Cookbooks History · Dave Kempf · The Life of the Party

Friendships and Cookbooks


By Dave Kempf

Looking back on a 10-year project, good decisions about the format and layout of the Culinary Collection have made the work of the subsequent committees that much easier. This is where it all started…

As The Life of The Party was blossoming, so did my friendship with Danielle and Kristie. Interestingly, my youngest daughter, Emily, chose to attend The University of Tampa; since she was only 17 throughout her first year, I recruited Danielle and Kristie to be surrogate “Aunts” during her college career. Moreover, there was at least one occasion where I had to call on Aunt Danielle to accompany Emily to a doctor visit. Along the way, Emily even helped her Aunts out by babysitting occasionally.

While this story is about the League and its community, the point I am making is that these community cookbooks are responsible for so many relationships, partnerships, and good. For example, through these books the League recruits retail store owners to support their fund raising efforts by carrying the books. These books serve as a billboard for The Junior League of Tampa in their support of improving the lives of children in the foster care system, providing educational programs that promote literacy, and offer cultural enrichment and increasing access to basic needs services for disadvantaged children. Through The Junior League of Tampa Culinary Collection over $300,000 have been invested back into the community.

The theme of The Life of the Party is entertaining. It is unique in that it allows the host to be an integral part of the social affair, rather than spending all of their time in the kitchen. The book contains 100 party recipes as well as party menus, color photographs, and tips for party planning. Kristie Salzer was instrumental in the entire series in the food styling for the food photography. Plus, she has submitted many “yummy” recipes to the collection. The League recently honored Kristie for her work over on The Culinary Collection.

While each committee had different challenges, the cookbook committee had some BIG assignments to tackle. Since we were publishing a series, the decisions on this first title affected all others down the line. For example, a mast for the title was created that would have to work well imposed over future cover shots. A design and format was chosen that would be utilized for the other books, and yet needed some elements that would be unique to each. I am so proud of the effort and teamwork that this first committee exhibited to create a legacy for the Junior League of Tampa.

The next post will focus on Everyday Feasts as well as developing the potential of women and training of volunteers through the cookbook efforts.

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