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Connection Corner

Create a family recipe collection

stack of recipe cards

When I was in college, my grandmother made me a book of her favorite recipes – it was a labor of love as each recipe was handwritten and it is one of my prized possessions. It was especially meaningful because my grandmother was a wonderful cook and family meals were a big part of our holiday gatherings for as long as I remember. The one thing I wish I would have done is to have asked her more about the stories behind the recipes she made.

Collect Family Recipes

You may have cherished favorites recipes in your family or perhaps you would like to start creating new favorites. If you don’t already have a family collection of recipes, this Connection Corner activity might be a great way to start one. 

The Family Recipe Collection activity encourages families to brainstorm their favorite recipes from friends or family members. These could be recipes everyone has tried or an individual’s favorite.

Make a list of everyone’s favorites and then hunt down the recipes from family members or friends. You can use these family recipe cards to help capture the story behind the recipe:

  • Why is this recipe important to you?
  • Where is the recipe from?
  • Who did you make this recipe with?

If you don’t have a favorite recipe or just want to try out some new ones, the other part of the family recipe collection activity is to brainstorm a list of new recipes you would like to try and to set a monthly challenge of trying at least one new recipe a month.

As we enter the holiday season, this is a great time to gather favorite family recipes from friends and family members and to create new ones. Happy cooking!


Judy Schmidt provides leadership to 4-H metro programming in Peoria County. Schmidt joined Extension in 2001, working as a Youth Development Educator at the East Peoria Center and joined the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell unit in 2011. Her work focuses on 4-H youth development programming in the local metropolitan area, specifically leading positive youth development initiatives for after-school programs, community groups, 4-H clubs and other youth-serving organizations. Her areas of expertise include positive youth development principles, youth leadership, and work with teens as teachers. Schmidt attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her bachelor's degree in psychology and also for her master's degrees in Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a certified facilitator of the Matrixx System/Real Colors program by the National Curriculum and Training Institute.

Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.