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Connecting Generations With Food

On November 16, Island Wealth Management hosted a virtual cooking class with Lynette Lo Tom. Lynette demonstrated how to cook pot stickers, shared cooking tips, her menu for the holidays and even a peek into her kitchen!

One of the “gems” Lynette shared on our webinar was to urge viewers to collect and publish their favorite family recipes. She emphasized, “When someone passes away and doesn’t pass on a beloved recipe, it’s forever lost!”

Recently, I caught up with Lynette to talk about the lessons she’s learned as a published cookbook author and food columnist to help anyone interested in creating their own family cookbook. Here are some helpful tips she shared with me:

Tip 1:  Start small!  Begin with your 5 favorite recipes. Your recipe book can be a simple pamphlet that you print, staple or bind yourself. You can also use a company like Shutterfly to create and print books. “Do it one recipe at a time and before you know it, you’ll have a collection!”

Tip 2:  Take your favorite cookbook and study it for its style and form. What elements help you as a cook? For example, are you going to list the ingredients needed first? Will you list the ingredients in the order you will be using it? Do you want to rate it as easy or challenging to prepare? Do you want to include the number of servings it makes? 

Tip 3:  Be consistent. When you collect personal recipes, they will come in many forms and will be organized in different ways. Decide on the format of your book as well as details such as how you will indicate measurements. Will you abbreviate “tablespoon” or spell it out? Be consistent throughout your cookbook.

Tip 4:  Be as detailed as possible. Ingredients like the type of flour or the brand of salt you use is helpful. Lynette noted the size of canned goods have changed over the years so it’s a good idea to indicate the number of ounces needed with canned ingredients. 

Tip 5:  Include cooking tips! Often if it’s a favorite recipe, the cook may have personal notes and adjustments they’ve learned over the years. Be sure to include these helpful tips. 

Tip 6:  Have people of different skill levels proofread your cookbook. Is there something that is not clear to them? Their feedback can help you write a better book! 

Tip 7:  Test the recipes yourself or recruit others to help you test recipes. Ask the cook to clear up any questions that arise.

Tip 8:  Make it personal! Include photos of the food as well as the contributors. When making her family cookbook, Lynette added her grandmother’s favorite sayings. Share funny/interesting stories behind the recipes. She asked her nieces and nephews to share their memories about the dishes. 

Tip 9:  Just have fun with this project!

The idea of publishing a family cookbook is daunting, but Lynette provided me with easy, concrete ways to begin. Mahalo, Lynette, for sharing your wealth of knowledge about food, cooking and creating good memories.

Food can help to build connections and strengthen relationships across the generations. At Island Wealth Management, we strive to make a difference in the lives of our clients to help them live rich and meaningful lives.

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