Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How to Write Clear Family Recipes

My grandmother Lois cooked huge, delicious meals for my extended family every Sunday. When my sister Whitney started cooking on her own, she asked for these recipes, but most of them were ingrained in Lois’ memory- not written on paper. So, Whitney would call Lois for particular recipes, and she would dictate directions over the phone.

I am so thankful that Whitney recorded these recipes. Now they are included in my family’s Secret Ingredients cookbook and will be there for future Walling generations.

My mother and I cook one of our favorite family recipes- Cheese Soufflé. Yummy!

Today we want to share tips that will help you write clear family recipes…

A family recipe generally consists of 4 parts:

  1. Caption -
    Include any notes that cooks should be aware of BEFORE they cook your recipe. Examples: Certain recipes shouldn’t be made on rainy or humid days. Other recipes may require a great deal of patience or you may want to include information on hard-to-find ingredients.

  2. Ingredients-

    • Order
      You want to list ingredients in the order in which they will be used in the recipe. Each ingredient should be on a separate line. You may consider dividing the ingredients into parts. For example, the ingredients for my favorite sticky cake are divided: ingredients for the cake then ingredients for the icing.

    • Measurements
      Give detailed measurements of each ingredient. Remember to give the exact measurement or weight of any packaged items because grocery stores usually offer a variety of sizes. Also include how the ingredient should be prepared- chopped, diced, drained, seeded, etc.

    • Step-by-Step Directions-

      • Equipment
        If any special equipment is needed to complete the recipe, you may want to mention it before giving step by step directions. It will much easier for your reader to get the mixer out before they begin adding ingredients to the mixing bowl! You may also want to alert readers to prepare equipment. For example, they may need to preheat the oven, position oven racks, or grease/flour a pan before starting.

      • Visualize and Describe the Process
        Think about every step you take when preparing your recipe. Write down every little thing you do highlighting specific tasks like mixing, sifting, beating or folding. Be sure to write your recipe to use time effectively. For example, you can make the icing for the cake while the cake is in the oven.

        Also include notes about how the food should look at various cooking stages. Describe your favorite methods. You may even include recipe variations or presentation tips at the end.

      • Your Notes
        Yesterday we discussed using recipe notes to tell your family stories and memories.
        Click here to read more.
      Now tap into your inner- Julia Child and start recording your original recipes!

      If you are creating a Secret Ingredients family cook book, our recipe form will make this process very simple! Posted by Picasa


      At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

      I, too, love cheese souffle. Haven't made it in years. I forgot about considering the weather. In fact, I hardly do great cooking anymore, as I am a family of one.

      PS: I love the picture of Kate and Molly!

      At 11:21 AM, Blogger Kate said...

      Hi Vera,

      It's so good to hear from you. I hope you are doing well. Thank you so much for checking out the blog. Hopefully, I will see you soon!



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