If you have a relative that
never writes down recipes (it seems like all the best recipes
are never written down), but rather cooks by "a dash of
this, a little bit of that," consider having someone in
your family be the "helper," and prepare the dish along
with them. Adams suggests the "helper" can measure,
guesstimate, and generally keep track of how the dish is prepared,
including cooking times and temperatures. The "helper"
should also be sure to ask about consistency, color, texture
and doneness. According to Adams, "This last bit of information
is always the most important part of passing along a recipe."
Once you have a written recipe, prepare it again according to
the directions, and adjust the recipe as necessary to get as
close as possible to the original.
When you're asking for recipes,
provide everyone with a similar format. For example, ask family
members to list the ingredients to be used in order, together
with the quantities. Lay out the steps that are needed in order
to make the item, and always add little comments about what to
look for as the dish is prepared, and when it is done. It can
be a lot of work, especially with recipes that were never written
down. But, says Adams, ultimately it's worth it because you'll
be saving an important -- and delicious bit of your family's
Once you have the recipes, you'll
want to create a look for your cookbook that reflects your family.
A simple way to do this, says Meryl Epstein of The Art Institute
of Phoenix, is include family mementos or old photos, along with
the recipes. A simple way to share one-of-a-kind memorabilia
is to take them to a local copy center and make color copies.
"You can use the color
copies you make as background, and print a recipe over the photo,
or have the recipe on one page, and a photo on the facing page.
You can also create a collage using items such as blue ribbons
(won for a cooking), tickets stubs or airplane tickets from a
favorite trip that produced a great recipe," says Epstein.
For text, use simple fonts like
Times Roman or Arial so that they are easy to read for all ages.
Save decorative fonts for recipe titles or chapter headings.
Consider creating a box -- with shading and borders -- for the
recipe itself so that there is enough contrast between the recipe
and any background artwork you use.
Epstein suggests writing an
introduction about the cookbook, its organization and how family
responded to the project. Make sure to date the book and have
a table of contents so family and friends can easily find a favorite
recipe. Here are a few of her suggestions for organizing recipes:
* by category, for example,
appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts
* by family, for example, grandmother,
aunt and uncle, or cousin recipes
* by holiday, for example, favorite
dishes for the 4th of July, Thanksgiving or Labor Day
To keep recipes easy to read
and clean, consider putting them in plastic sleeves (available
in craft and office supply stores) and then in 3-ring binders.
Says Epstein, "This way, you can add a new recipe every
Chef Anthony Bellucci, an instructor
at The Art Institute of New York City, shares this recipe based
on his father's beloved fresh sausage, flavored with fennel and
* 5 pounds pork cut in cubes
(preferably from the shoulder)
* 2 pounds pork fatback (cubed)
* 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, coriander, fennel seed
* 1/2 cup cold water
* Crushed hot red pepper to taste (optional, for hot sausage)
* 4 tablespoons paprika (for hot sausage only)
* Ice cubes (as needed)
Grind meat through a course
die of a meat grinder, alternating with fat. Grind 2 small ice
cubes with every second or third addition of meat. Season the
meat with the salt, pepper, coriander and fennel seed to your
personal taste. If making hot sausage, add the crushed hot red
pepper and the paprika with the other seasonings. To test for
taste, make a small patty of the meat mixture and sauté
until cooked. Adjust seasonings and repeat tasting process until
desired flavor is achieved. Add water and mix well. Stuff meat
into casings; prick casings several times with a toothpick. Pan
fry over moderate heat until cooked through and serve.
A few rules to follow when making
1. Use disposable gloves when
2. Keep all utensils, tools and preparation surfaces clean and
3. Keep meat under 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
A good sausage is at least 25
to 30 percent fat. Any less will result in a dry product. By
trial and error you will find the correct ratio for you personal