Category Archives: Food for Thought

How To Write A Great Recipe

Whether you are adding a family favorite on FamilyCookbookProject.com, starting a blog, or entering a recipe contest, learning how to properly write a recipe is a valuable skill any food lover can use.

Below are a few standards and general rules of thumb when it comes to writing a recipe.  It is important to accurately communicate the ingredients and process, so your recipe can be recreated by others.

There are five parts to a great recipe, the Title, Ingredient List, Preparation Method, Number of servings and Comments. Each one plays an important part in the overall recipe.

Recipe Title:
This is the  name of your recipe using words that accurately describe the dish.  Feel free to have a little fun and make it catchy!  You want people to keep reading and be inspired to make the recipe themselves. Which would you rather have, a “chocolate chip cookie” or a “Grandma’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie”.

The Ingredient List

The ingredients tell the reader what is needed to make the recipe.  List all ingredients in order of use, as described in step-by-step instructions. When several ingredients are used at the same time (in the case of baking, often all the dry ingredients are sifted or mixed together at once), list them in descending order according to volume. If there is an issue over preparation, list in order, so for example if you need the zest and juice of a lemon, list the zest first and then the juice since that is the order you will do the preparation.

If the recipe has different elements (a pie, for example has a crust, a filling), break up the ingredient list with headings such as “Crust” and “Filling.” On the FamilyCookbookProject.com Add a Recipe form, there is a checkbox to make a multipart recipe. This is handy for creating sub recipes within a larger recipe.

Try not use two numerals together. You need to set off the second number in parenthesis. This comes up with sizes of packages. For example, “1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese.”

If an ingredient begins with a letter instead of a number, freshly ground black pepper, for example, capitalize the first letter, as in “Freshly ground black pepper.”

If the preparation of an ingredient is simple, place that technique in the ingredient list, as in “2 eggs, beaten” or “1 stick butter, softened.”

If an ingredient is used more than once in a recipe, list the total amount at the place in the ingredient list where it is first used, then add “divided.” In the method part of the recipe, indicated the amount used at each step. For example “1 cup all-purpose flour, divided” then in the method “Sift 3/4 cup of the flour with the…” and later “Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of flour on top of…”

Use generic names of ingredients (semi-sweet chocolate chips, not “Tollhouse chips”

The Preparation Method

The recipe directions tell the reader the specific steps needed to make the dish. Where helpful, indicate the size of bowls and cookware. For example, “In a large mixing bowl….”. The same hold true with level of heat when cooking on a stove top.  For example, “Simmer over low heat.”

Separate each step into a different paragraph. If you are mixing dry ingredients in a bowl, for example, use one paragraph for all the instructions for that step.

State exact or approximate cooking times, with descriptive hints for doneness, if appropriate. For example, “Sear 1 minute on each side,” and “Bake 18-22 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown.”

Comments

Personal notes helps make a recipe come alive. Writing about your favorite memories of the recipe or the person who first introduced the recipe to you helps to make the recipe more interesting and personal.

Use this area to also communicate anything additional information someone would need to know to recreate your recipe at home. You can also offer ideas for alternate ingredients, tips, or serving suggestions.

Anytime you are sharing a recipe from an outside source, make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Time and Servings

When you start a recipe, you want to know how much time it will take to make and how many people it will serve. Preparation time includes all the measuring, chopping and other preparation of ingredients. Cooking time refers to the total time the food takes to cook, including any preliminary cooking needed.

Pictures/Videos

One of the best ways to get someone interested in your recipe is to include a photo. How many times did you look through a cookbook and say “my that food looks good”. Photos also help the person making the recipe know if their final product looks right compared to the original.

 

 

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!

Planning Ahead to Get Your Cookbook On Time

If you are using your family cookbooks as part of a celebration, either a family reunion, Mother’s Day gift, Christmas gift, wedding favor, or other specific event, it is important that you plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to have your cookbooks printed and shipped for the event.

Family Cookbook Project uses the latest in high speed digital printing to produce your family heirlooms. Generally it takes 2-3 weeks to get the files ready for the presses, print, bind and package to ship directly to you. However, during our busiest seasons – right before Mother’s Day and Christmas – it can take much longer.

Another thing to consider is shipping. We use UPS to ship our family cookbooks all over the USA and Canada. Shipping can take an additional week to have your cookbooks reach you.

Since personalized family cookbooks can make such great Christmas gifts, editors rush to get their print orders submitted in November in order to receive them in time for Christmas time gift giving. Normally, we have a November 30th deadline for delivery in time for Christmas. Save yourself (and us) the danger of not having your cookbooks ready and submit your holiday cookbook orders in October and beat the November rush.

We have been implementing improvements in our programming that will allow us to provide you with a more accurate quote for printing your cookbook prior to submitting your order so that you can save time when getting ready to print.

When setting your deadline for recipe contributions, leave enough time for you to review all of the recipes and finalize formatting before you can submit your order for printing. Roughly a month later, your cookbooks should be in your hands!

 

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!

How To Share Your Family Cookbook Recipes

One of the real benefits of collecting all of your recipes in your online cookbook on FamilyCookbookProject.com is to be able to share them very easily with friends and family.

Say you have friends over and they really like your split pea soup and want the recipe. All you need to do is go to your cookbook account either on your desktop computer or even on your mobile Mobile phone or tablet and pull up the recipe.  Now all you have to do is choose how you want to give it to him.

Email – In the upper right hand corner, you’ll see a box marked email a recipe. Enter your friends email here and send them your recipe. It’s that easy!

Posted on Facebook – Wow your friend might like your recipe, so will other friends. You can select the Facebook icon and post your recipe to your Facebook page to be seen by call your friends. Especially if you’ve been adding photos to your recipes, your posts will really stand out and be appreciated by lots of your friends and family.

Posted on Pinterest – Here’s another way to share your recipes if they have photos attached. Pinterest was built around sharing photos and when you share one of your recipes on this social media platform, the photo becomes the pin and people who click on it will see your recipe.

Print your recipe – If your friend simply wants a printed copy of your recipe, it is easy to select the print icon and simply print them a copy and give it to them.

You also might want to suggest to your friends that they create their own family cookbook account so they can share their recipes as well!

 

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!

Stuck inside? Now is the time to add recipes to our family cookbook!

We at Family Cookbook Project know that the Corona virus is a health concern for everyone. Dealing with our current pandemic is no fun for anyone. Specially with so many people now out of work and having to shelter in place, unable to keep up with their busy lifestyles.

If you are looking for something interesting to do while you are stuck home, consider adding a few new recipes to your family cookbook.

Adding a recipes is as easy as filling out a short form on our cookbook’s website. If you cook the dish, you can also take a photo of your food and add it to your recipe.

The other idea to try while you are shut in is to cook one of the fabulous dishes that have already been added to our cookbook. If you like what you try, please add to the story at the bottom of the recipe and let others know what your thought.

You can also use Family Cookbook Project’s communication tool to reach out to your contributors and suggest they use this free time to submit recipes. Go to the Communication Center in your Editor’s Account and click on the “Contact existing contributors” link. Here you can select the people you want to receive the email and send them as message. Use the text below to populate the message field and then modify for your own personal use.

Subject: Stuck inside? Now is the time to add recipes to our family cookbook!

We know that the Corona virus is a health concern for everyone. Dealing with our current pandemic is no fun for anyone. Specially with so many people now out of work and having to shelter in place, unable to keep up with their busy lifestyles.

If you are looking for something interesting to do while you are stuck home, consider adding a few new recipes to our family cookbook COOKBOOK TITLE. Adding a recipes is as easy as filling out a short form on our cookbook’s website. If you cook the disk, you can also take a photo of your food and add it to your recipe.

Your personal log in instructions are at the bottom of this email.

The other idea to try while you are shut in is to cook one of the fabulous dishes that have already been added to our cookbook. If you like what you try, please add to the story at the bottom of the recipe and let others know what your thought.

While the impact of this pandemic will be hard on many people, it does give us an opportunity to get caught up on many things that we have not had the time to do in our busy lives.

 

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!

Be Proud of your Family Cookbook!

Family Cookbook Project has helped thousands of families and individuals create lasting treasured Mementos and preserved family recipes for future generations.

We have received hundreds of great comments about people being Family Cookbook Projects. You can see many of these comments in our what they’re saying about family cookbook section of our blog.

In fact, in a recent survey of cookbook editors 94% said that they would recommend Family Cookbook Project to a friend.

While we have loads of great comments, we have very few photos of cookbook editors with their finished product. And this is where you can come in.

If you’ve printed your cookbook, please have someone take a picture of you with your cookbook and send it to us. We would love to share these photos on social media and in our monthly newsletter.

It’s important that people looking to start a cookbook can see that real people like you having already done so successfully.

Send your photos to bill@familycookbookproject.com

 

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 Users are Saying About FamilyCookbookProject.com

During our recent survey of more than 2,000 cookbook editors, we asked them to please tell us in their own words about your experience creating a family cookbook with Familycookbookproject.com. Here are what some of them said:

 

It is a delight looking through The Matthews Family Cookbook Project. My Mom passed away recently and it always brings a smile to my face seeing her recipes in print.–Amy Spino

It was a lot of work, but I had a great time putting it together. Didn’t advertise, just let locals know via FB. Was overwhelmed with compliments and sales. Received many letters thanking me for doing this cookbook. So pleased with the results and plan to do a Vol.III and offer to sell through stores, etc. So much fun! – Linda, Favorite Recipes from Wardell Party Home, Vol. 2

We sold 526 cookbooks in 14 months and made a net profit of $5,172. Mr Lowell was quick to respond to my questions. The cookbook was completed in 3 months, 461 recipes. The funds allowed us to support many of our outreach programs. I highly recommend familycookbookproject.com.– Glendale Christian Church Ladies Circle Cookbook, Donna, Editor.

The Eaton, Jorae, & Plunkett Reunion Remembrances Cookbook was done to celebrate the 100th year our Eaton descendants coming together. We decided that a cookbook and bookmarks were the winners over t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc. Everyone was invited to participate and directions were shared. It was a labor of love. With Gail as our’ editor, Family Cookbook Project guided us and our cookbook was published with ease. Thank you, guys

Creating my cookbook was fun and easy! My family and I completed ours together as a memorial to my grandfather who was an amazing baker. During the process we were able to share stories of growing up in his kitchen and now we have those to pass on to the next generation.

I had been looking for an affordable cookbook site to compile a family cookbook as a gift to my grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins. This is the first site I found that could fill my needs. The site is user-friendly, provides easy editing and numerous options. When I had a couple of questions, I received a surprisingly quick response. I haven’t completed the book but am enjoying the process.

I created one for my family and friends. When I talked about how much we enjoyed it with my church family, they wanted to do one for the church.

This was a great way to assemble family favorites and connect personal stories and memories to each. It was a gift of good taste and memories that I could leave to my family since I had been diagnosed with a serious illness last summer…..book and I am still here! Great Christmas gift! – Lore of the Mmmm, Yumm, Funn Family Cookbook

 

The Family Cookbook Project is dedicated to helping individuals and families collect and preserve the time-honored recipes that are so important to our family traditions. This website has helped thousands of families and groups coordinate the creation of personalized cookbooks by provides step-by-step instructions and online tools to create a valuable family heirloom.  Personalized cookbooks are also used by schools and church groups as important fundraisers. Start your own cookbook today at www.FamilyCookbookProject.com.

 

How to Bold Text in a Family Cookbook Recipe

Have you ever wanted to call everyone’s attention to a specific line an a recipe?

Do not cook longer than 10 minutes!

Add ingredients in this specific order!

Do not preheat your oven!

Certain directions are critical to the outcome of a favorite dish and Family Cookbook Project as made it easy if you want to bold your text in a recipe.  You just have to learn HTML or Hyper Text Markup Language, the programming language of every website on the Internet.

Now before you say “I’m not a computer programmer, I can barely turn on my laptop”. It’s super easy for what you want to do.

In directions, comments and ingredients when you are adding a new recipe, you can use simple HTML tags like:

<b>BOLD</b>
<i>Italic</i>
<u>Underline</u>

Replace the word between the tags with what you want to appear in that format. It’s as simple as that!

For example <b>Do not cook longer than 10 minutes!</b> looks like this Do not cook longer than 10 minutes!

If you use Do not cook longer than 10 minutes! it will look like this Do not cook longer than 10 minutes!

and if you use <u>Do not cook longer than 10 minutes!</u> it will look like this Do not cook longer than 10 minutes!

The most important thing to remember is that all tags start with “<>” and end with a “</>”. If you forget the /> then every thing else in your recipe will be based on the tag you used. Don’t forget your “</>”!

Family Cookbook Project is always looking for ways to make your favorite recipes come to life for you and your family.

 

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!

How to Motivate Your Family Cookbook Recipe Contributors

As with any family project, getting everyone to contribute can be a challenge, especially if they have not seen the end product beforehand.

Here are some tips to keep your Family Cookbook Project contributors motivated:

The more the merrier – Be sure to include everyone, not just the great cooks. Everyone likes to be asked to participate and the more you invite, the more recipes you’ll likely get. To add contributors and send an email invitation, > Use the Invitation Tool

Set a reasonable deadline – Set the submission deadline on the “Project Information Editor” page, but don’t set it too far in the future. We all tend to put off whatever we can and contributing recipes is often one of those things. A month is usually enough time to give everyone to find the recipes they want to contribute and get them entered. Two things to remember: most of the recipes will come in just in time for the deadline and second, you can always extend the deadline if you want more recipes.

Send regular updatesUse the Reminder Tool to email some or all of your contributors on a regular basis. Remind them of the deadline and ask them to meet a specific goal, like “please add one or two recipes to each category”.

Target the biggest recipe boxes – Every family has a handful of people who are known for their cooking (you are most likely one of them in your family!). Send a personal message to them either using the remainder tool or reaching out by telephone, Facebook or with a personal visit. People are flattered when their skills are recognized. Let them know the cookbook would not be complete without their contributions.

Ask for specific recipes – Send a reminder to everyone asking for a specific recipe from your family’s past that will get everyone thinking of past gatherings. Include your memories of that dish or the person who created it. It might help remind everyone why putting together a family cookbook is important.

Use social media – As you add your own recipes to your family cookbook, it is easy to post them to Facebook or pin them to Pinterest. Sharing your recipes this way shows other family members that you are contributing and shows them they should as well.

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!

The best cookie recipes can be frozen and used as needed

In our house, there is nothing like a warm, soft cookie right out of the oven. However since it is not practical to make dough for only a few cookies at a time, the next best thing is to freeze your cookie dough and pull out enough cookies for your immediate needs.

Freezing cookies also provides time saving opportunities when you want to get ready for a holiday cookie swap in October or getting ready for a school bake sale anytime.

How you best freeze cookies depends on what type of cookie you are making. The FamilyCookbook Project had collected thousands of cookie recipes if you need a suggestion.

Cookies like chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin freeze best if you make the actual cookie beforehand. Scoop out the dough just as if you were about to bake it and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat (they can be close, but not touching). Instead of putting it into the oven, but them into the freezer for atleast 6 hours instead. Once frozen, the dough balls get sealed inside a plastic freezer bag and when it is time to bake, you are ready to go.

Cookies like shortbread or sandies, or any smooth slice-and-bake cookies can be pressed into logs, wrapped in wax paper and frozen solid. Prepare the dough as usual, then shape it into one or two logs that can be covered with wax paper and placed in a plastic freezer bag. When you’re ready to bake, let them warm on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. You might also want to let the logs thaw in the fridge for a few hours before you’re ready to use the dough. Slice the cookies into thick disks and you’re ready to put them in the oven as usual.

The third type of cookies that can be frozen are cut-out cookies, like sugar cookies and many holiday cookies. The dough for these cookies can be frozen in disks and then stacked together with wax paper between them. When ready to bake, thaw until bendable and continue with the recipe.

Most frozen cookies will need an extra minute or two in the oven. Otherwise, prepping and baking the cookies is exactly the same as in the recipe.

 

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!

How to Take Great Food Photos for Your Recipes

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and with recipes that is especially true.

It’s wonderful to read a list of ingredients and see the potential in a recipe, but to look at the finished product can make your mouth water!

Family Cookbook Project highly recommends adding a photo to every recipe you can in your online cookbook. It helps people to see what to expect when they follow your recipe and gives them a standard to meet when comparing their finished dish to the original.

With the advent of digital camera built into cell phones, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take good food photos.

Here are some pointers to help improve your recipe photos:

Use Natural Light – Make sure that the light is right – shoot the food either next to a bright window or under a pendant light in the restaurant. Don’t use your camera’s flash! Set your dish near a window and turn off any artificial lights that might be on nearby. Try to photograph with the light at your back or to the side of a dish, so that the shadows are to the side or behind it. 

Hold Still – Taking photos inside, even with ample natural light, often means you have to hold the camera very still to keep it from registering hand shake. If you have a tripod, that’s ideal. If you don’t, you can duplicate the tripod effect by resting your elbows on the table or counter and using them to stabilize the camera. Moving the camera when taking a photo will only lead to blurry unusable photos. 

Get close to the food! – Don’t stand back three feet and get the food with the stove, the dirty dishes, and all the condiments around it. Move in and get up close and personal, and let the pan…or the plate…or the cutting board fill the frame.  

Stage the shot – The food isn’t the only thing in the photo. Using plates, silverware and linens in complementary colors can help your dish come alive. Shoot food on a beautiful plate or on a table with texture and character. The more appetizing the ingredients, the better your photo will be. Plates that contain colored vegetables and/or meat, preferably in light-colored sauces, are often the most appealing to the eye in photos. Also Don’t be Afraid of a mess. A few crumbs or a smear of dressing can be beautiful, if you let them. 

Focus on the food –  If you are using a DSLR, stop down your lens to f/1.8 or f/2.0 that limits your depth of field to one part of the image only, blurring out everything around the subject, simulating a shot taken with a macro lens. If you are using an iPhone, there are apps, such as Camera+ or VSCO Cam, that will create the same effect. Remember, you want the food to be the main focus, not the background. 

Try different angles –  Get up over the food and shoot straight down on it. When shooting overheads, if appropriate, try filling up the frame with what’s already on the table such as cups, wine glasses, utensils and moving hands. You can also  think in three dimensions, You might not usually serve brownies piled in a vertical column, but stacking any flat food, like pancakes, cookies, or even onion rings, is a great way to show off texture and make the photo more appealing. You can also add dimension to your food photos by showing the dish right after the that first bite is taken, or the second and third. These are little details that make a viewer feel like they’ve sat down and are enjoying the meal. 

Get Close to Ugly Foods  – Some foods, no matter how good they taste, just don’t make good photos. But the closer you get to your subject, the more the visual story becomes about texture and color, rather than pure mouth-watering beauty.Avoid foods that are white and gloppy, such as congealed gravy on white pasty mashed potatoes. 

Size Matters –  Make sure your camera settings are set for a good sized photo. Small photos look blurry when they are enlarged on line. A photo viewed online only has to be 72 dpi (dots per inch, the measure for quality), but if you are going to print your photo, you want it to be at least 300 dpi. 600 pixels wide (a measurement for size) is a good target for minimum photo size.

Using other’s photos – It is important to note that the Internet makes it easy to find photos of recipes already taken. While this might be much easier, the photo still is the property of whomever holds the rights. Don’t always assume that because a photo is on the Internet you can simply use it for your recipe. Make sure you ask permission from the owner before you use it.

 

Bill Rice takes more than 20,000 photos a year and is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!