The holidays are here, and that means spending time in the company of family and friends and food!
Family food traditions are as much part of the holidays as making I am thankful for lists, writing letters to Santa, and shopping ’til we drop. Though every family is unique and has their own variety of traditions, one thing is universal – cooking together helps to bond and reconnect with loved ones. There is just something special about it!
This year, I was thinking how a big part of my own early childhood memories of holidays involve cooking with my grandmother. She was an extraordinary cook, and almost never followed a recipe. Oh how I wish I had written down how to make some her famous dishes! And then, I had a brilliant idea! It occurred to me that though I’ve missed the opportunity with my grandmother, it is not too late to make my own family recipe book. It will be a way of preserving our family food traditions. Especially around the holidays!
While the idea was still crystallizing in my mind, I went to the Shutterfly store to look for suitable book templates for my Family Recipe Book. I wanted something simple but warm, and not too Christmas-y… Though if you chose to do your Christmas menu specifically, Shutterfly offers numerous beautifully themed templates. For my purposes, I chose the Here Comes the Snow Storytelling template (under Winter Holidays photo book ideas). I liked the modern but delicate quality of the backgrounds and embellishments, and the fun sentiments , such as brrr, its cold outside and warming up while the snow falls, which are included with this style. Collectively these lent themselves well in expressing the feeling of a holiday season.
My next step was to rummage through my photo folders and select photos I’ve taken while cooking our family’s traditional dishes in years past. I discovered I did not have a photo of all of them, so I made it a point to have my camera ready while I was cooking this time around. Close ups look best in recipe books, so I got up-close and personal with my food.
I made a small setup in my kitchen so I can display some of the ingredients. I kept it simple and uncluttered, with a single background, for consistency. I took photos as I went on cooking.
To warm up the palette, I added a couple of wood backgrounds and a few star embellishments, which added to the holiday quality of the book, without taking it over the top. Shutterfly offers many backgrounds & stickers which can be easily loaded from the general embellishment tray, even if they are not originally part of a Storytelling style.
I think this last page of my Family Recipe Book is my favorite as it is a nod to my European heritage and displays my favorite desert of all times. Have you heard of affogato? It’s an Italian word referring to ice cream drowned in hot espresso. It is a simple treat for any day and coincidentally my favorite way to end a meal! Here, for the holidays, I have changed it a bit and made it kid-friendly by using peppermint ice cream & Hot Cocoa instead. How divine!
Holiday season is a time to build lifelong memories with your family while gathered around the table. Preserve your family food traditions by making a family recipe book. It will be as unique as your family, as diverse background that you come from, and as adventurous as the life journeys you’ve had. Happy Holidays!