Preserving Your Family's Food History

My fascinating with food extends far beyond fitness and exercise.  The topics I love range from just the latest cooking techniques to historical recipes.  I think a lot of that comes from my family having a rich cooking tradition, especially since both my parents have great cooking instincts.  There is also the essence of preservation of the foods from my childhood.  As we eat them less and less and as the people that make them pass on they have a real danger of becoming things which will be lost to time.  My mom’s side of the family went through the process of documenting a lot of the family recipes into a nicely bound cook book.  I wish I could say I’ve made more progress cooking my way through it, but I have tried several and they generally turn out much like I remembered them (even if sometimes I have to try it a few times).  Unfortunately not everyone has the same access to graphic design and digital publishing resources that we do.   Thankfully I ran across a site that does that and more, The Family Cookbook Project.

The premise of the site is simple enough: to provide an online collaboration source for people to post their own family recipes to share with other family members and the world.  You enter them into a relatively simple interface and it then formats it for the web or for printing into a physical cookbook.  They have both free and paid for options, depending on how much collaboration and what you are trying to do with it.  Their fees are also pretty modest, at $30 a year or $100 for a lifetime membership for your entire family.  Their printing fees are high, but that’s just due to the nature of short run printing.  Fortunately they aren’t locking you into their pricing model.  The website even suggests downloading the PDF version of the book and taking it to Kinkos the prices they are offering through the website aren’t to your liking.

The thing that got me charged up the most, to the point of wanting to write this, is the sharing feature however.  It is one thing for a recipe to be preserved for your family, but now there is a site specifically designed for sharing these heirloom recipes with the entire internet.  You will find such recipes on or other sites, but this is the one place I’ve run across that is specifically designed just for the sake of sharing these historic family recipes.  Maybe it is just me, but there is something extra special about a recipe that has familial roots rather than one concocted in a test kitchen at Kraft or at the Food Network.  It’s almost like you are getting to share in some of the family experience of the ones that have decided to give you the privilege of experiencing their family’s specialty recipes.

I haven’t used the site, so I can’t vouch for how well it works and under what conditions, but the concept and my initial views certainly look promising.  Worst case I look forward to indulging in trying some of these heirloom recipes that people have been kind enough to share with the world.