A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Bookshop Superheroes: Book Larder

In appreciation of our local indies who have reinvented their processes and protocols over and over again in the service of getting the just-right book to the just-right hands, we are launching Bookshop Superheroes, a new blog series on our bookstore partners. Over the course of the winter and spring, we will feature a bookstore, and they will take over our Instagram for a day to give you the inside glimpse into a day in their store. (Not following us yet on Instagram? Check us out!)

Next up is Book Larder, who will take over our Instagram on Tuesday, March 9! Book Larder, owned by Lara Hamilton, has been Seattle’s community cookbook store in the Fremont district for ten years this coming October. Book Larderwhich stocks old, new, U.S., and imported titlesis the only cookbook-dedicated shop between San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C.!

Book Larder is also an event space with a full kitchen for touring authors to host a select number of lucky ticket holders to observe cooking techniques and attend classes. They’re offering virtual events right now—check out their calendar here.

During the pandemic, for the convenience of customers, Book Larder also has a small, choice offering of non-cookbooks, such as Untamed by Glennon Doyle, So You Want to Talk About Race and Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo.

Check out in-person shopping in their store by appointment, Wed–Sat., from 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., and assemble your must-read list first by reading about their top sellers and most anticipated cookbooks of 2021 below.

What have been some of the blessings or silver linings of this time?

Pre-COVID, we hosted lots of in-person programming like cooking classes with local restaurateurs and cooking instructors, or cookbook events with traveling chefs and authors promoting their new books. So much of what was (and continues to be) important to us was welcoming guests in person and helping them choose books that spoke to them. It made our space feel like more than just a bookstore—we were a part of cultivating community here in Seattle. During COVID, we were forced to shift all of our programming online, and have temporarily stopped our cooking classes.

We didn’t know what to expect with all of our author talks moving to a Zoom platform, especially with so many folks experiencing screen fatigue. However, a huge silver lining has been that we are able to host authors who normally wouldn’t be able to travel to Seattle. In addition to that, we’ve been able to reach and engage with food lovers across the country and the world who can attend our events and support us no matter where they are located. Plus, if for some reason you aren’t able to watch our events live, recordings are now available on our YouTube Channel.

Thankfully, customers have made the transition to shopping by appointment and online with us. It’s been a big adjustment, but we’re very grateful for the continued support in Seattle and beyond.

What have been some of your top sellers this year?

It’s been interesting to see what kinds of patterns emerged from the titles people chose to read and cook from during the pandemic as more of us were staying home and eating out less.

Some of our bestselling titles in the past year included: Drinking French, Pieometry, Snacking Cakes, Dessert Person, Hot Cheese, Falastin, New World Sourdough, 100 Cookies, Ottolenghi Flavor, Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food, & In Bibi’s Kitchen. Shout out to local authors Lauren Ko, Polina Chesnakova, and Hsiao-Ching Chou, and formerly-local Hawa Hassan and Yossy Arefi!

We’ve also been selling lots of The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who is now a Seattle resident. He graciously agreed to sign and personalize any titles purchased through us and we are lucky to have signed copies.

What books are you excited for in the coming year?

Spring and fall are typically a busy time for cookbook releases, and this year that might be the case even more so, as many authors worked on their manuscripts while stuck at home.

To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon: Hetty is a staff favorite author—her recipes are nourishing, vegetable forward and easy to follow. Her new cookbook focuses on how she strives to recreate memories of the aromas, sights, and sounds of her Chinese mother’s cooking—traditional dishes prepared in non-traditional ways. We are also hosting a virtual event with Hetty on April 8 at 5:00 p.m. PT, where she will demonstrate how to make some of her GF dumplings with Seattle local and cookbook author Aran Goyoaga.

Getaway by Renee Erickson: Renee is a friend and avid supporter of the bookstore, and one of the most influential chefs from the Pacific Northwest. Her book is a window into what chefs like to eat when they “get away.” The dreamy, simple meals featured evoke some of her favorite places in the world—Rome, Paris, Normandy, Baja California, London, and her hometown, Seattle. We are also hosting an event with her to celebrate the book launch in April—stay tuned!

Bress ‘n’ Nyam by Matthew Raiford: For anyone that watched Padma Lakshmi’s Taste the Nation and wants to take a deeper dive into the essential cuisines of American history, this is the book for you. Chef and farmer Matthew Raiford pays homage to the Gullah Geechee cuisine that nurtured his family for seven generations. Over 100 Heirloom recipes explore the food of the costal South—the Carolinas to Georgia and Florida, where descendants of enslaved Africans spoke the namesake African Creole language and came together to make extraordinary food.

Honey & Co: Chasing Smoke by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich: Book Larder owner Lara Hamilton is a massive fan of this London-based, award-winning eatery, and Sarit and Itamar are dear friends of the shop. In their new book they focus firmly on bringing fire-seasoned Middle Eastern dishes to life on the grill. They also feature fire-fueled eateries in five cities: Alexandria, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; Acre, Israel; Izmir, Turkey; and Thessaloniki, Greece.

Simply Julia by Julia Turshen: Julia is an amazing author known for her work with food-related nonprofits and is committed to expanding inclusivity in food media and speaking on issues related to food equity. Her approach to food is about love, community, connection, and nourishment of the body and soul. This book hones in on food anyone can make: nutritious takes on simple and satisfying comfort food that can be made with accessible, affordable ingredients. We are also hosting an event with Julia on March 10 at 5:00 p.m. PT.

Thank you, Book Larder!

Posted in Behind the Scenes