How to Create an Elementary School Cookbook
How to create a Cookbook
My child's favorite bedtime reading is the cookbook we created as a fundraiser for our school. It was written when he was in Kindergarten and several years later, from the giggling at bedtime, I can always tell that he and grandpa are reading the cookbook. Most of the recipes are inedible and I will explain why as we go along but it is probably the best book ever created.
There are several areas where decisions should be made before proceeding. Each step is detailed below. You will need school approval and many volunteers to make this a reality. It is a lot of work but so worth it.
There is one recipe here that is edible. The other three are iffy.
Who will be in the cookbook?
After lots of discussion we decided that we wanted each child to participate. So how do you get a recipe from each child? We got permission from the staff to spend time in the classrooms. We interviewed each child from Kindergarten to the third grade. We let the 4th and 5th graders create their own. One enterprising 2nd grade teacher had the children write their own. She had cookbooks available and they could copy one or make up their own. We also collected recipes from the staff and the volunteers so we would have a least a few recipes that were edible. I must say that some of them were pretty good and have been added to our regular meals. We ended up with over 500 recipes.
What children really think!
Who will collect the information?
For a cookbook this size, we used 10 people who worked 2 hours a day for two weeks. We split up the grades and each person interviewed the children. The teachers were very cooperative and allowed the disruption. I did Kindergarten and 2nd grade and had an absolute blast working with the kids. I did not interview my child. We did find that the volunteer's children spoke more freely with someone who was not related.
Pretty good for a 2nd grader - Pico De Gallo
How will the recipes be collected?
Make up a form that allows each volunteer to ask the same questions or to use as a prompt.
What is your favorite food to cook?
What kinds of things go in it?
How long does it take?
How many people can eat it?
Do you know how to spell it?
We wrote down word for word what they said.
We left forms for the children who were absent. The 4th and 5th graders were given the same forms and they completed their own.
Use class lists to make sure that there is a recipe for each child. Children who were absent were rescheduled and one of the volunteers was assigned to interview those children. One child was on home study recovering from a very serious accident. We sent the form home with the school work and his mother was tickled and interviewed him using the questions. She was very pleased that he would also be included and shared with us that it made him very happy. If we had done nothing else, it would have been worth it at that point.
A real cookbook
My Better Homes and Garden cookbook is more than 50 years old. Sometimes, I consider updating it but then, it still is in good shape and has notes written all over it. I like to give these as gifts to newly married folks so they can make notes too and treasure it when it is 50-yrs-old.
How will it be sorted?
We chose a program that could be completed on-line. Each recipe has to be typed individually and it takes a lot of time. However, once on-line, it is easy to sort.
We decided that we would start each category with the Kindergarten recipes, going through each grade and ending with the recipes submitted by the staff. If I need a recipe now, I know that anything edible will be towards the back of the category.
What categories did we include?
Appetizers, Relishes and Pickles
Soups, Salads and Sauces
Meats and Main Dishes
Breads, Rolls and Pastries
Cakes, Cookies and Desserts
Beverages, Microwave and Miscellaneous
The program also had suggestions and it can be broken down even further but these worked for us.
Our child's recipe
Who will key in the information?
I typed all the recipes into the program. This is really too much for one person and takes a very long time. Break it down. The program we used allows multiple people to key in the information. I was the only one with an available computer at that time but more people have computers now.
We did not correct the spelling or the grammar from the children who submitted their own. This is difficult as it's automatic to fix spelling errors when you're typing and to purposely misspell that many words is much harder than I thought.
Find a publisher
There are many publishers available that make the process easy. You can design you book on their site and determine what the cost will be for each book As a fundraiser, we made $5.00 on each book by marking up the price while still making it affordable for our parents.
The program we used allowed others to go in as proof readers. Since we did not correct the spelling on many, they only needed to check what I had keyed in. The index was the hardest because they had to verify names from the class lists but must admit that it came out with only one misspelled name. We had a great group of proof readers.
We had a discussion on how many books to order. Best suggestion is to have the parents pre-order the books and then add for those who forgot to order or want more. We netted about $1000.00. Not a high amount but we all have a souvenir that is priceless.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!