Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Family Cookbook with a Dash of Genealogy

Ten years ago I decided to develop a family cookbook. I typed recipes from index cards and scraps of paper of my mother and grandmother's recipes. I then added my own favorites and those shared by my husband’s family and our friends. Along the way, I put these recipes into categories, developed a table of contents for each category, and then made an index. This compilation was put into a pretty 3-ring binder. Over the years, I have clipped more recipes that I thought looked interesting at the time, and popped them into the divider sleeves.

I’ve decided it is time to pull all the categories together and have the cookbook permanently bound. I’m lucky that most of the recipes have been typed, and the index developed. I went through the sleeves and threw out most of my clippings. I do have a small pile sitting next to my keyboard that need to be included. Typing recipes is not fun!

Since many of the recipes came from loved ones, I decided to give this book a genealogy flavor. I will have a contributor page in the front matter that will have the name of the person, a photo when I have one, and a short bio/genealogy of that person. The sample below is what I will include for my grandmother’s brother, Kenneth Hardenbrook. I’m sure as I work on this I will come up with more ideas to make this publication even more personal and fun.

Kenneth Hardenbrook (shown above with his mother Laura Hardenbrook) was the son of Enos and Laura (Wortman) Hardenbrook. He was born 10 May 1909. He and his sister, Maude Emma were raised in Jacksonville, New York. In 1936 Kenneth was proprietor of Ken’s Lunch located at 212 South Cayuga Street in Ithaca, New York and then in 1941 Kenneth co-owed R&H Diners with L. Gerald Rich. They were proprietors of the Cayuga Diner located at 235 South Cayuga Street, and the Sterling Diner located at 333 East State Street, in Ithaca. Kenneth’s father, Enos, worked as assistant chef at the Sterling Diner. Kenneth married Mildred Elston. Kenneth was a born chef, and his Ken’s Meatballs recipe can be found on page ___.


  1. What a wonderful way to share favorite family recipes AND family stories! Photos really add a lot too.

  2. Marian: I still use kitchen items given to us as wedding presents. Each time I use an item, I think about the person who gave it to us. I wanted that to happen with this recipe book. It will be fun gathering photos and then telling their stories.