General Tips for Recipe Projects

Cherish and preserve family recipes by following these recipe project tips.

| March 2018

  • recipe
    Once you have a basic family recipe collection you may be inspired to be more creative and add more recipes.
    Photo by Getty Images/aurorat
  • Cover
    "Preserving Family Recipes" by Valerie J. Frey combines tips and archival principles to teach readers everything they need to know to gather, adjust, and safely preserve family recipes.
    Cover courtesy University of Georgia Press

  • recipe
  • Cover

Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions (University of Georgia Press, 2015), by Valerie J. Frey provides useful tips for successfully gathering and preserving family recipes. The book offers advice on interviewing relatives, documenting family food traditions, and collecting oral histories to help readers savor their memories. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1, "Setting a Course."

General Recipe Project Tips

We've touched on what recipes you have now and what you might like to add to them. Let's now turn to practical matters about starting a project. Since embarking on this book, I have loved hearing success stories of recipes saved and brought back into use. Still, I wish I had a nickel for every person who sighed and said something like "Well, I started to gather my grandmother's recipes, but..." When there is great interest in developing an heirloom recipe collection, why would it remain untouched?

The pitfalls that manage to undermine a whole project are often surprisingly basic. People sometimes feel a disconnect between their hopes for a project and their confidence. ("I'm just not much of a writer." "Organizing isn't my strong suit.") As I worked and researched, I began to keep track of the common pitfalls. In order to make sure this guide is truly useful, I would be remiss if I didn't address them — especially when there are solutions.

Roadblocks are personal; what causes another person's project to grind to a halt may not slow you down at all. I leave it up to you to decide which solutions, if any, are relevant.



Start Small. We've all done it. We've all started a project so complex that it couldn't get off the ground. Right here at the beginning, it bears mentioning that it is better to create a humble family recipe collection than to stall out on an elaborate one. Once you have a basic collection, your satisfaction as well as the enthusiasm of your family may inspire you to add more recipes and turn up the creativity level.

Starting small is not just a way to keep yourself from stalling out. Particularly if you plan to create some sort of cookbook for family members who don't cook often and who aren't genealogy buffs, too much information can overwhelm. Think about offering enough recipes to interest various palates and suit various cooking needs. Add a few family facts, photos, or brief, compelling family stories to spark interest and you're done. Then you can start working on the enlarged edition or volume number 2.






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