My whole life changed once I started keeping a family cookbook. I actually can’t remember what life was like before I had one. Surely, it was a bleak time for me. Meal planning must have been a nightmare!
Did I seriously used to have recipes strewn all over the house and the internet? When I planned meals, did I actually rely on my faulty memory?
Was there really a time when I would make something delicious and then forget where I found it, or worse, that I had ever made it?
I don’t know how on earth I went grocery shopping!
The reasons for keeping a cookbook are manifold, but here’s a few of them:
1. You don’t forget the meals you liked.
I used to make chocolate shakes for my husband all the time when we were dating. We had them so often that I didn’t see the need to write down how to make it. Flash forward six years and I suddenly remembered that once upon a time ago, I used to make chocolate shakes for my husband when we were dating. We haven’t had them in years and I have no idea how to make one now. If only I had written it down and put it in a safe place!
2. You don’t get stuck in a rut. When you commit the names and locations of all your recipes to memory, you aren’t going to remember very many of them. Often this means making the same stuff over and over. Maybe six months ago you were in a different rut making different foods, but you can’t remember because you didn’t write anything down.
3. It improves the recipes. When a recipe is on paper in front of you, you can take notes. There were so many times when I would cook a meal I had made before that didn’t taste as good the second time. I knew that I had changed the recipe but could never remember how. So frustrating! Now, I scribble notes in the margins whenever I make a change.
4. It saves time. The first time you make a dish takes the longest. You aren’t entirely sure how it’s supposed to turn out, and you check the recipe twice at each step to make sure you’re getting it right.
Every subsequent time you make the meal, you get faster. If you’re rotating through the same list of 74 recipes over and over (that’s how many meals I have in our recipe book), you’ll eventually start making them from memory.
5. It saves money. I used to pass up on recipes that sounded good because they called for a spice or a sauce that I would never use again, which can get expensive. But, if you rotate through that meal again and again, you’ll use the same condiments, spices, and sauces until they’re all gone.
I have one recipe that calls for dill weed. We don’t use dill weed for anything else, but after ten years of making this recipe on a regular basis, we finally ran out and I had to buy another jar. We also recently ran out of garam masala and sriracha sauce. That’s what happens when you repeat recipes!
6. You’re less likely to eat out. Instead of roaming around the kitchen thinking, “Hmm, there’s nothing good to eat,” you have a list of meals you bought from the grocery store that you know how to make and you know your family loves.
7. It’s sentimental. You can give the cookbook to family members, specifically your children. Imagine your child is about to go off to college or get married, and as a present, you hand them a gift-wrapped book of every recipe your child loved growing up. Now imagine you’ve passed on, and your descendants are at your home after the funeral leafing through your cookbook saying, “Remember when Grandma used to make that?”
You can put that cookbook together now and build on it over time. It will be of great importance later.
8. Meal planning and grocery shopping is a dream. I firmly believe that meal planning is the secret to happiness. It keeps your family well-fed without depleting your budget and without stressing you out, and hunger + not enough money + stressed-out is a recipe for misery. A family cookbook saves you from all of that.
If you’re feeling inspired to make your own family cookbook, sign up in the link at the top of this article to INSTANTLY get a free Family Cookbook Worksheet.