The Keepsake Cookbook: Gathering Delicious Memories One Recipe at a Time (Lyons Press) was written to fill a need.
Whenever I told people about my memoir cookbook, Roux Memories: A Cajun-Creole Love Story with Recipes (Lyons Press), I could see their faces light up. “You know, I always wanted to write my family cookbook,” they’d whisper. “My grandmother made the best….” And with that, the conversation turned to food and family and memories of loved ones and meals gone by.
I never let such encounters end without encouraging the budding cookbook author to write his or her family food story. And invariably, they’d look at me wistfully. They lament the fact that recipes weren’t written down, that relatives have died, or that they’re pressed for time. Mostly, however, they confess that they have no idea where to begin.
The Keepsake Cookbook was designed to solve the “where to begin” problem. It offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for collecting both oral and written recipes, collecting photographs and memorabilia, organizing a cookbook and putting it into a format to be used and shared. In addition, it covers the process of capturing family history, gently interviewing relatives and friends, and tapping personal memories in order to enrich the end product. You’ll even find basic recipe times, tips and measures to help writers turn casual instructions into fully-realized recipes
A recipe is a snapshot, capturing place, people and time. In the case of family recipes, the written instructions invariably call to mind images of celebrations, of family members, of menus and kitchen conversations. My approach to personal cookbook writing takes into account the memory-laden impact of home cooking, and I encourage writers to include family photos and remembrances in the pages of their cookbooks. The end result, with small essays and sayings, family photos and captions, scanned documents and ticket stubs, as well as useable recipes, is an heirloom to be treasured.
Contact me for your cookbook writing workshop!