Handwritten recipe cards can be passed down from generation to generation and the love that went into those meals tends to be evident in the wear and tear of them. A frequent question from our clients is, “What do I with these old family recipe cards?!”

Susan, our senior photo book designer works closely with many of our clients on creating photo books and recently completed a family cookbook from old, handwritten family recipes that were passed down from our client’s 99-year-old mother. Susan provides creative and technical expertise throughout any project and here she details some of the creative choices that were made to create a photo book that gave the recipes an old feel with a modern finish:

Our client had inherited a white metal recipe box filled with family recipes cards and clippings that had all been tested and used for decades and deemed “delicious!” by her mom and the family.

We chose a lay flat album with coated pages that would look beautiful while also functioning as a working cookbook for her.
We chose a lay flat album with coated pages that would look beautiful while also functioning as a working cookbook for her.

We scanned her family recipes and organized the collection by courses, with an emphasis on the pies her mom was famous for. We chose to leave the stains of years of cooking un-retouched for that authentic, well-loved look and rounded out her collection with photographs that included family and friends over the years who had enjoyed the meals as well as those who had contributed their recipes to the compilation.


organizing family recipes tips from our organizer

Organizing the Recipes

  • Grouping everything into courses is a tried and true method for a recipe collection. Start with the basics like Main Courses, Appetizers, Drinks and Desserts. If your family is full of foodies, you can group them out even further from there like Pies, Cakes, Cookies, etc.
  • Only save the recipes that you’ll use. It’s not uncommon to find scraps of recipes torn from magazines or a card for something that you’ve never even heard of, let alone eaten.
  • Get your family involved. You might not have a love for your the Jelly Roll in Grandma’s old fashioned dessert recipes, but somebody else might!
  • Keep your end goal in mind. If you’re planning to create a book like this one, pull your absolute favorites as you’re consolidating so you don’t have to go back through over and over making decisions.
Turn mom's old recipes into a modern photo book cookbook
Mom’s Amazing Pecan Pie Recipe

What made this project particularly special was that she was able to furnish us with many photos of her mother and father cooking these very old recipes together and with their grandchildren. And as a final touch, we suggested she add in commentary from her mother about those extra-special recipes so none of this collected wisdom would be lost over time.

The whole family shared a love of cooking together
The whole family shared a love of cooking together

We love to personalize projects with extra details like these ones, as well as the floral background that celebrated Mom’s love of roses and the inclusion of the recipe logo from that precious old white metal box. These are the flourishes that can turn a simple project into a unique family treasure.

“Thanks so much for your partnership in making this wonderful book . . . My mom loved the cookbook!  She was overwhelmed . . . she had thought it was going to be a photocopied pamphlet with recipes.”

We at EverPresent are honored to have the opportunity to be a part of projects such as this that truly exemplify preserving memories and sharing between the generations.

If you have a similar collection of Grandma’s dinner recipes that belongs to your family, Susan and our PhotoBook Team can work with you to create an equivalent masterpiece that is unique to your family. For our Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Family Recipe Cards into Heirloom Cookbooks, check out this post! You can also call us at 617-505-1132 or email us at [email protected] to get started on a project and set up a time to meet with one of our Photo Book designers.