Family Recipe BookThe most perfect gifts are always the simplest, the most heartfelt. When people say “its the thought that counts,” they really really mean it.

Sure, a little velvet box with sparkling jewelry inside is wonderful, but I’ve got something you can get your wife that will top that elation.

Years ago, I convinced my grandmother to part with her collection of family recipes. To her they were nothing secret. Pages she had clipped from magazines and newspapers decades ago, but to our family those recipes were pure magic. A generic scotch scone recipe to her was the taste and smell of her kitchen to us. From soups to stuffing and cookies and cakes, I coaxed every not-so-secret recipe from her.

Then I dug through the family archives, found some favorite photos from family meals past and built a recipe book for her to give the entire family.

It was a huge hit.

Calling up your (grand)mother-in-law and collecting the stories and recipes will bring you more into the fold on the other side of the family tree and, on Valentine’s Day, your fate will be sealed as solid when she opens the ultimate gift and realizes you know how to think outside the (jewelry) box.

If you’re on a Mac, iPhoto has an easy to use built in book program that can help you make small, simple soft-cover books for $10 each.


My mother is in to the book making habit as well. She likes to compiles the photos of her travels into memory books and uses MyPublisher. They have many options and templates, there are regular 40 percent off coupons online and they have a toll free number and live chat if you have problems.

Picaboo, Lulu, Blurb, Bookemon, Tastebook and even kiosks at stores like WalMart can help you get the job done as well.

This past spring my grandmother passed away and as family members picked through her belongings for mementos, I abstained. I had what I wanted – the recipes. Any time I want to remember her I break out the book and make some cookies or scones with my son.

This post was originally published on Man of the House in February 2011.

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