It was some 14 years ago that I first heard of the “Pitch-A-Log,” a means for want-to-be authors to give a 3-minute talk trying to persuade the audience of how their book would be a success. The place was the Clayton Library, in St. Louis, MO., and my husband, Bill, heard the announcement on KMOX radio. “This will be perfect, he said, “you will get a chance to tell about the cookbook you are attempting to write.”
The room was packed with hopeful authors, all in anticipation of being selected to “pitch-their-log.” As I came into the room, one of the judges asked me what I was writing about. I cheerfully told him that I wanted to publish an Italian cookbook. “Good’, was his response, “and since we have only a few cookbook authors, you can be the one to represent them.” “Just take a few minutes to write your comments on this card, and we will call your name in due time.” I can’t tell you how excited I was to be the chosen representative for cookbooks.
It seemed like an eternity, but then I heard my name. “Will Rosalie Harpole please come forward; she hopes to write an Italian Cookbook.” I took the stairs up to the stage, and began to read off my comments, explaining how I wanted to continue the Italian heritage of Sicilian dishes that my Italian mother left me. After concluding, I found myself coming down to face the 6 judges seated off to the side of the stage. Somehow, I felt like I was on the American Idol show. I could tell by the look on their faces, they were not impressed.
They started, “Lady, do you know how many cookbooks are in circulation, even as we speak”? They continued. “What makes you think yours will be any different?” They continued. You need a “theme,” …you know, something to bring it all together.’ And…” good luck.”
I felt the hot tears just wanting to spill out of my eyes, but I decided that would make things worse. All the way home, I complained to Bill how I would never be good enough to put this fantasy together. He only listened, but finally said, “Go to the computer, and wait for the inspiration…it will come.”
The next day I prayed a prayer to God, telling Him that I didn’t know what I was doing, but if He could just lead me, I would give it a chance. As I sat at the computer, these words spilled out of my heart…” My purpose in writing this cookbook is to portray with every recipe, the importance of preserving family relationships. It is not about making a meal and consuming it, but about being able to sit down with your family altogether and bond in love. Food is a bridge to relationships. My purpose in writing this cookbook is for you to sit at my table and enjoy Pasta con Broccoli, to think of me, and have fun. Your purpose is to serve Pasta con Broccoli to your family, so that they can bond with you, and think of you years to come. Whether you are a family of four, or a single mom or dad, this cookbook is for you to make memories that will last a lifetime.” I looked at the words that I had just written and began to cry and thank God that I had found my purpose.
Three cookbooks later, I am still praising God for all the doors these words have opened. I have been blessed to be a motivational speaker for churches, ladies’ groups, and even teaching school children the importance of family time at the table. Preserve the table, preserve the family!