The self-publishing success story of 2008 – ‘Table Tucker’ by Penina Petersen – has been re-released by Hatchette Australia.
Table Tucker is the budget cookbook where recipes and shopping lists work together to produce an easy to follow program that promises to change the way you shop, cook, eat and live. The author of Table Tucker, Penina Petersen (pictured with her husband and son), is not a chef, dietitian or greenie – but this busy working mum has created an ingenious way to feed yourself or a family on a budget whilst saving precious leisure time. In addition to recipes and shopping lists, the book includes information on home safety, food preparation, food storage, buying in season and wisdom for daily living. But more importantly, this budget cookbook can save the average family as much as $456,000 on their grocery bills and reduce water usage by more than 21 million litres.
Penina Petersen was born in Auckland but moved to Australia when she was young and now lives on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria with her husband and four year old son. After graduating from university, Penina taught English in Japan for four years before returning to Australia to work for a temping agency. She has worked in sales and marketing, sold advertising, and worked as a Personal Assistant – a broad skill set Penina says has helped her to succeed in self-publishing her first book.
Table Tucker was first conceived four years ago. Like many first time authors, Penina was working full-time and could only find time to write at nights and on weekends. Two years after she began, Penina Petersen finished the budget cookbook and sent it off to the printers. The self-published book became an instant hit after a TV appearance on Today Tonight in November 2008 led to a higher than expected demand for the book.
Penina told Australian Women Online, “When we went on Today Tonight my husband and I had to both quit our jobs because we had to get all the books out and we did packing of books for about two months.”
After the first print run of 5,000 copies sold out, Penina signed a book contract with Hatchette Australia to publish Table Tucker. Penina says the new edition involved making changes to the layout and design of the book, but the content of the cookbook has remained largely unchanged from the self-published edition.
The recipes contained in the book were created by Penina herself. She also collected recipes from friends, family and work colleagues.
“I was helped with the vegetarian recipes by my mum who has been vegetarian (and more recently vegan) for many years,” said Penina. “[My husband] Richard and I fine-tuned and tested the recipes over a period of about two years. All the measures in the recipes are standardised across the whole book to fit the Table Tucker cooking system. This means over time users get to know what measures I use, the method I use and the standard amounts to shop for.”
When I left home in 1987, my mother gave me a copy of The Commonsense Cookery Book and I referred to it regularly in the first two years I lived away from home.
Penina told me that Table Tucker has been given to more than one child leaving the nest. “I actually wanted to write a book that crosses generations,” she said. “I’ve got one mum who has five kids and she bought five copies which she has put in the cupboard for when her children leave home. I also wanted to honour my parents, and that’s why I included ‘wisdom’ in the book.”
Penina Petersen has a loyal following on the Internet at her website www.tabletucker.com.au. The website was created by the author herself and Penina is currently running competitions on the site to encourage more people to send in recipes for future Table Tucker books.
Table Tucker by Penina Petersen is published by Hatchette Australia and is available now at book retailers for AU$27.99 (recommended retail price).