3 Ways to Create a Digital Cookbook

In her book, “The Way to Cook” Julia Child writes “Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.”

For many people, food and family are intimately connected. Maybe it’s the smell of apple pie at Thanksgiving or special cookies made around the holidays– whatever it may be, it makes us think of a special time, family and/or a special person.  Recipes are important as they capture actual memories that can be passed down.

Most of us who enjoy cooking likely have recipes jotted down on notepads, sticky notes or maybe you have a notebook, but paper is fragile and can show signs of wear and tear over the years. To best save and pass down these recipes to our kids, grandkids, and future generations, it’s best to make them digital. Here are 3 easy ways to get started.

  1. Organize. You will want to sort your recipes in an orderly fashion and starting with the type of meal is usually a great first step. So, first, breakfast, then lunch, dinner, and dessert. In the case you have a lot in one category, you can create subcategories. For example, if you have all dessert recipes, your categories could be pies, cookies, cakes etc. Or you can simply group them together by holiday if that makes more sense for your collection.

If you’ve saved so many recipes and unsure which to digitize, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this recipe unique?
  • Is it something everyone would enjoy eating for many years?
  • Is the recipe legible enough to translate?

Other features of the organizational step may include photos and quotes. If you have a few photos to include that showcases your family enjoying a meal around a holiday, it would be great to bring in a visual component. And if you have a certain saying or song, you or others sing in the kitchen for example, even better! Throw those images and quotes into the sorting process.

Once you’ve organized and decluttered your recipes, you can place it all in a binder with dividers, or something similar, to keep everything in one place and make it easier to digitize. 

  1. Scan. Now that you have all your recipes categorized and organized in one place, you can now scan each one. Many people have home scanners that are very easy to use and usually part of your printer’s capabilities. When scanning, make sure the scanner saves the recipe as a JPEG file (check the settings). Scanning creates a photo image of your recipe card or page, then you can save on your computer. Create a file where all these images can be saved. Make sub folders for each category.

This process is time consuming so be sure and have patience and plan a realistic timeline for completing the project.

  1. Choose your app. There are several ways to create your digital cookbook since there are so many apps that make this possible.

You can use a photo book-type mobile or desktop app, like Blurb, Mixbook or Snapfish, where you can choose your layout, upload your scanned recipes, add in photos, quotes, and make a beautiful cover page etc. Then, you can pay for as many books as you’d like for your grandkids and loved ones.

There are also several recipe apps where you can continuously add to it from finding new recipes online. Some have easy drag and drop features if the app is on your phone and others make it easy to create ingredients lists with a simple click. Some to explore include Yummly, Whisk and Evernote

No matter which recipe organization system or app you choose, you’ll feel better knowing each recipe you love has a home for your loved ones to enjoy. Future generations will be so grateful, and it will be time worth spent.

In honor of Grandparent’s Day this past Sunday, Inter Valley Health Plan is hosting ‘Cooking with the Grandkids!’ online class this week on September 16th from 10-11am. Attendees can enjoy listening to a Cal Poly Dietician as she explains ideas on how you can make eating healthy a fun learning experience for both you and your grandkids. To register, click here.

Visit Inter Valley’s blog at  https://blogs.ivhp.com/blog-2/ for tips on health, lifestyle, Medicare Advantage and living a life full of vitality.

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