Create a Family Recipe Book


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Are your drawers bulging with scraps of paper from recipes your friends have shared? Magazine clippings you have collected? Do you have a collection of recipes that have been passed down to you from previous family generations? Not to mention all those recipes you have collected on the net. If so, now is the time to organize them into a family recipe book.

Start by gathering the recipes together, your own, and recipes you already have from other family members. Call and ask (mother, sister, aunt etc) if they have any favourite recipes to contribute and share with the family in your book.

The next step is to get the recipes you have gathered onto computer ready to save as a CD or to print out as a hardcopy book.

How to create an indexed recipe book in Microsoft Word

In Microsoft Word open "New Word Document".

Type in the title of your document. For Example: My Personal Recipe Book, Jane's Recipe Book or Smith Family Cookbook or whatever you feel is appropriate.

Under your title type in the category headings, one per line, for each section required.

Egg Dishes

And any relevant headings in the order you would like to have them appear.

Next: On your toolbar, go to the box that says "Normal".

Highlight each category, and click on style "Heading 1" from the drop down menu box to format the text.

When you see a recipe on the Internet that you can use, highlight it, go to "copy" then "paste" it into your document in the appropriate category.

Next highlight the recipe (e.g. Chocolate cookies) then using the style box again, make it "Heading 2".

Then go to "Insert" on your top bar and select "Index and Tables" then insert "Table of Contents".

Your recipe categories will now appear as chapter headings and the name of the recipe appears as a section within the chapter.

The page numbers in the table of contents are hyper-linked.

To go to a particular section or recipe click on the page number with your left mouse button.

Take photos of finished dishes from your digital camera (or scan prints into document) to illustrate your book.

Over time you will end up with a very large document. Just be sure to back up your data every so often.

What about Magazine and Newspaper Clippings?

Magazine and newspaper clippings can be scanned into the appropriate category of your recipe database or manually typed in.

It takes a little time to put them onto computer. If you do a few at a time it is well worth the effort.

Hint: Put the recipes you use all the time at the beginning of each category. This makes them quick to locate in the index.

You will end up with a very professional looking cookbook easily accessible from your kitchen laptop or printed out and kept tidily in a ringed binder ready for use.

If you don't have a scanner to get your recipes onto computer on a blank piece of A4 photocopy paper paste your recipes - in category groupings - and place in A4 clear plastic page protectors designed for use in a ring binder. Insert the sleeves into indexed sections e.g. meat, deserts etc. ready for use in the kitchen.

Creating a family recipe book is a great way to preserve your family’s recipes and pass them on to the next generation and makes a wonderful gift to give your children when they leave home. Copy your file onto CD so they can keep a copy on their computer or make a special printed version of their own. You can have pages spiral bound at a copy centre - or do it yourself. 

Remember to give a copy to extended family members as well.

Editors Note: Another quick and easy way to to create your own personal book is to use the services of a site like and you will have a professional looking book in no time at all you will be proud to share.


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