Hanukkah DIY Gift – Family Recipe Keepsake

Cottage cheese pancakes - with memories of Bubbe, z'lWhen our 10-year-old nephew stayed with us, we got to see so many new sides of him, including his love of cooking. He was happy as a clam making and decorating Hanukkah cookies with me.

Level 1 – the minimal approach

So after his visit, I made up a quickie cookbook for him of easy recipes that he could make for himself at home with little or no adult help. For this, I took the most basic approach: I typed up 10 recipes, put one on each page, added some borders, printed on pale blue paper, stapled, and sent it to him.

If this is all you have time for, don’t dismiss it as too rudimentary.  Our daughter’s family tree, developed when she was in middle school, is now the most complete record going back a few generations. It’s not fancy – but we cherish it.

Just choose 10 to 15 family favorites, type ‘em up on 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of paper, print, staple. Print on colored paper to add a tiny bit of flair.

Level 2 – add personal flavor

If you can, add a personal anecdote to each recipe, in the form of a 1- to 2-paragraph story about each recipe. Who made it? What memories do you have of either making it with that cook or eating around that cook’s table?

Here’s a link to my recollection about the cheese pancakes that my Bubbe, z’l, made for me in her cozy Philly kitchen.

You can still take the simple type/print/staple approach.

Or you can add some photographs of the cook or the dish itself. To keep the project achievable, you could also decide to take just a few of the 10 or 15 recipes and add stories and/or photographs only to those.

Level 3 – wow factor

Got the publisher spirit inside you? You can use the amazing digital technology available and turn your cookbook into something fabulous and durable.

If you’re like me, you want it to be perfect. But, unless you have limitless hours, abandon that perfectionism right now, because it will stand in the way of getting it done at all. (I’m talking to myself here!)

I have made books for family as gifts through mypublisher.com, Costco.com, and shutterstock.com. I’ve heard that blurb.com is also excellent.

On my to-do list: make a calendar of family recipes. So I need 12 recipes/images + 1 cover shot. Once I can navigate through our messy attic and find my Zeide’s gefilte fish recipe, I want to add his to my mother’s apple cake recipe, my mother-in-law’s wine-jello recipe with walnuts inside each bing cherry as a crunch surprise inside, my grandmother-in-law’s tzimmes recipe (the kind with dough balls) . . . You get the idea. I order the custom 8-1/2 x 11 calendars I make through Costco. They also offer what they call premium calendars that are larger (11-1/2” x 14), as well as smaller desktop calendars (10 x 5).

Level 4 – the best of the best

Want to reach even higher? For inspiration, treat yourself to this video from Sari Kamin on honeyandschmaltz.com.  Sari says:

The memories associated with food can never be taken away.

This week’s faves: music for Hanukkah


This week’s special

Happy Hanukkah Art & Activity Pak FlatHappy Hanukkah Art & Activity Pak. Use Code NOV13 at check-out for 50% off. Good through 11/21. Usually $2.97. Now $1.49.

Your turn

Which favorite Hanukkah music of yours are we missing? Please share. I’m always on the look-out.

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 Other posts you might like:

Hanukkah Music Makes Any Day a Party

The Sounds of Hanukkah


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