Book Larder, a new bookstore at 4252 Fremont Ave., will be the city's first cookbook store. Inspired by similar stores in London, San Francisco, and Vancouver, the Book Larder will host cooking demos, cooking classes, and authors visiting Seattle with new cookbooks. The store is slated to open the second week of October, and the grand opening will be packed with events featuring local authors.
The store is the longtime dream of owner Lara Hamilton and the late Kim Ricketts. Hamilton started working for Kim Ricketts Book Events last year, and has since become the owner of the company. The bookstore is a new venture, but the popular "Cooks & Books" author series has been bringing chefs and cookbook authors to Seattle for years. Hamilton is looking forward to having a space where she can bring cooks, readers, and eaters together in a space of her own.
We chatted recently with Hamilton as she unpacked the latest shipment of books and put the final coats of paint at the new space.
Tell us about the inspiration and idea behind the Book Larder.
I got seriously into cookbooks a few years ago, and had visited place like Books for Cooks in London. I thought Seattle would be a great location for a store like that given our city's love of both books and food. When I started working with Kim Ricketts on Cooks & Books events last fall, we realized it was a dream we shared and started brainstorming how we might make it happen. I hope she'd be proud of how it's turning out.
How many titles will you have on hand at opening?
We'll have a range of new, collectible, and imported titles. I don't know exactly where the count is at currently, but it's somewhere around 3,000.
Which of your cookbooks is most well-worn (aka the one you use most)?
Over time, I've used Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone more than any other. My husband and I got it as a wedding gift, and it was my "gateway cookbook," because of its comprehensive reference, foolproof recipes, and of course because of her voice. Lately I'm getting a lot of use from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty and Nigel Slater's Tender.
What are some upcoming cookbook titles you are looking forward to?
We just got an advance copy of Momofuku Milk Bar (stay tuned for new about an upcoming event with author Christina Tosi) and I'm really enjoying it. The technique is so detailed and the flavors are truly over-the-top. I'm also eager to see Jacques Pepin's Essential Pepin--over 600 recipes from one of the great chefs of our time. And of course Ferran Adria's Family Meal. I can't wait to see what the staff at El Bulli eats!
What's your desert-island cookbook?--assuming you will have a pantry full of ingredients on that island . . .
It would have to be Darina Allen's Forgotten Skills of Cooking, because you can learn how to do pretty much anything with that book! I'd be able to garden, butcher, cook, and even make some home remedies if I got sick. Darina would have me covered.
Sign up for the Kim Ricketts Book Events newsletter and be the the first to hear about what's planned for the Book Larder and other local cookbook events.