Here Comes the Bride…With a Cookbook!

Cookbooks as Wedding Favors

After the engagement ring slips onto the finger, planning for the big day begins. Picking the day, place, venue, flowers, music… the list goes on. Making the day special with personal touches is what guests will remember for years to come. Personalized wedding favors for guests to take home are a perfect memento from a beautiful day.

Creating a cookbook gives you the chance to bring pieces of both families together and allows you to introduce the different flavors of your families. A family cookbook may include recipes from ancestors brought from the old world. It may also have recipes from family members that have married into the family that have very different ethnic backgrounds. Traditional holiday foods, special birthday dishes, and family favorites can be shared. You can even have a section in the cookbook of favorite foods/snacks for ballgames to include a groom or bride’s favorite sport or team.

Add photos to your cookbook. Use an engagement photo, candid shot, or a photo of a favorite place. There are also beautiful predesigned covers and dividers to choose from. Photos can also be added to dividers and personal pages.

A personalized story about the couple and how they met can be placed at the front of the book.  Additional pages can be added with a list of the bridal party, thoughtful notes, an expression of thanks for those that have helped with the special day or remembrance pages for loved ones that have passed away.

If you have an image of a cardboard box full of cookbooks waiting to be handed out at the wedding, think again. A ribbon coordinated with the wedding colors can be tied around each book. For an extra touch you can add a tag or print directly on the ribbon, “Today two are bound as one” or some other catchy phrase or quote. Place books in baskets to be picked up at the door.

Other options for displaying cookbooks: For a country or downhome feel, arrange cookbooks in an old washtub, canner or crate. For a modern wedding look, place cookbooks on a small shelving unit that will become a piece of furniture in your new house. Put this on a shower registry so you have it for the wedding!  A classic and elegant design may include placing cookbooks in individual gift bags with a few chocolates or other goodies and then arranged on tables. A fun twist is to have young members of the bridal party hand them out.

As a final touch to a perfect day have someone take a copy of the book around to be autographed & signed by loved ones and friends for your kitchen. Having grandma autograph her famous cookie recipe, a note from mom about love next to her recipe for pot roast, and a drawn picture of a cat next to your niece’s recipe for a jam sandwich will be treasured for years to come. Make sure to keep a few extra copies for your future children!

Start your wedding favor cookbook today at or request a free guide!

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Anatomy of a Cookbook

All books have a beginning, middle and end. That’s what we learned in school but what about cookbooks? My English teachers, in preparing me for life, somehow missed the chapter on how to write a cookbook. Let’s see if we can shed light on this topic. Cookbook Specialists has a recommended “standard” cookbook layout that fits well for most cookbook projects.

  • Front Cover
  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Personal Pages
  • Dividers & Recipes
  • Value Added Sections
  • Index
  • Sales Page
  • Back Cover


Covers are the window to the soul of a cookbook. The cover is the first thing people see, so choose a cover that matches the theme of your cookbook. Cookbook Specialists has pre-designed covers, you can create your own or submit a photo/ image and have a custom one created. When choosing your cover, keep your title and subtitle in mind as they may lead you to the perfect fit.          

Back covers are a great place for displaying a photo, poem or brief description of your book. It’s fine to leave the back cover blank but if you need a place to spotlight a photo, this may be a perfect fit.

The insides of the front and back cover are often overlooked. There is a charge to print in these locations, but it’s a cost effective place to locate dedications or an important photo.

Title Page/Publication Page-

A standard title page is simply a repeat of the  title and subtitle from your cover in a font that matches the theme of your book. You can request a custom title page of text at no charge. Title pages customized with images have a small per book charge added.

Table of Contents-

This page lists your categories and what pages they start on. It also lists additional sections at the back of the book such as value added sections and indexes.

Personal Pages-

Cookbook Specialists offers five free personal pages starting on the back of the table of contents. While these pages have an unlimited number of possibilities, keep in mind there are charges for images on these pages. If you have more than five pages worth of material, talk with a Cookbook Specialists customer service representative about the cost of adding additional pages.

 Dividers & Recipes-

The dividers and recipes are the true body of your book. Recipe pages are laid out using the format and typestyle you select from our list of options. Dividers keep recipes sorted into categories for easy reference and designs can be selected from Cookbook Specialists pre-designed list or custom ones can be created. The backs of the dividers can also be printed. Talk with a Cookbook Specialists customer service representative on how to submit text/photos for custom dividers.

Value Added Sections-

Cookbook Specialists knows that sometimes to increase the value of a book it may need just a little something extra. We have five sets of Value Added Sections to choose from that can be added to the back of your book in order to add bulk and additional content.

  • Cooking & Nutritional Tips
  • Gifts from the Kitchen
  • Household Hints
  • Kid’s Kitchen Crafts
  • Nutrition for the Soul

Each section is 16 pages packed with useful information. If you have a low recipe count or feel a little something extra is needed to round out your book consider adding some of these sections.


Cookbook Specialists provides a free alphabetical index of your recipes divided by category to help people quickly find the recipe they are looking for. We also offer a Contributor Index listing recipes with page numbers under each contributor’s name. There is a charge for adding a Contributor index, but it is a very nice addition to community-based cookbooks.

Merchant Ads-

For those that choose to sell merchant ads, they will be placed after the index. Full page ads appear first and then half page then finally quarter page ads. Merchant ads are a great way to help fund the printing of the book and boost your profits.

Sales Page-

If you plan to sell your book, use the sales page to list contact information for the purchase of additional copies. You can choose to list the name of a person, organization, a mailing address, email address, website and phone number.

You are now at the back cover of your book. We hope you enjoyed your tour of the cookbook anatomy. As we mentioned above; this is the standard layout that we have found works best for most cookbooks, however, we are happy to discuss customized options to create a cookbook that will fit your needs.

For a free sample cookbook that shows each of the above features or for more information on publishing your cookbook please contact us at 1-800-383-1679 or request a copy here.

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Updating Old Recipes

Vintage Recipes

Grandma’s recipe is a family favorite and a must have at every reunion, but as time goes by many family recipes are lost. Preserving recipes by placing them in a family cookbook is a great way to ensure that they will be around for generations to come. However, making sure a recipe can be recreated from the original is another thing altogether.

A generation or two back, many cooks measured ingredients with eyes and hands rather than measuring cups and spoons, and baking times were judged by smell and a quick peek rather than setting a timer. Today’s young cooks and those of tomorrow will be more reliant on exact instructions when cooking or baking. Figuring out grandma’s formula now will take the guess work out for people who never had the chance to taste the dish first hand.

Take time to recreate important heirloom recipes in the kitchen while making notes. This is a great way to make sure all steps are recorded. Ensure that all ingredients have measurements and there is a clear description of what they are. For brand name items, you may want to include a brief description of what the item is as some products may be discontinued or changed. Note the sizes of packages or cans as they may change over time so include the number of ounces a container contains.

Be descriptive in the directions. Include information like the size of baking pan needed and how items should be combined. Include a brief description on how long to stir or whip something and what it should look like when done. Finally, make sure baking and cooking times/temperatures are listed along with a description of what the final product looks like and how it should be served/stored.

There will always be some factors that can’t be controlled in recreating a recipe to make it perfectly like grandmas. Ingredients may change over time and even the difference between farm fresh and store bought can change the flavor, but by updating grandma’s recipe now you will ensure it will be enjoyed for generations to come. 

When including grandma’s recipe in a cookbook consider placing a scanned image of the hand written version on the front or back of a divider then start that category off with the recipe printed out. Including handwritten recipes in a cookbook is a great way to preserve a loved one’s handwriting. With many schools no longer teaching cursive writing, providing a printed version of the recipe is a great way to ensure it will be readable in the future.

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Preventing and Finding Typos When Typing Recipes

Typos can easily hide in recipes. Spell check catches misspelled words, but sometimes our subconscious or auto-correct alters our attempt at typing ‘bake’ to ‘back’. Then there are those words that no matter how hard we try, we always type them wrong. Here are some tips to help find these errors and get them corrected before submitting your cookbook order.

proofreading recipes

Read everything out loud. – When reading recipes out loud we are forced to really read the words that are there. It is easy to overlook mistakes when skimming through a recipe because our mind reads the word as it should be and not as it is written. This simple trick can catch the majority of incorrect words, incomplete sentences and missing directions.

Proofread recipes as you enter. – Take a minute to proofread recipes and clean up abbreviations as you enter them. This makes the proofreading process easier when you are done entering.

Keep a list of commonly misspelled words handy. – Whenever you look up the spelling of a word jot it down and create a cheat sheet. Examples would be words like jalapeno and cannelloni. Also note spellings of brand names like Jell-O vs. jello and Chef Boyardee.

Use the recipe PDF for proofing! – Did you know you could print off a copy of your recipes to proofread? When you log into your account click on the ‘recipes’ tab. Next, select the ‘cookbook categories’ sub-tab. On the left side you will see a“Create a PDF of your Recipes.” Clicking on this icon will allow you to email a copy of your recipes to yourself which you can print off and proofread. Seeing the recipes on paper may help you to spot typos.  

Search the words that are troublesome. –So your fingers always seem to type ‘back’ instead of ‘bake?’ Take a few minutes to search that word in your recipe PDF. Once you download the PDF save it to your computer desktop or in a folder. Now you will be able to search for incorrect words using the find feature. Open the PDF and hold down the control button and the F key to activate the search box. You can also bring up the search box by selecting Edit from the tool bar and then clicking on Find.

Type the word you often misspell for example ‘back’. You will then be able to go through the recipes by clicking next and see that word highlighted. Don’t forget you will need to login to your account to make corrections in your recipes.

Get a second set of eyes. – Print off the PDF of your recipes and have someone else read through them and mark errors that they find.

Step away, relax and try it again. – Sometimes the best way to find mistakes is to take some time away from your cookbook project to rest your eyes and clear your mind. Have a cup of coffee, take a walk, chat with a friend, or even take a nap. When you return to working on your recipes you will be more likely to not only find mistakes, but also make fewer mistakes as you work.

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