My grandmother was one of 10 children, three boys and seven girls. She was raised in a large family in Indiana–her parents, aunts, uncles, and many, many cousins. She was taught at a young age how to cook and bake, and all of her sisters were also known for their cooking and baking as well. For the last ten years, my grandmother had expressed her desire to put together a collection of recipes from her family. It was an overwhelming task to take on considering the number of family we’d have to track down to get the recipes, and the whole idea just kept getting stuck on the back burner. After a family reunion in Brown County of Indiana, where we flew my grandmother up to be part of the festivities, I dropped hints to see if anyone would be interested in a family cookbook coming together. The response was positive and overwhelming, so I became the ‘choreographer’ of this massive project. After an email to request recipes from over 40 cousins, they sent their recipes and old photos in—original copies their mothers, grandmothers, and aunts had written. To be able to see all of these old recipes on thin, worn pieces of paper–some in pencil, some in faded ink–was humbling in some way because I was reading recipes written four generations before me. My desire to complete this cookbook became stronger with each and every single recipe I read and copied. My grandmother especially loved seeing all the recipes written by her sisters.
I had a graphic designer make a cover page as well as the dividers, using old family photos. The dividers had photos of all of the 10 siblings, including my grandmother. And the final divider was a photo of the traditional Sunday dinner in Indiana–the family gathered around the table. I had the recipes ready to go, the cover and dividers turned in, and a name index to help family identify the various people whose recipes were included in the book, but I still had not really grasped how wonderful the book would be. The final product was simply amazing. I was in complete awe. I ripped the box open on my front porch in 30-degree weather because I couldn’t wait another minute. I immediately drove over to my grandmother’s house to show her the book. The look on her face was the best gift of all. She was moved to tears and so thrilled to have all of these family recipes in her very own hands, especially those of her mother’s and aunts’. The completed cookbook exceeded everyone’s expectations. I shipped them all over the U.S….from California to New York and from Indiana to Texas, and the emails of approval and excitement started rolling in. So many cousins were delighted to find recipes they’d forgotten about or recipes they’d feared were lost. I shipped all these books just before Christmas, and I am still getting emails from family as they use the book and find something else they’d forgotten about. I still open the book and find myself in complete awe that I put this together, and I simply could not have done it without the help of HeritageCookbook.com. It made this overwhelmingly huge project much easier and efficient. The folks I emailed back and forth, Susan and the printer, were tremendously helpful.
What makes this project even more special is that my grandmother recently passed away, and all I can think about is how grateful I am that I pushed myself to do this and complete it. She saw her wishes for a family cookbook come to fruition, and that had to have been such a wonderful feeling for her to know those recipes will forever be passed down. She was so proud of it and showed it off whenever she had the opportunity. She often picked it up to read it or just look at the photos of her family. It gives me the greatest pleasure to know that I helped fulfill a longtime wish of hers. Without HeritageCookbook.com, I don’t think I could have achieved the amazing cookbook that we have–the quality, the support, and most of all, the feedback I have received from HeritageCookbook.com!!
-VIRGINIA Felton, Oklahoma City, OKLAHOMA