Cookbook store profile - featuring Book Larder in Seattle

Recently we began to offer an EYB feature highlighting independent cookbook stores. Now you can discover (or get reacquainted with) a store near your home - or plan a new target destination when you travel.

And to make this as strong a feature as we can, we're asking our members to help us. We already know of many great stores, which we keep an ongoing list of (you can view them here), but we'd love to learn about more - especially those treasured by our members. So please share the names of independent cookbook stores that you know, love, admire, or are just plain crazy about. Add a comment to this posting, or email us at info@eatyourbooks.com with the name, address, and owner (if you know it). We'll do the rest.

Book Larder in Seattle

Book Larder is a community cookbook store in Seattle's North Fremont neighborhood that features a carefully curated selection of new, vintage, collectible, and imported cookbooks. In addition to the dazzling cookbook collection, Book Larder offers cooking classes, author signings and demos, and other events featuring celebrated authors and chefs like Ferran Adria, David Lebovitz, Ruth Reichl, and many more. (You can view upcoming events on the store's website.) Store owner Lara Hamilton sat down with EYB to chat about how Book Larder creates a sense of community for its customers.

Two cookbook stores have closed down recently - The Cookbook Store in Toronto and Salt and Pepper Books in Maryland. How does The Book Larder stay competitive in the current trading environment, where online stores offer low prices and free home delivery?

From the beginning, my goal was to provide a unique experience for customers, something that they can't find online. We offer a very carefully curated selection of books, and with our author talks and cooking classes, we give customers a way to connect with the books in a way that they value. Seattle is also a really great food town and book town, so (so far) that combination has created a great environment for Book Larder.

Why do the customers in your store prefer to come to Book Larder rather than stores such as Barnes & Noble or online shopping?

Besides having a staff who loves books and can help people make decisions, I hope we offer them a sense of community that they can't find online or in a big box store.

Do you specialize in any particular areas of cookbooks?

We have an abundance of wonderful authors in this part of the country, so we do our best to bring a healthy selection of their books into the shop. And I've long been a fan of British cookbooks, so we import those as well.

What are the big sellers at Book Larder?

Like many shops, anything Ottolenghi. Vegetable books generally do very well-we have lots of wonderful farmer's markets here and Seattle is a big gardening town, so customers are always interested in finding new and delicious things to do with what's in season.

What type of books do you like to cook from yourself? Do you have a favorite cookbook of all time?

I have a family with a busy schedule of its own, so I gravitate towards books that help me get delicious food on the table quickly. This year I've cooked quite a bit from Nigel Slater's Eat, Laura Russell's Brassicas, and Carla Kelly's One Pan, Two Plates. All-time favorites are so hard to narrow down, but they definitely include Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, as it was my "gateway" cookbook.

What events to you have at the store in the next couple of months?

So many! I'm extremely grateful that the publishers continue to support author tours. We'll host David Lebovitz at the end of April, and Ruth Reichl, Deborah Madison, and Bryant Terry in May, to name just a few.

Photos by Rebecca Sullivan

1 Comment

  • boardingace  on  4/25/2014 at 7:12 PM

    As always, I love this series :) I found it interesting that people in Seattle are particularly interested in vegetable books. I've also been thinking about vegetable recipes, because most cookbooks give you many many many more recipes for main courses and desserts, followed by side dishes (non-veg), and finally vegetable dishes. So if you eat a vegetable every night, you might soon cook through all of those recipes and might want more vegetable dishes sooner than other types of dishes, even though it's not something one might "crave" or seek out on a more emotional level. Like dessert recipes :)

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