From Start to Finish: First-Time Author Celebrates Success of The RV Centennial Cookbook

18 Mar

What a miraculous idea. Travel across the country in a vehicle reminiscent of a home?  The American people have been doing just that since 1910 in recreation vehicles of all different sizes. The year 2010 marked a century of RVing, and the occasion didn’t go unnoticed. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) dubbed the year the “RV Centennial Celebration,” meant to commemorate the joy people get from RVing.

One of those people is now first-time author, Evada Cooper, who recently completed The RV Centennial Cookbook: Celebrating 100 Years of RVing. Cooper, who runs an online school called with her husband, Terry, is a life-long RV enthusiast. Naturally, the centennial celebration was something she couldn’t let pass.

“It was late 2009,” Cooper said. “Knowing the RV Centennial was coming, I wanted to do something different to honor this event.”

It was difficult to come up with an idea that hadn’t been done before with more than 100 years of RVing, until a spark ignited a fire one night as Cooper was watching TV.

“I had watched a show about this woman reporter spending time with a large fire department wanting to write a feature story on the lives of those concerned,” Cooper said. “She decided to do a cookbook because of all the unique and wonderful recipes that were cooked, as these people were well taken care of in the culinary division.”

Cooper then developed the idea to commemorate the RV Centennial celebration by compiling a cookbook with 100 recipes. Not just any recipes, but ones submitted by fellow RV lovers from across the country. After a little research and finding out her idea was something unique, Cooper met with Publisher Mark Long of TSTC Publishing, and the two decided to turn Cooper’s idea into a reality.

Cooper said it took 45 days to compile the recipes. Invitations went out to RV clubs and organizations as well as through press releases inviting anyone with a fun, and easy-to-assemble recipe to submit it for possible use. She also invited contributors to submit a short bio or story about their RV life.

The RV lifestyle is simple and laid-back. Food is an important ingredient to an RV household, yet still less important than family time and the great outdoors. Cooper wanted to make sure her cookbook offered recipes that were delicious, provided large servings, and didn’t take long to prepare.

“As I started the collection process, I began to get to know some of the people who were chosen to share their most loved recipes with me,” Cooper said. “Everyone who I had contact with was so honored to be a part of what I was doing.”

And what else was she doing? Combined with recipes with names alone that can make a person’s mouth water like Three Berry Pudding Cake and Incredibly Fattening Macaroni Casserole, Cooper also asked her husband to contribute maintenance tips. Her publisher then added brief history blurbs about RVing and instructions on how to play nostalgic games such as “Kick the Can.”

According to a recent article in Waco Today, “some 20 million Americans drive about 14 million vehicles, so the potential audience for the cookbook is huge,” regarding Cooper’s comments about the decision to include the maintenance tips. She added them in hopes of reeling in more than the average food guru.

To Cooper’s delight, RVIA decided to endorse her book, and RVIA President Richard Coon wrote the preface to her book. For a first-time author, Cooper sure does seem to be attracting a lot of attention.

A review in Publishers Weekly says “Cooper gives campers plenty of options that come together quickly and travel well.” While another review from the “RV Insights” blog calls the publication “the perfect cookbook for RVers,” a “gem,” and recommends RV travelers add the cookbook to their shelves before they hit the road for the camping season.

“I will always be surprised at the wonderful reviews the book has received,” Cooper said. “I know it’s beautiful; however, it does make me happy that others think so, too.” The colorful 160-page hardback book was designed by Cecilia Sorochin of SoroDesign.

“It was such an honor to give tribute to an organization as huge as the RV Industry,” Cooper said, “but what I find gratifying is here in America, it’s all about the people here now, and the ones who have come before us.”

The RV Centennial Cookbook commemorates the lifestyle people have loved for a century – the ones who have come before us, and now, with the publication, people will be able to enjoy a little slice of RV heaven as long as the cookbook resides on the shelf.

The cookbook will arrive in early April, and Cooper is busy planning numerous book signings, including one on  April 20 at the  Food Service/Culinary Arts Center on the TSTC Waco campus. The center also will feature foods made from recipes from the book on that day.


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