Create Memories With a
Kids Recipe Book

by Cyndi Johnston

Here is a gift idea for a birthday, wedding, Christmas, or any occasion. It is fun, easy, inexpensive, and will last a lifetime.

Last summer, I began a kids recipe book for my granddaughter for her birthday. As the project grew, her birthday came and went, and it became a Christmas present instead. I began it as a fairy tale:

"Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to cook. She dreamed of making delicious dishes to serve to her family. But alas, her creations usually became humongous messes instead! Even the family pets turned up their noses! Now this poor child had a mean, wicked mother who punished her by making her eat fast food all the time! Daily, her meals were served up in styrofoam, handed through a window. Poor child, you think. But wait! Haley had a wonderful, beautiful, wise, grandmother who loved her granddaughter soooooo much!?" You get the picture.

I copied recipes that I cook and that my mother and grandmother had made. I downloaded recipes from this site and other sites that she would like, and that were extremely easy. On some pages, I included little stories...what we had as snack foods instead of chips and dips "in the good old days", funny things that had happened (Uncle Jeremy spilling the gravy at Thanksgiving), and special memories of my mother and grandmother and how they had cooked long ago.

The recipe scrapbook contained sections on breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and fun stuff. I printed the pages on 8 1/2 X 11" scrapbook paper and inserted them into plastic sleeves for protection. A three ring binder with a clear plastic front that can have a picture slid in works well. I used scrapbook paper and borders, cutouts, stickers, and fun fonts I downloaded.

What began as a cookbook, actually turned into a memory recipe book. I printed special "Haley" recipe cards for my granddaughter to fill out with recipes she enjoys. I also included a page with Internet sites of kids' recipes.

This kids recipe book is something that can be added to each year, enjoyed by all (hopefully), and a can become a keepsake for future generations (then they will all know how goofy I am). Here are some of the pages and sections I used, but once you get started, the possibilities are endless!

1. Title page. (the silly fairy tale story I started with)

2. Rules of a good cook and kitchen safety. I was very careful to write down all instructions in terms Haley could read and understand. Many times we assume kids know what we mean, but I have found that is the exception rather than the rule. We learn best by watching and then doing, and in most families today, actual cooking, especially "scratch cooking" has become a lost art. With the busy schedules families have, even if parents cook, it comes from a can or box, and the kids are usually busy elsewhere.

3. Things we will use and how to use them. Cooking utensils needed such as a wire whip, cooking measurements, etc.

4. The recipe sections.

The real gift begins after this recipe memory book has been given. Once you have had the pleasure of making a kids recipe book then hopefully you have the privilege of using it with that special someone you give it to, and the patience to let that special someone learn by making mistakes and messes. Then the gift comes full circle. The giver becomes the receiver!

Cyndi Johnston lives in Oklahoma, USA. She is a mother of five and proud grandmother to four, including her eleven year old granddaughter, Haley, who loves the recipe memory book and enjoys cooking with her grandma.

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