How to Preserve and Share Grandma's Recipes (2024)

Copy Me That’s Recipe Clipper is designed to store web recipes with the ease of a button you can install on your browser (desktop or mobile.) Simply click to copy a recipe from any website, and even if you modify it to suit your tastes, all recipes retain the original link. The default for recipes saved to Copy Me That is that they are private, but with a premium membership you can opt to make your recipes public and share them.

Create a Cookbook, Online or Off

Once you have all of your recipes collected in one place, congratulations, you are now the author of a virtual cookbook! But it gets even better. Advances in publishing technology allow you to create different types of “books” that can be printed on demand, and at the same time live forever as electronic data. It may sound like stepping back from digital, backed-up recipes to paper versions, but don’t underestimate how lovely it would be to give or get a book of your family recipes for the holidays or a birthday.

After Strauss completed her survey of family favorites, she imported her collection into Shutterfly, a photography and image-sharing company, and ordered a printed cookbook. Yet she didn’t relinquish the advantages of digital content. “The last step I took was to upload all of the recipes without the images into 2ndvault, which automatically converts and stores my file as a PDF.” This step will protect her file in case of a flood or other disaster, natural or human, such as simply misplacing the book.

Dish Dish makes creating online and printed cookbooks as easy as apple pie. “Our Digital Recipe Album package is perfect for a large collection of family recipes,” Carr says. “We send our client an envelope to retrieve their recipe collection, type in all the recipes for them, and return the originals to them when finished.” It’s a great option if you don’t want to lift a finger, and costs range from $50 to $150, depending on the number of recipes you send. Dish Dish also sells printed family or group cookbooks. Processing is $30 if your recipes already reside in their database or you provide them electronically; otherwise the company charges 50 cents per recipe. Books start at $6.50 each for a 50-page, 6 x 9-inch version and $8.25 each for an 8.5-inch by 11-inch volume.

Eating Better, Cheaper, Greener

Plan to Eat, which was specifically designed to help streamline meal planning, reports that its users save money in food costs and waste less food, so if you’d like a more complete meal planning service along with your recipe storage, this company's tools go that extra mile. Plan to Eat automatically creates a shopping list based on your customized meal plan, which can hold an unlimited number of events. The service also has a feature called The Freezer, designed for batch cooking and storage, that tracks the number of servings and meals provided for each batch, along with the date they’re prepared.

Back at BigOven, one of my favorite features helps reduce my carbon footprint. The service’s Use Up Leftovers tool allows you to enter up to three surplus ingredients into its database to receive suggestions and recipes for how to use them.

A New Generation of Cooks

I love having the opportunity to digitize, back up, and preserve my family recipes, but I also appreciate the ability to connect with more epicures and improve my cooking. Members of Dish Dish receive regular newsletters, meal recommendations, and tips. I can participate by rating recipes from other members and adding favorites to my own collection.

For example, at BigOven, I can easily follow other cooks and search their database of recipes to find more. In fact, I found many entries for holiday stollen that included tips and techniques I’ll certainly use as I try to replicate Wilma’s version. I may even, ahem, update it to healthier standards.

Eventually I’ll need to pass on Wilma’s recipe box and famous bread pans to another family member, my son Dashiel or niece Bailey. But they won’t just inherit a ramshackle collection of paper recipes. They’ll get a digitized collection they can pass down to their own children, and more. My grandmother so loved sharing her recipes with others, I'm certain she would have been happy to know that her favorite dishes are now available for cooks across the world to enjoy.

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