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The Smart Cookbook Changing Lives

by Penina

Life before Table Tucker

Before Table Tucker I was a typical time-poor working mum. Trips to the supermarket involved making rash buys from screaming supermarket shelves. They knew me by name. I thought I was happy in the comfort of grouse convenience dinners and packaged chips-and-dips. They sure looked inviting under those dazzling lights. Then, one day, as I watched the cashier’s screen counting up my stuff, I had a blinding moment of clarity. I was sick of being ‘ripped of ’ by my own lack of time and organisation.
I haven’t always been a time-poor working mum. I’ve also been the broke university student, working three jobs and living on toast for dinner. After that, I backpacked around the world living on instant noodles and beer. When I finally made it home, I was on a tight schedule. There were visa cards to pay for and pizzas to order. Cooking-for-one, or cooking at all, was not a choice I could afford or had the time to indulge in.
It wasn’t until my thirties that I learned the basics of cooking. Help arrived in the form of a friend who was leaving town. She left a box of recipe magazines on my doorstep one night on her way to the airport. There was no secret knock, just this little box of mags sitting on my porch crying out for someone to love them. I brought them in from the cold, patted the dust of them and lined them up across my kitchen bench. And so began my journey of finally learning to cook.
“Table Tucker puts control back in your hands.”
Meeting today’s challenges
What you now may hold in your hands is my answer to a few more of life’s challenges than just learning to cook. Not in my lifetime have I had the time to spend long evenings in the kitchen like my grandmother did. In this generation, with rising interest rates and high petrol prices, it is even harder.
To find the time to cook, youths, singles, students, partners, working families, pensioners and now a growing number of single parents are finding the simple act of eating well each week, while staying within budget, to be a real challenge. Then there is sanity. Those supermarket shelves are still screaming at us and it is difficult to stay focused. We now also have to meet these challenges while still being kind to the Earth.
So how are we going to manage all of this without compromising our lifestyles too much?

A total solution to the dinner dilemma

In this book I hope you will find, as I have, a total solution to the dinner dilemma.
Groceries take up a huge sum of our disposable income and world resources.
Table Tucker works behind the scenes to reduce the impact of these worries.
You will:

  • Find the extra time to enjoy the act of cooking.
  • Find the extra cash to ease your financial pressures.
  • Have the headspace for greater happiness, creativity and peace of mind.
  • Have more time to spend on the areas of your life that you love.
  • Reduce stress daily through better organisation.

And you can do it all while saving the world!
Table Tucker puts control back in your hands.

Eat your way to a better world

It is likely that you are already doing what you can toward helping the Earth, from taking eco bags to the shops to reducing your water usage. Table Tucker goes further by combining a number of simple core principles (See Core Principles p. 4) to achieve savings in time, money, sanity, petrol, waste, water and energy. All you need to do is use Table Tucker on a daily basis to eat your way to a better world! Pretty cool, eh?

Evolution and Table Tucker

I have evolved with Table Tucker as I am sure you will. I have changed from a convenience dinner mum to a more Earth-happy mum and conscious consumer. Now when I look at the goods in my basket or trolley I feel great about my impact on the Earth. I see fresh veggies in their jackets and much less packaging. Cooking is a pleasure because I feel great about my shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning-up habits. And, as you are soon to discover, the concept of only cooking three nights each week is blissful.

You can relax now

It is hard to believe that a little cookbook could bring such inner and outward calm. But let me assure you, TableTucker can.

“The best stories are built on
a fearless love for change.” Penina Petersen

Table Tucker


The Smart Cookbook Changing the Way You Shop, Cook, Eat and Live

Table Tucker is a revolutionary culinary manifesto written by an Aussie mum from the country who wanted to beat spiralling grocery prices and solve the eternal dilemma of what to cook for dinner. With her book, she’s made leftovers and buying groceries in bulk (and seasonally) fashionable, easy and seriously worth it. Table Tucker is the ultimate budget cookbook where the recipes and shopping lists work together to help you arrange your cooking schedule so you only have to prepare meals three times a week and then put your feet up! Slash your grocery bills with Table Tucker’s shopping lists to reduce waste and save you serious money on your household budget.

52 weeks of seasonal shopping lists, recipes & budget dinners

  • Save thousands on groceries every year
  • Save time, money and petrol by buying in bulk
  • Annual, seasonal and monthly pantries
  • Shopping lists for every season and week of the year!
  • Cook only three times each week and put your feet up
  • Amazing new quick-scan recipe format
  • Easy everyday recipes your mum would cook you
  • Uses seasonal veggies you can plant ahead of time
  • Earth-happy core principles
  • Flexible system that works for any situation
  • Meals account for lunches and leftovers too
  • Dinner served! 24/7 all year round
  • Instant inspiration anecdotes to ponder over
  • Easily delegate your shopping to others


There are lots revolutions out there pressuring us to take action. At Table Tucker we take a different view. We understand you are busy and that life leaves little time for much else. That’s why we’ve developed a holistic approach to life’s challenges. At Table Tucker all you have to do is enjoy a delicious dinner every night of the week to get big returns in time, money, sanity and good karma! The concept is simple and working for thousands of our readers!
Table Tucker is a brand new breed of smart cookbook. Our community is changing the world one meal at a time! In one lifetime a Table Tucker reader is typically gaining 5.2 years worth of days off, saving $456,300 dollars, enjoying priceless sanity, saving 21,654,360 litres of water and much more!
Collectively? Currently we don’t have a calculator big enough to document our cause! We just keep eating our delicious dinners while we take it all in..
And there’s more! We are dedicated to unleashing precious wisdom for both young, middle aged and old! We’re into love, happiness, passion, following your dreams and going on adventures.!
If you’d like to become part of something really big join us!
Ideal for students, singles, couples, single parents, working families, pensioners…well, everyone!


Wearing grungy green ugg boots she bought in New Zealand many years ago, Penina Petersen stands in the kitchen of her cosy rented house on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria’s little Mediterranean.

Cooking is furthest from her mind. Her dinners are planned out for the next year. By my estimations, tomorrow night will be ginger lime chicken and Asian veggies, Tuesday falafels, and a month on Friday she’ll be dishing up ham and mushroom penne to her husband and 4-year-old son.
Auckland-born Petersen is trying to religiously stick to the 52 weeks of menu plans and shopping lists on her culinary manifesto. She needs to know she is “on track” with her followers, that the meals she espouses are simple, colourful and delicious and, for her personal benefit, keep her saving money.
According to her calculations, if you follow her plan — cooking only three times a week and stretching out your basic grocery shop to once a month — you can save $456,300, around 21 million litres of water and earn 5.4 years of cooking days-off over a lifetime.
During the last couple of years on her Table Tucker regime, the Petersens saved enough to take their first family holiday, five days in Noosa.
Petersen’s story is not one of celebrity chef or Michelin star restaurateur offering up innovative and grandiose recipes. Gordon Ramsay would probably call her a fraud if she tried to sell herself as one. No, hers is a tale of perseverance, commonsense and self-belief; a typical mum wanting to make a difference in her family’s life and who saw a way to share it with other budget-conscious consumers.
These days who isn’t trying to save a few dollars on the supermarket shop? That’s why her publisher believes she’s onto a winner. Her originally self-published cookbook, Table Tucker, grabbed the attention of Australian homemakers last year, quickly selling out the 2500 copies she had made at her town’s local printer and sold on the internet.
When Hachette Publishing saw Petersen promoting her book on the Seven Network’s current affairs show Today Tonight last November, it scooped her up and relaunched the book, on sale in New Zealand and Australia this month under the same title.

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