Category Archives: Recipes

Family Cookbook Project Launches 4 new Pinterest Boards

Family Cookbook Project Pinterest Account

Many of our cookbook editors and contributors are frequent users of the social media sharing site Pinterest and one of the biggest categories are recipes. Who doesn’t like looking at photos of food and having access to the recipe to boot!

Family Cookbook Project is launching four new collections of recipes, known on Pinterest as “Boards”. Each one will focus on a different category of recipes contributed by our cookbook community.

These new Pinterest boards join our existing 11 boards:

If you are a Pinterest user, please follow Family Cookbook Project or any of the boards of interest.

If you are not yet a Pinterest user, what are you waiting for! You can click on any of the links above to see what it is like and then create a free account to save pins to your own board. And be sure to follow Family Cookbook Project!

 

Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher of FamilyCookbookProject, a website that helps people create personalized cookbooks for families, friends and fundraising efforts.

Using Photos with 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!

The 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, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

The most important part of your recipe – the title

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!

How Many Recipes Does My Cookbook Need?

Cookbook-CoversOne question every cookbook editor wants to know is how many recipes should my cookbook have? Too many and printing costs are higher, not enough and the cookbook is not as valuable. What’s a family cookbook editor to do?

Looking at the thousands of cookbooks we have printed over the past decade, there is no real number of recipes that make up a good cookbook  – you have what you have.  We have printed cookbooks with just 15 great recipes and as many as 1200!  However, that 1200 recipe book was 750 pages – HUGE!

The average size seems to be around 150 recipes and that is why we use that number in our cost calculator.

When a great cookbook has less recipes, often the editor includes other content to augment the food offerings. Photos of each dish, a section of family photos, a family tree or family stories about people remembered can really add value to a smaller cookbook.

Larger cookbooks can be impressive simply by the number of recipes it contains. However, since printing cost is directly related to the number of pages that need to be printed, it is important to be mindful of your design choices when choosing your layout options.

At the end of the day, your cookbook is exactly that – your cookbook. You need to balance the number and quality of the recipes included with the needs of your family.

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.

Understanding Recipe Privacy

IMG_8391When you or a contributor adds a recipe to your online cookbook, there is an option to make your recipe private. If you check this box just above the save button, your recipe will only be available to those individuals who are logged into your online cookbook. Some people choose this option when a recipe is not yet ready to be shared publicly or they simply want to limit the people who have access to it.
However, there are many benefits to sharing your recipe publicly. Public recipes are indexed by Google and other search engines. You can access your recipes simply by entering your name and the recipe name into Google. Online access from any computer without having to remember your log in information is very convenient.
Family Cookbook Project also searches the public recipes to look for the best recipes to be included one of the Family Cookbook Project’s “Best of” cookbooks we publish. We also promote public recipes on our Facebook pages and on Pinterest. This allows us to highlight your recipes to the other Cookbook Editors, which is truly an honor.
We believe recipes are made to be shared, just like the dishes that are made from them. So next time you enter your favorite recipe into your Family Cookbook Project online recipe box, be sure to mark it public so it can be shared.

Copyrighting and proper usage of recipes

One issue that comes up regularly for family cookbook project editors is the topic of copy-writing recipes and proper usage. While we at the FamilyCookbookProject.com are not lawyers and do not give legal advice, our research shows that recipes cannot generally be copyrighted. 

At the same time, it does not make it right to simply take credit for other people’s work. One way to avoid this is to give credit where credit is due. If your contributor submits a recipe that they originally found in a magazine or cookbook, it is appropriate to list the source in the notes section of the recipe.

A few articles of interest in this topic

Copyright Office flyer on recipes
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.pdf

Copyrighting Recipes
http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/copyright/copyright-realworld/recipe-copyrighting.html

Questions & Answers – Copyrighting Recipes
http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/CookbookAdvice.htm

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!

Rating Your Favorite Recipes

StarsCreating a printed personal cookbook on FamilyCookbookProject.com can be a rewarding experience, but your interaction with the website does not have to stop there.

A majority of people who have created cookbooks continue to use the website as an online resource either from their desktop computer or by using our “award-winning” mobile app.

One fun thing to do is to rate the recipes you use from your cookbook.

Rating recipes is easy. Go to the “view recipes by contributor” and find the favorite recipe that you have added to the cookbook so far. Click on the title of the recipe to view it.  Right under the title is something that says “Rate this recipe” and 5 gray stars. To rate this recipe, simply click on the last star of your score. So if you think it is a “5 star” recipe, click on the last star. If it is a “4 star” recipe, click on the fourth star and so on.

You can also click in between to stars to give it a 4.5 star rating!

The next person who views the recipe will see your rating (although they will not know it came from you) and will be able to leave their own rating.

Over time you will see how many people rated your recipes and how much they liked them. It is one more way FamilyCookbookProject.com helps to build a dialog around your recipes.

Give it a try today and invite the others in your cookbook to do the same!

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!

How To Bold Text In Your Family Cookbook Project Recipe

Html-tagHave 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.

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How to Scan Your Recipes into a Cookbook

Scan_Cookbook1Many of us have old recipe boxes that contain many many recipes that are written in the handwriting of someone from the past that we would like to preserve and include it our cookbook. 

At FamilyCookbookProject.com, you can scan a recipe, personal letter or other family treasure and include it in your cookbook very easily. Here’s how: First you need to scan the recipe card or find someone who can do this for you. Many people have home scanners that are very easy to use – or know someone who has one. 

When scanning, make sure the scanner saves the image as a JPEG file (check the settings). If it saves it as a PDF, you will need to open the PDF and “save as” a JPEG. Another setting you need to check is the image quality. Usually 150 to 300 DPI (Dots per Inch) is high enough for including in your cookbook. 

Scanning actually creates a photo image of your recipe card that we can import into your cookbook software. Now your scanned image can be simply placed into your cookbook as you would any other photo.  

Collections of Scanned Recipes 

Sometimes family cookbook editors was their entire cookbooks to be a collection of scanned recipes. While not impossible, this can be a lot of work for the editor. 

The problem with scanned recipes is that the cookbook software system can not read the text in the image to create titles and indexes and other parts of the cookbook. The computer just sees them as photos. 

 So you have two options: 

You can include the scanned images as photos attached to recipes that you have typed into the system. This way the original item is included above the typed version. I don’t know about you, but my mother’s cursive writing is not always the most easy thing to read (sorry mom) and recipe cards are often smudged with food from meals passed and not always easy to read. 

The other option is to enter just the title of the recipe and it’s category and leave the rest of the fields on the “add a recipe” form blank. This will give you the title of the recipe and allow an index to be created. Next upload the scanned image of the recipe and it will appear with the recipe title.

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!