When I got married, my new sister-in-law gifted me with a collection of all the family’s recipes. While the collection was presented in a plain, inexpensive plastic binder I recognized the act of love, not only because she wrote each recipe by hand when she could have typed them, but also because she was putting faith in my cooking skills, which are famously non-existent.

Gifting a handwritten book of recipes is a family tradition for many. My mom got one from my grandma, who in turn got hers from my great-grandmother. Lifestyle and cooking have changed (my grandma used to make a dessert that called for two hours of gentle simmering), yet a handwritten cookbook is a gift that stands the test of time and connects us to past generations, evoking fond memories and cherished experiences. In a way, it archives our past.

Pictured here: Violet Fairy journal

In a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, Hugh Jackman showed off the handwritten recipe book his mother made for him, featuring all the recipes he grew up with. But as his mother doesn’t usually follow a recipe, she first had to cook every dish so she could measure and record the ingredients. We were so moved to see the interview, not only because the book in question was a Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes Paperblanks (we’re not going to lie – we were very excited it was a Paperblanks journal, as that’s the closest we’ll ever be to Hugh), but because of the way Jackman treasures that book. “It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever gotten,” he enthused.

Pictured here: Mumtaz journal

In today’s digital era and amidst an overconsumption culture, handwritten notes and family heirlooms are a rare commodity and more precious than ever. One of the reasons people collect memorable items is because they want to learn about their family history and help create a legacy. Family heirlooms can provide us with a sense of continuity. And when the family culinary secrets are written in an heirloom-quality notebook, that makes the gift even more special.

Have you used a Paperblanks notebook to store your family’s recipes? Let us know in the comments! We love to hear how Paperblanks notebooks are used.

Pictured here: Still Life Burst journal


  1. I love this idea and think of it as a wonderful way to remember and honour my mom’s memory.

    Many years ago, I simply printed recipes that I was interested in and placed them into a binder. While utilitarian, I hadn’t transcribed my mother’s recipes.

    I’ve thought of doing just that sometime, but with my “recent” new love of fountain pens and finer writing papers, I’ve given serious thought to writing them into a worthy journal.

    The Paperblanks journals would seem to fit this desire IF I could be assured of the paper’s compatibility with fountain pen inks — the main concerns being feathering and bleed-through.
    I would greatly appreciate the promotion of such compatibility as an added selling point to the growing community of FP enthusiasts.

    • Hi Mike, thanks a lot for your comment. We agree, preserving someone’s recipes is a wonderful way to honour a loved one’s memory.
      As for the fountain pen ink, we are very sorry for this unusual problem you have had with your journal.
      At Paperblanks we understand that good quality paper makes journal usage a pleasurable experience. The paper used in our journals is environmentally sound and it has been tested to ensure that its opacity is consistently high and that its writing smoothness is exceptional. However, the performance can vary depending on the brand of the foundation pen, nib design, ink and hand pressure used. For your next journal purchase may we suggest you try one of the larger formats (Midi, Ultra or Grande)? As the paper weight is generally heavier (120 gsm) than our smaller journals (85 gsm). For more information on the paper used in each product, please check out this blog post: http://blog.paperblanks.com/2015/05/paperblanks-craftsmanship-standards-paper-quality-update/

      Thanks for reading, Mike!

  2. This is a wonderful idea, that I’ve put into action today. First entry; my vegetarian lasagna. I’ll won’t just write down the recipe, but wherever possible the story behind it as well. Because food isn’t just food in many cases. Like my grandmother’s cookie recipe. They’re quite labour intensive, and she used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen just to spoil me. I’m looking forward to writing it all down. Thanks again for the suggestion!

    • Thanks, Martin! We are so happy to hear this. We live for the stories behind the recipe. That’s what makes them even more special!

      • I agree Andrea@Paperblanks! Besides, it’s a lot of fun I’ve noticed. Writing about one thing seems to trigger other reminiscences, that have been dormant for so many years. I’m writing it in an ultra format Aurelia, which is absolutely beautiful by the way, and over a third of the available pages have been filled already. Despite the fact that my writing time is limited. Such fun!!

        • That’s great to hear, Martin! Keep going and if you post photos of it on social media don’t forget to tag us. (And I agree, Aurelia is gorgeous, definitely one of my favourites).


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