Category Archives: Food for Thought

Award-winning Family Cookbook Project Puts Customers First pioneered the use of the Internet to create personal cookbooks and family cookbook online as a way to lower the cost for consumers. We were the first cookbook publisher to use the Internet to allow editors to submit their recipes, designing their cookbooks, choose a professionally-designed cover, invite others to contribute and offer tools to communicate with contributors.

And our efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Web Marketing Association recognizes the top websites in 96 different categories. Family Cookbook Project has been a consistent winner in these internationally recognized award programs. was named recognized for its outstanding website development 9 times since 2005. Awards include Best Family Website, Best Publish Website and Publish and Family Standard of Excellence awards.

Family Cookbook Project monthly newsletter, Food for Thought, has also been recognized as the Best Family Newsletter in the 2018 Internet advertising competition.

Finally, Family Cookbook Project’s award winning app for both iPhones, iPads and android devices has also been recognized in the MobileWebAwards as Best Family Mobile App and Best Publishing App for the past four years straight.

Here is the complete list of Web Marketing Association awards one by Family Cookbook Project:

WebAwards Competition for Website Development

2018 Best Family Website

2017 Publishing Standard of Excellence

2016 Best Publishing Website

2015 Family Standard of Excellence, Publishing Standard of Excellence

2013 Best Publishing Website

2012 Family Standard of Excellence, Publishing Standard of Excellence

2011 Best Publishing Website

2009 Family Standard of Excellence, Publishing Standard of Excellence

2005 Best Family Website


Internet Advertising Competition Awards

2019 Family Cookbook Project Newsletter Best Family Online Newsletter Campaign, Best Publishing Online Newsletter Campaign

2013 Family Cookbook Project Best Award Ad



Family Cookbook Mobile App

2018 Best Family Mobile Application, Best Publishing Mobile Application

2017 Best Family Mobile Application, Best Publishing Mobile Application

2016 Best Family Mobile Application, Best Publishing Mobile Application

2015 Best Family Mobile Application, Best Publishing Mobile Application

2014 Best Publishing Mobile Application

2013 Best Publishing Mobile Application


These awards along with all of the wonderful testimonials we have received over the years is a testament to our commitment to innovative web development, strong customer service and putting the customer first when it comes to creating a personal cookbook for individuals and families.


Bill Rice is the publisher of the award-winning Family Cookbook Project which helps individuals and families create treasured personal cookbooks.

Common Hot Peppers at your Grocery Store

Every time I go to the grocery store to do my photo shopping I am amazed at how many different varieties of peppers there are. Hot or sweet, red, yellow or green, big or small. The variety is almost endless.

So I decided to do a little research and see how each of the peppers flavor profiles are different. Here is what I found.

The heat of a pepper is measured using Scoville units: The scale ranges from 0 (as in bell peppers) all the way to a scary 3,000,000+! Most dried chiles you will encounter fall somewhere in the middle but can still be pretty hot! The Scoville scale is a good start each type can vary based how and where they were grown. Peppers are also a good source of vitamins A, C, and E, they’re also rich in potassium and should be an important part of anyone’s diet.



Also known as green peppers, red pepper or sweet bell pepper, they have a Scoville heat rating of 0. Relatively large in size, the bell-shaped pepper in its immature state is green with a slightly bitter flavor. As it matures, it turns bright red and becomes sweeter. You can also usually find yellow and orange varieties. With their high water content, bell peppers will add moisture and color to any dish.


Sometimes called yellow wax pepper or banana chili, these peppers have a Scoville heat rating between 0 and 500.

This mild yet tangy pepper adds a kick to pizza or sandwiches. This pepper usually takes on a bright yellow hue as it ripens, but occasionally grows to be red, orange or green instead.



Also known as Pimiento and pimento peppers. They have a have a Scoville heat rating 500.

Characteristics: This lovely pepper is sweet on the outside and the inside. Bright red and shaped like a heart, this large pepper barely registers on the Scoville scale, but makes up for its lack of spice with a sweet, succulent flavor. You’ll commonly find cherry peppers chopped and stuffed into green olives, in pimento loaves and pimento cheese.



The Poblano or Ancho pepper is somewhat large and heart-shaped, the poblano is common in Mexican dishes such as chiles rellenos. Are poblano peppers spicy? Yes, but only mildly spicy (Scoville heat units: 1,000 to 2,000). At maturity, the poblano turns dark red-brown and can be dried, at which point it’s referred to as an ancho or mulato. Anchos have a rich, raisin-like sweetness. The high yield of flesh to skin makes anchos great for sauces.



Also know as California green chile, chile verde, New Mexican chile, this long pepper is relatively mild and very versatile. When mature, the Anaheim turns deep red and are referred to a chile Colorado or California red chile. Anaheims are popular in salsas and dishes from the American Southwest. The Anaheim is normally a very mild hot pepper, only tipping the Scoville scale at around 500 to 2,500 Scoville heat units. That makes the Anaheim normally at least eight times milder than the average jalapeño.



This Mexican pepper is typically plucked from the vine while still green. If allowed to ripen more, they will turn red and take on a slightly fruity flavored. Jalapeños are a tasty ingredient commonly used to in salsa and sauces. When dried, a jalapeño is called a chipotle. Smoke-dried chipotles come in two varieties: meco (mellow) and moritas (spicier). Smoky, woodsy, and spicy, chipotles are the perfect ingredient for salsas, sauces, escabeche, and adobo.will have a Scoville heat unit index of 3,500 to 8,000.



Just a couple of inches long, with a tapered end, this small pepper packs quite a bit of heat. Beware: The smaller the pepper, the hotter it is. When ripe, serranos are red or yellowish orange—they can be cooked in both their ripe and unripe states. Serranos are common in Mexican and Thai cooking and have a rating of 6,000 to 23,000 Scoville heat units.



Slender and tapered, this chile is probably most familiar in its dried, ground form—the powder known as cayenne pepper. Ground cayenne pepper is a main ingredient in the chili powder that flavors Tex-Mex dishes such as chili con carne. It’s one of the spiciest types of peppers with a Scoville heat units rating of 30,000 to 50,000.



Best known for the sauce that bares its name, this pepper grows throughout the world. At maturity, the pepper measures one to two inches and is bright red. To create the famous tabasco sauce, the pepper is smashed and combined with salt and vinegar, which tempers the pepper’s heat the Scoville rating of Tabasco Sauce is 2,500 to 5,000 — a mere fraction of its rating as a pepper of 30,000 to 60,000 Scoville units.



Small and bulbous, this chile, in the same family as the Scotch bonnet, is one of the hottest on the Scoville scale you can typically get at the grocery store. If you can get past the heat, habañeros also have a fruity flavor. They’re popular on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and in the Caribbean, where they’re used to make hot sauces. They pack a Scoville heat units rating of 150,000 to 350,000.



Sometimes called Bonney peppers, ball of fire peppers, cachucha or Caribbean red peppers, this spicy pepper is called a scotch bonnet thanks to its resemblance to the caps men wear in Scotland (tam o’ shanter hats, to be precise). It’s the hottest pepper in the Caribbean and used to flavor all sorts of island dishes, including jerk chicken. Though the pepper is most often spicy, you will occasionally find a sweet variety, called cachucha. Scoville heat units cal top 80,000–400,000.



Sometimes called Bhut Naga Jolokia (bhut means ghost, naga means snake, and jolokia is chile), the name alone sounds daunting. This chile has a venomous bite! The ghost pepper hails from Northeastern India and is also cultivated in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. So how hot is this hair raiser? With more than 1 million Scoville units, it’s approximately half as hot as the pepper spray used by law enforcement but 100 times hotter than a jalapeño. One of the hottest (edible) peppers in the world, ghost peppers are used — sparingly — in chutney and curry.


The potent spicy heat you experience eating chili peppers is caused by capsaicin, a colorless, odorless, waxy compound found in the white pith of the pepper’s inner wall where the seeds are attached. Capsaicin can improve digestion by increasing digestive fluids in the stomach and by fighting bacteria that can cause stomach infections. You can trim and wash the pith and seeds away to dilute the capsaicin, but use disposable kitchen gloves and avoid wiping your eyes or nose. Be sure to wash your hands with vinegar or soap when you are finished working with hot peppers.


Bill Rice is the Publisher of Family Cookbook Project, which helps create and print custom cookbooks for individuals and families. He likes eating peppers with less than 50,000 Scovile Units whenever possible.




It’s time to start thinking about Christmas

There is a reason why 90% of the cookbooks prints are submitted in late November and early December. Everyone knows that family cookbook‘s make great Christmas gifts! Everyone wants something personal and special to give to love ones at the holidays and a family cookbook is makes the perfect gift.

Why are we telling you this in July? Well cookbooks don’t just happen by themselves, they need to be have recipes at it, professionally design covers selected and everything proofread before they are submitted for printing.

The Time it takes to have your cookbook printed and shipped also more than doubles just before the holidays because of the sheer volume. So now is the time to put your efforts into your cookbook and have it completed and submitted for printing by the time September rolls around.


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

It’s Family Reunion and Summer Planning Time!

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June seems to be one of the busiest months for families. It also is the gateway to summer family reunions, picnics and vacations.

Planning Ahead
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 Cookbooks 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 and USPS 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.

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. In just 2-3 weeks, your cookbooks should be in your hands!

Wedding Season!

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There is no better way to get wedding guests involved prior to the event than asking them to contribute recipes for a wedding cookbook. Once the recipes are preserved online, they can be shared with other family members by email, individual printed recipes or provide a valuable lasting gift for attendees at the wedding reception.

“I just received our box of ‘Jake and Julia’s Friends and Family Cookbooks’ today! They turned out fabulous! I am so pleased, and so excited to give it to them at their wedding! Thanks so much for the wonderful website! This was just what we wanted, and we received such a great response from our family members who contributed.”
–Rita Flatz, Jake and Julia’s Friends and Family Cookbooks

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Highlighting recipes with recipe symbols

We would like to announce a new feature to Family Cookbook Project – recipe symbols.

Many of our editors have asked for the ability to add special icons to recipe titles to call special attention to them in a cookbook table of contents. We thought it was a good idea, so we have updated our programming to add this new feature.

Here are the current set of recipe symbols:

New Recipe Symbols from Family Cookbook Project

As the editor you can add these recipe symbols to any recipe right after you have entered the recipe title on the “Add a recipe” page. There is a drop-down menu to select the symbol to be included in that recipe.

For recipes already added to your cookbook, you can edit that recipe and add a symbol of your choice.

A key of icons and their meanings used in your cookbook will also appear on the bottom of your table of contents page. If you don’t include a specific symbol, it will not be included in your icon key list.

Right now, only the editor can add recipe symbols to the titles of recipes. That is to give you control over the look and feel of your cookbook. In the future we might add the ability for contributors to add symbols and the editor to approve their placement, but that will be considered for future enhancements.

This new feature will be available on both the site as well as the site.

Please let us know how you like the recipe symbols.

Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher at Family Cookbook Project which helps individuals and fundraising groups create cherished personalized cookbooks using the power of the Internet. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Power of a Family Cookbook

We just received a lovely email from our Cookbook editor Barbara that we wanted to share:

I just wanted to thank you for all your help. I know that no matter what happens with my cookbook, this has been a very good experience for me. My order is a very small, humble one, but please know how very important it is for my family. My mom passed away a few months ago and the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death is next week. They were married for over 60 years. I feel their absence most acutely. However, my mom was a wonderful cook, and working on this project has really helped me feel closer to her. And my older son, Magnus, is really following in her footsteps. At 26, he is already becoming a very good cook. This cookbook is really for him and me. So, although the project is a small one for you, it is a very big one for us. It has already made a profound impact on my life, one that I know will only be increased as Magnus and I begin using the cookbook to make my mom’s long lost recipes.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It just goes to show that a family cookbook project is more than just a collection of recipes.
Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher at Family Cookbook Project which helps individuals and fundraising groups create cherished personalized cookbooks using the power of the Internet. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Meet the Guys Behind Family Cookbook Project

Chip Lowell and Bill Rice at a beach picnic on Cape Cod

Family Cookbook Project was began 14 years ago and was developed by two friends who both love cooking and food.  Bill Rice is the father of four and has worked on his family’s genealogy for more than two decades.  Over a wonderful summertime family meal on Cape Cod, Bill and some of his family decided to create a family cookbook.  Bill turned to his long time friend and programming expert Chip Lowell to develop a simple website to facilitate the project.  The site was such a hit with Bill’s family, the two decided to offer it access to other families looking for an opportunity to create a lasting family heirloom.

Both Bill and Chip brought a strong understanding of web development, marketing and the need for top notch customer service to help the development of Family Cookbook Project.

Bill Rice is an entrepreneur and the President of the Web Marketing Association. He brings a strong marketing and usability focus to the development of the website and it’s products. He also has written much of the text for the site and many of the blog posts (including this one!). He is an avid photographer and a senior contributor on the TripAdvisor website.

Chip Lowell is the technology guru behind the programming of Family Cookbook Project. He is also the Director of Sales and Marketing at CodeBlue Technology, LLC, based in Richmond, Virginia.  CodeBlue provides IT services throughout Richmond and central Virginia. Chip is also a grill master and loves to spend his free time (if he had any) in his back yard with his wife Sally trying new recipes on his Big Green Egg grill.

In 14 years, we have had more than 60,000 cookbook editors use our system to collect and create online cookbooks for their family, friends, church, school, group or as a fundraiser. More than 227,600 contributors have submitted over 1.6 million recipes so far and hundreds of new recipes are added every day.

So when you wonder why all of our customer service is usually done via email, it’s because we both have day jobs. However, Family Cookbook Project is a passion of ours. We love to be able to help promote the concept of personalized cookbooks for families and fundraising efforts.

Family cookbook just got easier

QuickStart HomepageOne of the things we are most proud of about the Award-winning is how easy it is to use. While the site offers so many options to make your personal cookbook look just like dreamed it would. But it still was not easy enough for us.

That is why for the past several months we have been developing a new Editor’s “Quick Start” homepage specifically to make being a cookbook editor easy. We’ve created five separate centers and added all of the features, tools and options that relate to that center in one place. You will also find quick links to the most used functions on the homepage itself.

These new Centers are:

Recipe Center

Cookbook Layout Center

Cookbook Account Center

Helpers and Contributors Center

Cookbook Printing Center


Your Choice

Now, the first thing most of you long time editors will think is that “I know where everything is now, why do I have to learn it all over!”. Well, you don’t. You will have the option to keep your existing homepage or switch to the new one. However, all new accounts will automatically start on the new homepage experience.

Instant Hints

Another new feature to help you when you use a desktop is our “Instant Hint” feature. You will now find <?> icons throughout the site and if you hover over them with your computer pointer, you will get more details on what that link does without having to click on it!

How to Select the new Editor’s homepage

The first item in your Family Cookbook Message center (the right column of your homepage) is now option to “Set Home Page”. Change this to “Quick Start” and you’ll be switched to the new homepage. Change it back to “Full Home” and you’ll reset it to the original homepage.

We Need your Help

Now it is your turn to make the site even easier. Please give the new homepage a try and then give us your feedback about what you like and dislike about our new Editor’s Homepage. Is anything is the wrong Center? What else would you like to see? Is it easier or more difficult? It’s up to you to let us know what you think and help make Family Cookbook Project the best personal cookbook publishing site on the Internet.


Keeping Your Cookbook Contributors Motivated

iStock_000004951192XSmall1As 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 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 Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Cookbook Cover Selection Tool

covertoolHow do you select a great cover for your family cookbook? You use our Cookbook Cover Selection Tool. Part of the cookbook design section, this tool displays images of each professionally designed cookbook cover that users can select with a single click.

The covers are divided into categories, including: Family, Farm, Food, Fundraising, General, Holiday, Kitchen, Religious, School, Wedding. There is also an option to see all of the covers at the same time. New categories and covers are already in the works and will be announced shortly.

Users also have the option to create their own custom cookbook cover and upload that to the Family Cookbook Project Website.

To view the Cookbook Cover Selection Tool, log in to your editor’s account and select “Book Options and Design”. Here you will see the cover categories displayed with a “+” next to it. Click on the category label to expand the section and see the covers associated with that category. It’s that simple.

In addition to cookbook covers, divider options and recipe layout options have been upgraded to use the same technology to display options in a convenient, easy to use arrangement.