Cooking a Book

Cooking a Book

Cooking shares a lot in common with writing a book: Good cooking needs tasty ingredients, a competent chef, a worthy recipe, and dashes of patience and dedication to getting things right. Writing a saleable book requires delicious ideas, a competent writer, a logical structure, and dashes of patience and dedication to getting things right. Roy Petitfils, author of What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About the First Five Years of Marriage, is both a competent chef and a competent writer. He knows how to cook a book. 

Eucharist Cajun-style

A counselor at St. Cecilia School in Broussard, Louisiana, and at Pax Renewal Center for Individual, Marriage and Family Therapy, Roy writes an internationally syndicated column, “Our Young Church,” and blogs about ministry and family and marriage issues.

I first met Roy four years ago at a Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit in St. Charles, Illinois, when another SAMP author introduced us. Roy, from Youngsville, Louisiana, wanted to partner with a publisher on marriage and family projects. I was seeking an author to write a book for young couples about the joys and obstacles that arise post-honeymoon during the first years of wedded bliss. After a long conversation, Roy and I decided we fit like salt and pepper! We quickly decided on a topic and focus for a marriage book, one based on Roy’s own experience as well as his insights as a family counselor.

Author Roy Petitfils cooks a Cajun supper for SAMP product development directors Lisa Biedenbach (left) and Jeanne Hunt (right).

When Roy was slated to speak at the annual conference of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers in Cincinnati in June 2010, I invited him to my home for supper with my coworker Jeanne Hunt, director of product development for the institutional market, and my husband, Bob. Roy graciously offered to prepare a Cajun meal of gumbo and shrimp étouffée over rice. Because my well-stocked pantry did not have a few key ingredients of this regional cuisine, Bob and I took Roy grocery shopping at Jungle Jim’s International Market. Like all “foodies,” Roy went wild there, especially when he discovered his friend’s line of Cajun products prominently displayed!

The next day I let Roy loose in my kitchen while I worked in my SAMP office, and when I arrived home, I found cupboards and drawers open, flour piles on the countertops, and wonderful aromas wafting from huge stock pots on my island cooktop. Cooking from scratch, Roy served us a supper to die for. It was eucharist Cajun-style!

Foodie friends

Since then, Roy and I have been trading recipes and cooking tips on Facebook, and when he comes to Cincinnati at the end of January 2011 to record the audio version of his book, I’m confident there will be a few meals shared and a trip or two to Jungle Jim’s.

On the menu during the January visit will be our chat about a new project. Roy’s cooking another book for SAMP! Bon appétit!


About the Author

Lisa Biedenbach, director of product development for St. Anthony Messenger Press books, works to identify great writers whose insights and experiences can inspire and inform us about the Catholic faith and help connect people to God and each other. A graduate of St. Bonaventure University, she is married, and loves to cook, garden, read books, and entertain family and friends.