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Creating your Heirloom Recipe Book

So I love the internet for many things. Outfit inspiration, home decor inspiration, shopping, research, and yes, finding recipes. But to this day I still always reminisce over the time I spent in the kitchen with my grandma when I was a little girl, and she would pull out her recipe notecards and we would cook the meals that our family ate year after year - recipes that I still prepare today from memory because we made them together so many times (oh that woman taught me how to make a mean taco soup...). And it struck me that in the digital age we are starting to lose the concept of heirlooms. The ability to pass some things down to our children, grandchildren etc. in physical form. We have all seen it happen with photos, how often your photos all end up in only a digital form on your phone and never printed out around your house. We have even seen it with handwriting, with the jump to all things typed and printed (hence my other obsession with teaching hand lettering).

I realized that with my recipe collection all being saved pins on a Pinterest board that I have tweaked and modified and adjusted over the years on my own, I won't have that feeling of pulling out the recipe book and ultimately passing it off to my son or daughter when they are older. And that is something I simply wasn't ok with! So I created my heirloom recipe book as a means of passing down not only our recipes but also our memories in the kitchen. A scrapbook of family meal times, you might say. So here are some tips and tricks on turning the blank recipe book into a gorgeous heirloom worthy collection of recipes your family loves.

  1. Organization.

The beauty of this recipe book is that it replaces the concept of categories (entrees, appetizers, desserts, etc.) with an index. This provides you with the flexibility to use the space however it works best for you. A few beverages, a couple dozen appetizers and the rest entrees? Fifty-fifty appetizers and entrees? Or maybe a book completely full of desserts. You aren't limited by set categories that result in wasted space, or forced recipes that you don't really love but you feel obligated to fill out that section of the book.

Enter the index. You can fill out the book recipe by recipe, regardless of the type. Then simply cross reference the name of the recipe in the index based on the page number and voila. Choose whether you want to simply peruse through the list to find different types of recipes, or use a highlighter to color code the index so you can easily spot appetizers, entrees, beverages, sides and desserts

2. Recipe Pages.

This is one of my favorite things to do in the evenings or in the mornings with a cup of coffee. Transcribe my recipes into the recipe page, whether it is a new recipe I found on the internet and tried and loved, or it is a recipe I have played around with on my own and created - often when I resort to making what I like to call a "cupboard surprise" (i.e., what's for dinner depends on what ingredients I can scrounge up and try to make some sense out of). I love to personalize these pages with lettering, washi tape, doodles, even polaroids or photos of the meals. This extra touch of personalization takes what would be a pretty basic recipe book into a sweet cherished work of art.

Use the left-hand side of each recipe page to provide additional details about the recipe - how many it serves, how difficult it is to make, how you would rate it out of 5 stars, cooking details as well as whether it meets any specific diets (gluten free, vegetarian, high protein, etc.).

With the extra thick paper this book is made with you can use pens, markers, felt tipped pens, even label makers for the recipe names if you prefer a simpler look - whatever medium you want to take your recipes and make them memorable. And the beauty of it is that even if you don't have the time, patience or (based on your perception) the skill to do anything beyond simply jotting down your recipes with a simple ballpoint pen, the book template is designed with gorgeous hand lettering that elevates the book beyond a standard recipe book all on its own.

3. Memory Pages.

There is just something memorable and nostalgic that comes along with sitting around the table as a family or a group of friends and sharing a meal. And I wanted to find a way to capture that nostalgia and let you hold onto it forever. So I designed this recipe book to include an accompanying memory page for each recipe, a page where you can take note of when you made the dish, who you made it for, what the occasion was, etc. It is always a conversation starter in our house when we flip back through and remember these meals, these times with the people with love, the funny stories shared. But I would be lying if I didn't point out my practical use for this page too - to ensure I don't cook the same exact meal for the same people twice.

I love playing hostess and cooking for people. It is truly one of my favorite things to do. But I can't pretend that off the top of my head I can remember what I cooked for any specific set of friends the last time they came over. Enter the memory page. When I am planning out a dinner for friends, I always flip to that page in the book to make sure I didn't cook the same dish for them the last time they came over. And with a revolving list of guests at our dinner table, this is a trick that comes in EXTREMELY handy and has saved me a time or two in recent past. Would my friends necessarily care if I cooked the same thing twice? Of course not - but hey, variety is the spice of life so it is always fun to do something different.

Now - certain recipes I don't use this page to fill out actual memories related to that recipe (I don't need to document every time I use my ranch dressing recipe with friends, let's be honest). So I always fill that space with pictures. Pictures of meal times, of our family together, pictures of my daughters face as a baby the first time she tried ranch dressing and had it EVERYWHERE, etc. You get the picture.

Here are some fun and creative ways to use your recipe book:

  • Buy it as a gift for a family member or a friend, and fill out the first few recipe pages with your own favorite recipes to hand off to them.

  • Have family members from all generations fill out a page or two with their signature recipes in their own handwriting, preserving not only the recipe itself but also the nostalgia that comes along with seeing it in their own writing.

  • Use washi tape to attach pictures of a family dinner enjoying the dish on the memory page

  • Buy stick on tabs to divide the book up into sections or mark key recipes or occasions (such as Thanksgiving meals)

So there you have it. All of the tips and tricks for turning your recipes into an heirloom - something for your family to cherish for decades. I hope it brings you as much joy as it does me and I can't wait to hear about how you use it! Tag me on Instagram @juneandlucy so I can see what works of art you turn your meal time memories into.

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