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About Nana's Recipes:
Behind the Scenes
by David Welton
Co-Founder & Webmaster

Nana at oven

A quick history of Nana's Recipes
Nana's Recipes was born during a visit with Nana and Papa Welton in May of 1998. (I actually call them Mom and Dad, it's the grandchildren that call them Nana and Papa!) During my visit I watched Mom tediously copy recipes by hand to send to relatives. At that moment Nana's Recipes was born — I knew of a better way to pass on my Mom's recipes to interested people: the Web! At the time we were doing family genealogy research, so my mindset was already one of preserving cherished pieces of our family history — and food is a huge part of any family's history. The site was first on the Web in early June 1998.

Front page form 1998

Nana's Recipes November 1999

Many years later the site has grown to almost 300 recipes and received recognition from many sources. The picture at the right shows the home page from November 1999. The site has evolved over the years, but I've tried to keep it simple and homey — just like the recipes we feature.

Sadly, both Nana and Papa have gone to heaven, but I will do my best at maintaining this website into the future.  

How does Nana get her recipes?
The majority of the recipes are Nana's. But she was blessed with many family members and friends who also enjoy the same kind of home cooking she did.

I know precious little about cooking, but I have many years of experience as a college instructor, instructional designer and media producer. So, I know how to write and deliver instruction with media. At its core, a recipe is simply instruction — so the blending of Nana's skills and mine were a perfect match!

I do all of the Web site design and write all the text, except for the recipes. In other words, the "voice" of Nana's Recipes is Nana's son, David Welton...me! When Nana was alive, she reviewed all material before it appeared on the site, nowadays those duties belong to me and my dear wife Stephanie.

We add new recipes regularly and publish a "What's Cooking" page that describes new recipes and other happenings on the site. Maintaining the site is a lot of work, but it's a labor of love.

How do you get the food images?
One thing that sets Nana's Recipes apart from other recipe sites are the images we include. We know that a picture is worth a thousand words — especially when it comes to recipes.

Nana and Papa WeltonOver the years Nana, Papa and I honed our skills in the art of photographing food...no easy task. The professionals rarely use actual edible food in their shots, not us. All the completed recipes you see on our site are real, and have been eaten by Nana, Papa, family or friends! Many of the photographs were taken in Nana's home.

In the early days of this website Papa Welton used his video camera to capture recipe images. At the time Nana and Papa used a web browsing device called WebTV a box that connected to a regular TV and allowed for basic web browsing and email.

The WebTV device allowed the connection of a standard video camera. It also had the ability to grab one frame of video and turn it into a still image. Papa created this image and emailed it to me. In 1999 this was cutting edge stuff. But, compared to the digital cameras we have today, it was very crude. Our long-term project is to replace the remaining low-quality old photos with new ones.

How did you make the oven animation on the Front Page?
The trademark image of the site has become the animated image on the home page — the one that shows Nana in her kitchen with me jumping out of the oven. I wish I could take credit for creating this animation, but I can't. It was created by Sean Kane in the Summer of 1998.

I worked with Sean at the time, and he offered to scan some images for me. He saw an opportunity to take two of the images and make an animation. A few minutes later (he is very fast!) the amazing creation was done.

Initially I showed the animation to Nana and described it as a joke...I didn't think she'd want it on the site. I was wrong! Nana loved it and the image has been our trademark ever since.

Updated 5/22

Some Random Fun Stuff:

Play Nana's Scavenger Hunt Game!

Listen to Nana's Audio Greeting

View a random recipe page

Index of past "What's Cooking" issues

Home Cakes Chocolate Cakes Cookies Chocolate Cookies Pies Candy & Sweets Other Desserts
Main Dish Chicken Soups Salads Hors D'oeuvres Side Dishes Breakfast Search