Create An Heirloom Cookbook to Honor a Loved One


By Kaylin R. Staten

Heirloom projects provide a sense of purpose, pride and comfort after the passing of a loved one. They come in the form of cookbooks, videos, photo projects and more that expand your skill set and showcase your expertise. 

In July 2015, my legs shook as I prepared to say goodbye to a woman I had known for each day of my 27 years. I sat there, tears streaming down my cheeks, as Granny's eyes talked to me with their final mandate. I made promises I intended to keep, then and now.

One aspect of the multi-tiered promise was the vow to keep her legacy alive. So, I endeavored to create something in my truest, purest fashion: through the written word. I used a short story and poem to flesh out the beginnings of From Granny's Kitchen. I put my business logo on the copyright page, along with photos of Granny and me throughout the years. I signed it and placed it in her casket, where it will be forever sealed with her earthly body.

Now, more than a year after Granny's passing, From Granny"s Kitchen is available for purchase on multiple websites. This project was deeply personal and fulfilling. I am blessed beyond measure to have sales of the book, but I wanted to create something sustainable and nostalgic for my extended family.

After all, our Granny was my original inspiration and role model, so to pay homage to her felt comforting and made a piece of the past not too far to reach.

Heirloom projects come in various sizes, scopes, and time involved. Be prepared to spend hours on your given project. If you’re interested in creating your own cookbook to pay tribute to a loved one, here are a few tips to get you started.

Set aside time for compilation. This includes sifting through recipe boxes, photo albums, closets, personal memories of loved ones and more. Through the laughter and tears, you will find your best mementos to include in your cookbook. 

Plan your book. See what you love about other cookbooks and other book genres. Choose your photos, cover and fonts (just make sure they will be semi-standard and easy to read). Storyboard the pages and organize by theme, recipe collection, time period or another form of organization. Set deadlines and reminders, working backward from your intended release date. Make sure they are attainable objectives based on your workload (I know this from experience). Decide to create the book yourself or hire others to help you create your dream cookbook.

See which publishing method suits your needs. Seek out a publishing company or self-publish. It’s easier than ever to publish your own works and purchase ISBNs. Do you want a paperback, hardcover, eBook? Amazon, Lulu, Blurb, Book Baby, etc.? The possibilities are endless! 

Create your marketing plan. This varies with each author and his or her respective work, but decide which target audiences you want to reach. Create images, teasers, quotes, a website and other marketing pieces.

Enjoy the process! Times will be stressful, especially when deadlines loom, but take time to revel in the fruits of your labor and remember your loved one.

Copyright © MMXVI Hourglass Omnimedia, LLC

This post was originally published Nov. 2, 2016.

Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner. She owns Hourglass Omnimedia, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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