Whew! We made it through the holidays in one piece and we even got the New Year kicked off in style, New Orleans style to be specific, where my beloved Oklahoma Sooners succeeded in becoming the BCS Sugar Bowl Champions. Now that we made it through all the craziness our lives can return to normal (whatever that is?). Christmas was amazing for me this year, my culinary mind is running on high thanks to a gift from the big jolly fellow himself. Santa brought me a Big Green Egg grill so you guys can look forward to a lot more yummy grilled dishes and homemade pizzas. This grill is seriously one of the "must haves" for anyone that likes to cook out on a grill. I just had a shrimp and black bean pizza in Cabo while vacationing with my family that I can't wait to try to recreate for y'all. In the meantime, I want to chat about a Christmas present for your family for next year. It may feel weird to start planning family Christmas gifts for 2014 but I wanted to give you a head start on a gift that will blow your family away. It is time consuming but well worth the work and well worth the happiness it will bring you and your loved ones for years to come.
I can't stand it! What was the gift?!? (this is you guys talking.....but in my head)
As a gift to my family on Christmas 2012 I decided to privately publish a cookbook titled, On The Tip Of My Tongue: A Collection of Recipes from My Family of Cooks, Food Lovers and Feast Organizers. I spent 12-14 hours a day for a month. Ofcourse, I had my brilliant idea about 5 weeks before Christmas so I had to cram all of the work into 4 weeks which is why I'm giving you the ENTIRE YEAR to plan and produce! My cookbook is a 240 page collection of old family photos and recipes from both of my great-great-grandmothers on my Dad's side all the way down to my own recipes. And I did not even have time to include half of the recipes! I scanned in hand written recipes and used them as photos in the book as well.
How in the world did you do it?!? (again...you guys are full of questions!)
I researched some online publishing companies and came up with Blurb.com. You can privately publish a book, which is what I did, where only you and those that have a link can order the book to be printed. Another option I thought was cool is that you can do a public publish and sell your book on their website. I found a 30% off coupon code for the month I printed the cookbooks so I got each book for around $45 - keep in mind that my book was pretty large (240 pages). You can choose any size book, any number of pages, custom design or use pre-made templates. You can get them for as cheap as $15 or as expensive as $100 or more. I do recommend searching Google for a coupon code because usually you can find a 10% or 15% code and every little discount is a bonus! I think it's important to note that I have no affiliation with Blurb.com, therefore I am not promoting on behalf of the company, I simply did the research and became a customer and my experience worked out great! I hope you will consider doing a book for your family no matter how big or small, if they are anything like my family it will be one of their favorite gifts for years to come. Here are a few pics of my cookbook:
I used old family photos for the cover! That is my dad on the bottom left and my Grannie and Poppa sitting on the couch on the top left. She looked just like Patsy Cline.
When I had a family recipe written out in a family members own hand-writing, I would scan it in and use it as an image on the same page where the type-written recipe is. This is my way of preserving the nostalgia of having it in my loved ones hand-writing and keeping all of the little notes that tend to find their way onto those pages.
Again, I filled some pages with only photos because I wanted it to be as much about the photos and memories as the recipes.
The final touch was actually an after-thought. I knew that finding a specific recipe would be a hard task because I did not alphabetize the recipes in the book. I used an Excel spreadsheet and typed every title and page number in side-by-side columns and then sorted the info A to Z to create an "Index of Recipes" which has proved to be helpful now that I actually use the book. Keep that in mind as you build your book.