My grandmother died recently, and our family is now in possession of dozens of her recipes, scrawled on index cards and on lined, torn pieces of notebook paper, falling out of any cookbook you open. With the holidays on the way, I’m considering creating my own family cookbook to give to all the kitchen-minded rellies. Luckily, Heidi of 101 Cookbooks has a fabulous post, “Create Your Own Cookbook,” that introduces the bookmaking novice to some options.

Inspired by a Food & Wine story about Alice Waters compiling a custom cookbook for her daughter, Heidi investigated some choices. One intriguing route is using Flickr, where it’s possible to lavishly illustrate your cooking steps. Social-bookmarking sites like make it easy to collect recipes gathered on the Internet (here are instructions on that, courtesy of Simply Recipes). Or you can cobble together text and pictures using Adobe’s InDesign program to create a downloadable PDF book.

But since my family members are old-school, I was most drawn to the custom publishers that produce actual hard-copy books. Heidi mentions Lulu, but you could also check out, Blurb, TasteBook, or others. What’s surprising to me is how cheap these books are: They hover in the $20 to $35 range per copy, about what it costs to get your great-aunt an ugly pair of earrings she’ll give to Goodwill. Yummy.

See more articles