so my kids would have our family recipes. I had so much fun making it and the response from our friends and family was so great that I made a second cookbook for wedding gifts. Now I’m making a third one also for gifts. I recommend Family Cookbook Project to all my friends. Thanks.

I volunteered to head up our family cookbook. It was the easiest project I have ever done. Cookbook staff is great and no question is too small.
–Gail, Eaton, Jorae, and Plunkett Reunion Remembrances Cookbook

With my parents retiring, it seemed like the perfect time to memorialize some family recipes. It started as a gift for my mom, but she is enjoying contributing and making the food so we can get photos of it too. It has become a family project. She also has a lot of great family memories to add.

Barbara Cortese and The Inserra and Cifarelli Family Cookbook

Francie’s Family Favorites was a work of love for me. I’m Francie’s third child and one of eight. It took me about two years to complete the cookbook. The main reason it took some time was that many of Mom’s recipes were actually just a list of ingredients, often with no or very general amounts. So I had to work with Mom to formulate actual recipes. This turned out to be the best part of the process. I got to spend hours visiting with Mom chatting about the recipes, her cooking experiences over the years, and many more family memories. I finished the cookbook in time for Christmas 2019. Mom passed in May 2020. I spent much of this past holiday season making recipes I’d enjoyed Mom making over the years but never made myself. Using the cookbook keeps me close to her. Thanks.
–Chris, Francie’s Family Favorites

Our grandparents owned a restaurant for many years. Our cookbook project allowed us to share precious family memories and recipes with the whole extended family and have them contribute treasured recipes from all the different cultures that have joined our family in the succeeding generations.
–Nanette, The Doherty Family Cookbook

It was a fun project. I gave a cookbook to each of my 5 grandchildren for Christmas this year along with various kitchen utensils. The age range is 13-27. They said it’s the best gift they ever got and will cherish it.
–Elaine, Gaga’s Secret Recipes

2 years ago, I realized I wasn’t going to live forever and wanted to created an impartation to my children that I called “The Heritage”. It was a deep message from my heart and a collection of works, included over 70 recipes that I wanted to put together in a book to be given to them and later passed on. Thank you so much for making this daunting task, not only less difficult but do-able! The Family Cookbook website is a great tool to help make my dream a reality.

The best part of the site is that it is a site designed to get you up and running, making a cookbook for those who have no experience in doing something like this. There are lots of places online where you could self publish a book, but no other options that I know of that specialize in making a cookbook. You guys have really hit the exact balance between making this process as simple as it could have been with maximal results.

Cory and Cory’s Cookbook: All Time Favorites

I have numerous cook books taking up space in my kitchen. Many of these have pages tagged of my most loved recipes. I loved the idea of having ALL my recipes in one place, as well as writing recipes for homemade dishes that my family loves. My boys’ loved this idea and asked if their significant others could add to the book too. I then opened it up to the girls and their mothers (more family recipes to be kept). The only thing that I asked is that every recipe they added must have been tried previously…thus the name of our cookbook “Recipes that Don’t Suck”. I can’t wait for the day that we finally have it finished!
–Lisa, Recipes that don’t Suck


This is just a hand full of the wonderful comments that our editors have provided to us. We will be adding additional comments down the road.


Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!


7 Steps to Create a Perfect Family Cookbook

Creating a treasured family cookbook has never been easier. The Great Family Cookbook Project was developed to make the process easy to understand and accomplish.

Here is an overview on the simple steps required to create a personalize family cookbook.

Step 1: Complete account set up – Here you will complete your contact information and set up some basic information like your cookbook submission deadlines for your a cookbook account.

Step 2: Invite contributors – Here you can invite friends and family members to contribute Recipes to your cookbook. If this is a personal cookbook you can skip this step.

Step 3: Start adding recipes – UN your contributors add as many recipes as you want in your cookbook.

Step 4: Send reminders to your contributors. Regular emails will help remind people to submit their recipes by the deadline.

Step 5: Design your cookbook – Here you pick a color pick a layout format and determine what will appear in your cookbook.

Step 6:  Add photos to your cookbook – Using our photo editor you can upload photos to your cookbook to specific recipes or sections.

Step 7: Get your cookbook ready to print – Once all of your recipes are entered now it is time to lock your cookbook edit the recipes and order your cookbooks.

Remember, you may be able to work on more than one step at a time. For example you can design your cookbook (step 5) while you are still adding recipes (Step 3). You can also skip Step 2 if you are working on your cookbook alone.


Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!


Family Cookbook Featured in The Hartford Courant

Back on June 17, 2010, Family Cookbook Project was featured in the Hartford Courant newspaper on the front page of the Living Section and I thought it would be fun to share it online.

Here is the article:

Creating Family Cookbook Online: Simsbury Man’s Website Has Led To 16,000 Family Cookbooks


Will Wagner of Hartford grew up on a farm in Wisconsin with a mother who baked her own bread for 10 children.

“She would go through 50 pounds of flour in about 10 days,” he says. “I learned how to bake my own bread from her.”

Wagner, now 71, carefully saved his mother’s recipes and recently found a way to share them with his extended family, friends and beyond. Through the Family Cookbook Project (, Wagner and his family created an online database of their family recipes as well as a printed cookbook they sell and give away as gifts. The cookbook has more than 400 recipes from 33 family members, including a French version of dumplings for which his mother Rita was famous. “A lot of them use it,” Wagner says of his mother’s dumpling recipe. “That’s how they think of Grandma.”

The Family Cookbook Project is the brainchild of Bill Rice of Simsbury, who ultimately envisioned just the kind of stories Wagner has to tell about grandchildren, nieces and nephews keeping family traditions alive.

“When families get together, the times you remember most are the times you’re sitting around the table, eating the meal or preparing the meal,” Rice says. “It’s the marrying of these food traditions that really makes things interesting.”

The story of the website’s inception, though, has a few twist and turns.

It all started in 2004; Rice and his extended family were sitting around a table talking about food, as they often did, when someone suggested putting together a family cookbook. With relatives scattered around the country, Rice decided to ask his old friend Chip Lowell, who went to Wethersfield High School with him, to put together a website that would allow his family members to enter their own recipes.

The Proverbial Light Bulb

After Rice and his family produced their cookbook in 2004, they discovered that someone else had found their website online and started using it to produce  another family cookbook.

That’s when the refrigerator light bulb went on.

“We thought, ‘Maybe we have something here’,” Rice says.

Rice enlisted Lowell, who lives in Virginia, to come up with the tools to allow families to design and produce their own cookbooks. They also found a cookbook publisher willing to print as many copies as the website’s users wanted to order.

“Personalized cookbooks have been around since the 1940s; however, the process of collecting and organizing recipes always has been a labor-intensive project for the cookbook editor,” Lowell says. “Our site brings this process into the Internet age and now it’s easy and cost-effective to have your very own cookbook printed.”

So far, more than 16,000 cookbook projects have been created, representing more than 58,000 contributors and 330,000 recipes. The site charges a $29.95 annual membership fee, which buys access to its cookbook-creation tools as well as a searchable database of 240,000 of the recipes that contributors have deemed “public.”

Producing a print version of the cookbook costs an average of $10 a book, although the costs go down as the order volume goes up. The average number of recipes is 223, and the average number of books ordered is slightly more than 100.

“We’ve really tried to keep it very simple but very usable,” Rice says.

The website asks one person to sign up as the editor, and it walks that person though the process of contacting contributors, accepting their recipes, reminding them about deadlines, adding photos, designing a cover and editing the final product.


The Stories Behind Recipes

On average, Rice says, it takes families about six months to go from creating an account to the finished project, although some have done it much more quickly. One of the best parts about the process, he says, is the opportunity for contributors to add personal comments to the recipes.

“A recipe is just a recipe, until you say how you found the recipe, when you use it, and the story behind it,” he says.

Wagner’s family cookbook is a case in point. Amid the recipes for Blender Pancakes and his mother’s Pistachio Salad are comments that give the book its unique character.

“This is very rich but so delicious,” says the personal note on a Chicken Enchilada recipe. “You will not regret trying it.”

The Butterfinger Dessert has this note attached: “Made by mistake several years ago, but has been at Wagner Christmas Dinner every year since.”

And the Peanut Butter Temptations are clarified as “the cookies everyone asks me to bring to Ron’s for our Thanksgiving/ Christmas celebration.”

With the Family Cookbook Project’s success came several offshoots, including a site for fundraising cookbook projects ( that caters to nonprofits, schools and other organizations that want to produce cookbooks. Another project is a book compiling the best recipes on the original website called “The Best of the Family Cookbook Project.”


A Wedding Surprise

What pleases Rice the most, though, are the creative ways that families have chosen to use his website.

One family, for example, put a cookbook together as a surprise for a couple getting married. Members of both sides of the couple’s family compiled treasured family recipes to get them started on their new life together and gave out the books as wedding favors.

Others have compiled cookbooks before or after family· reunions; adding photos and family trees. The project has also produced low-carb, gluten-free and other specialty cookbooks for groups and families that need those recipes.

Wil Wagner’s family ordered 1,500 copies initially, then ordered a second printing of 2 ,500 more. Now they’re thinking about creating Volume 2 because Volume 1 was such a “family spirit-builder.”

“It was definitely a great experience,” Wagner says. “This is such a great way to capture those memories.”

Current Family Cookbook Project update:

In the 2010 article, we had printed 16,000 cookbook projects have been created, representing more than 58,000 contributors and 330,000 recipes. The site charges a $29.95 annual membership fee.

In 2021, we now have helped over 125,000 cookbook projects with more than 286,000 contributors! Our system now holds over 2.1 million recipes and the annual membership fee is still only $29.95!