The Collaborative Cookbook: Inspiring Creativity and Community During COVID-19

For generations, cooking has brought families, friends, and communities together. The kitchen has long been considered the heart of the home, the place where everyone gathers to enjoy the combination of good company, and good food.

As we continue to live in the uncertainty of COVID-19, social distancing means forgoing family dinners, gatherings, and even brunch out with friends—all of which revolve around food. Because of this, many have turned to home cooking to while away the hours, with the hashtag “coronaviruscooking” taking social media by storm.

But one thing our COVID-19 season is missing is the people with whom we love to share our meals. As we spend more time experimenting and expanding our recipe collections, we also want to be able to share our #coronaviruscooking with others.

At Newlywords, we believe in the power of collaboration and community—and a good home-cooked meal. This is why we decided to bring all of those elements together into one, heartwarming collaborative cookbook, where you—and others—can share the recipes you love the most.

What is a Collaborative Cookbook?

Building a cookbook is often a solo task, one that requires long hours experimenting with recipes, professional photoshoots, and plenty of editing. The collaborative cookbook, however, is something else entirely.

Much like the community cookbooks of old—those made for the Ladies’ Aid Society or local high school fundraisers—collaborative cookbooks include recipes from across the community, brought together into a single book.

In many cases, these cookbooks revolve around a specific theme or group. People make cookbooks to share recipes among their school groups, religious gatherings, or even give their recipes as gifts. Every participant shares a recipe or two, and one person combines the recipes to make a complete cookbook.

How to Build a Cookbook with Your Community

At Newlywords, we’ve simplified the process of making a collaborative cookbook. You can easily invite friends or family to contribute recipes, photos, and ideas via our online platform. You can then rearrange the contributions to make a cohesive cookbook that combines everyone’s favorite recipes. Cookbooks can either be shared via PDF, to add to your digital collection, or printed, for those who love the feel of a cookbook in their hands. Friends, family, and co-workers can once more come “together” around food in the form of the collaborative cookbook.

Our Favorite Ways to Share Great Recipes

In the midst of COVID-19, while we may not be able to share our cooking, we can certainly share our recipes. These are some of our favorite ways that customers are using collaboration and cooking to stay connected.

Recipes for the Class of 2020

With nationwide school closures, the class of 2020 is the first ever to end their school year at home and even experience virtual graduation ceremonies. But don’t worry, the cooks and the bakers won’t let this crazy moment slip by without some home-cooked cheer.

Parents, classmates, and even teachers can work together to create a memory that will last a lifetime: a cookbook full of recipes from the class of 2020.

Collaborative Wedding and Shower Gifts

For many engaged couples, the coronavirus pandemic meant canceled plans and postponed ceremonies. For others, however, their weddings simply morphed into something unique: virtual ceremonies, or small, private affairs. Baby showers have also changed dramatically as people jump on video conferencing platforms to celebrate the mom-to-be.

One way loved ones are coming together to help celebrate the newlyweds or new parents is by building collaborative cookbooks. By inviting guests and family members to contribute, they are able to create a beautiful gift that speaks of community, love, and a shared appreciation for great food.

Birthday Party Favor

Looking for creative ways to thank your friends for jumping on Zoom or Houseparty to celebrate your birthday? We think the collaborative cookbook is one of the most memorable ways to say thank you.

You can easily email your guest list from the Newlywords platform and invite them to submit their favorite recipe. You can even give them a theme, like “favorite desserts” or “best birthday party snacks.” Once everyone has submitted a recipe, easily edit and combine the submissions to create a PDF of everyone’s favorite foods. Send it off as a birthday party favor, and even print a hard copy to add to your own collection.

Neighborhood Togetherness

Many of us are feeling the lack of community and connectedness that was previously part of our everyday lives. In order to combat isolation, people are finding creative ways to come together through cooking!

Some eager cooks are using this time to build community by collaborating with neighbors and sharing fun, new recipes. Take it a step further and combine those recipes into a single cookbook that can be passed down as a memory of this season—and some of the sweet and savory delights that came out of it.

The Co-worker Collective

If working from home has you missing your co-workers, the collaborative cookbook is a fun and easy way to bring everyone together on a project unrelated to work. While some are opting for virtual happy hour to stay connected, combining your favorite COVID-19 recipes is a great way to connect and build a lasting memory.

Your office collaborative cookbook also makes a great retirement gift for co-workers that are retiring in the midst of social distancing measures. While a big party may be out of the question, you and your team can give a lasting gift in the form of shared recipes.

Remembering the Season

One of our favorite ways to use the collaborative cookbook is as a time capsule to remember this unique season we are in. With family members unable to visit one another, they can instead turn to the shared expression of cooking.

Grandmothers, uncles, brothers, moms, and daughters can all contribute toward a cookbook that captures the recipes that brought the most joy during this difficult time. Not only will the collaborative cookbook be a fun memory to share as a family or among friends, but it also makes a great gift for those who may be too young to remember this season when life returns to a new normal.

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