A couple of years ago I wanted to make a recipe photo book for my mom’s Christmas present. It just didn’t come together like I thought it would. Instead it morphed into something more. Something better: Around the Table, a photo book about life around our kitchen table (and in the kitchen) through the years. It turned out to be one of the best gifts I ever made.
Here’s how you can do make one, too.
1. Get in touch with family members. Collect their memories of your mother (or other favorite family member) in the kitchen.
2. Collect photos. Seems obvious, but think outside the box. I decided to go back to my mom’s childhood kitchen table. I scanned dozens of her childhood pictures, from when she was eating her first birthday cake to her teenage days hanging out at the counter.
3. Write an Introduction. Not strictly necessary, but it’s a nice touch and gives you an opportunity to set the tone of the book.
4. Choose page headings or themes.
- “Studying, reading, and model building”
- “The Very Strange” for those inexplicable activities that happened in our kitchen
- “Birthdays” and “holidays”
- “Growing up around the table” to group the pictures of her children and grandchildren
- “Sometimes the table travels…” included pictures of our family around the picnic table while camping, eating together in national parks, and grilling out.
- “Fun and Games” for all the ups and downs of playing board games as a family.
5. Add quotations, memories, and recipes. In my family we’d add some of the quotations from our “Out of Context” list like, “Terra, the Coke is in the garage behind the kayaks.”
6. Willpower. Try your hardest to keep from giving it to your mother early!