Category Archives: Food for Thought

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.
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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 project.com just got easier

QuickStart HomepageOne of the things we are most proud of about the Award-winning FamilyCookbookProject.com 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.

 

Family Cookbooks Make Great Christmas Gifts

FamilyEatingOkay, the important question of the month: “When is the deadline to ensure Christmas delivery of Michelle Rice’s Favorite Recipes?”

Answer: Thursday, November 30th! There will be an extended deadline, but upgraded shipping will probably be required.

Since personal family cookbooks make a great Christmas gift for both friends and family members, a great many people are working hard to get their cookbooks completed and ordered. That means the sooner your done and have placed your order, the sooner you will receive them!

 

New Recipe Feature: Multi-Part Recipes!

Have you ever had a cake recipe that really needed a specific frosting? Or a meat recipe that required a special sauce? Wouldn’t it be great if a a recipe could have sub recipes attached to keep them together?

Now you can!

Many of our editors have asked for the ability to have multiple sections or steps in recipes. We like to listen and have added it! Now you can have up to 5 “sub” recipes or steps within a recipe, each with its own set of ingredients and directions. Example? You have Carrot Cake and you want a section for the “Cake” with its ingredients and directions, then “Cream Cheese Frosting” with another set of ingredients and directions.

To use this feature, simply go to Add Recipe or Edit an existing recipe. You will see a checkbox just above the Contributor field. Check the box and it will add a section title for the main recipe ingredients/directions and also a button below the first directions “Add New Sub Recipe.” Click that button to add additional sub title, ingredients and directions sections.

Multi-part recipes

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Family Cookbook Project Highlighted in Cape Cod Home Magazine

CCHome Cover SMIn the Winter Issue of Cape Cod Home Magazine, FamilyCookbookProject.com is highlighted in a two page spread by reporter Haley Cote. Haley met with founders Bill Rice and Chip Lowell in Wellfleet this summer and learned how the Great Family Cookbook Project was started 12 years ago and how it has grown to be one of the most successful cookbook making websites on the Internet.

Read the article on creating a family cookbook at CapeCodLife.com

Here is the article if you’d like to read it. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to Cape Cod Home Magazine,

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The most important part of your recipe – the title

495379recipepic65541-Jacques-Torres-Secret-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-RecipeYour recipe title is the single most important element of your recipe. This is because your title is a headline, and the headline in any type of content has one special and powerful property.

Think about how you read a cookbook looking for a recipe to try.  You don’t start in the front and read every page like a novel then pick the one you want. No, you scan the pages looking for a photo or recipe title that catches your eye and looks interesting!

Of all the elements in your recipe, the title has the greatest power for grabbing your readers’ attention and the greatest responsibility for enticing them to continue and read your recipe It follows that the better your title, the higher the chance of turning a recipe scanner into a recipe reader (and ultimately a recipe user).

For a recipe title to be effective it needs to consider several things:

Grab Attention – Like any headline you need to grab the readers attention.

Describe the food being prepared – “Gruel” is one of my son’s favorite dishes, however it no one outside the family knows what it is. Including the main ingredient of the dish and even how it us prepared make the title more useful. “Baked Hamburger Gravy” would be a more descriptive title for our gruel.

Be different and unique – If you have seen the recipe title before, it does not belong on your recipe!

Include the source – In family cookbooks, certain people are associated with certain recipes. Grandma’s Apple Pie or Lou’s Lemon Bars help the reader image exactly what dish you are referring to. It just does not help anyone who is not at family gatherings!

Sell the sizzle as well as the steak – This means to highlight the benefit, the reason why this recipe is worth making.

Recipe titles that address cooking and eating needs are more likely to seduce the reader into the recipe itself. A good title clearly shows the reader which of their cooking and eating needs the recipe addresses. Every readers’ need is different. For example, it could be for something indulgent or something low fat, or something quick and easy or something sophisticated and thus involved, or something refined or something rustic.

Consider the following recipe titles: ‘Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies’, ‘Quick ‘n’ Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies’, ‘Grandma’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies’, ‘Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies’. Notice how each title addresses a different need and even appeals to different audiences. Quite simply, as the chocolate chip cookie examples show, it’s all down to the words you choose for your title.

With a little thought and imagination, your recipe titles can stand out and make your readers give your recipes the attention they deserve.

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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