Preserving Recipes as Family Heirlooms

by | Jul 14, 2021 | Featured Article | 0 comments

Preserving family recipes is preserving family heirlooms, history, tradition, and above all, legacy.

Family heirlooms are essential for every family. It speaks of the family’s roots and identity. They also carry sentimental value. On a larger scale, a family heirloom tells the family’s rich history and journey across generations. Most family heirlooms include such items as jewelry and art or photographs and other memorabilia. One heirloom that families share are their recipes.

Preserving Family Recipes is Preserving Family

Looking at Generations of Good Food, a cookbook by Eleanor Gaccetta, we are reminded that family recipes are more than just a list of dishes and desserts to be made during family gatherings. They are also, in fact, important family heirlooms. Family recipes bring the family together. The recipes in a family cookbook tell us what foods they shared during meals and how they are a part of a family’s history. As these recipes are handed from generation to generation, the family’s stories, lessons, trials, and victories are preserved.

Many family recipe cookbooks that served as family heirlooms were handwritten. They contain the dishes and their corresponding ingredients. But some of the most fantastic family recipe cookbooks also contain stories and journal entries, providing future generations with a peek into the past and many of the origins of the recipes. In Generations of Good Food, a cookbook by Gaccetta shares many family stories and how they are connected to the food. The book started out as a handwritten gift to her nieces after her mother passed away in 2017.  In 2019 she was convinced to create and publish a cookbook that shares six generations of recipes and family traditions.

The book started out as a handwritten gift to her nieces after her mother passed away in 2017. In 2019 she was convinced to create and publish a cookbook that shares six generations of recipes and family traditions.

Tips on How to Really Preserve Family Recipes

While the idea of handwritten family recipes on an old notebook seems romantic, it would defeat the purpose of ensuring that your family’s dishes and stories will last for many generations to come. Modern Family recipes as heirlooms need to stand the test of time and be protected from calamities, fire, and destruction. Creating hard and digital copies of your family recipes are two things you can to two ensure preservation.

Create a Theme

Themes and concepts add beauty and uniqueness to your family recipe heirloom. Theme can be about your family’s roots, residence, or even ethnicity. It can also be a general recipe heirloom, documenting one generation after another. It’s essentially all about your family’s journey throughout the years, preserve in the dishes and meals your family shared.

Gather the Materials

Old family recipes usually feature just the dishes, ingredients, and footnotes or brief journal entries. With your modern family recipe slash heirloom, you can include stories, pictures, or even videos. The possibilities are endless, and you can experiment with different styles.

Set Design / Layout

You can use many design platforms and software to create a unique design and layout for your family recipe cookbook. You can make it vintage or modern. Again, what is essential is the dishes and the stories you tell.

Save, Print, Upload

The advantage of creating a family recipe cookbook today is that you can have many options as to where you want to preserve it. You can print it using durable, acid-free paper with a hardcover. You can also save it on a thumb drive, on a cloud drive, or upload it on your website or any platform using your account.

Or Published a Book

One way to immortalize your family recipe cookbook and heirloom is to publish it, just like Eleanor Gaccetta’s Generations of Good Food, published last year. By publishing your family’s recipes, you also share your story, not only with family members but with the whole world.


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