Seattle Foodies, Meet The Book Larder

Fremont’s culinary-themed bookstore opens its doors — just in time for the holidays.

What do you get when you mix cooks and books? The Book Larder – a combined bookstore and kitchen where cookbooks, classes, and chefs can be found. Since this is the time of year when cookbooks are released, The Book Larder is the perfect spot to grab the latest in culinary publishing for your holiday shopping list.

“The vision was that it would be someplace for people to gather, engage with the books, and stay awhile,” says owner Lara Hamilton. “I lived in London for awhile, and there was this place there called ‘Books for Cooks’ – I thought it was a cool idea for Seattle, because we’re a great city for something like that.”

Hamilton began to work with Kim Ricketts, manager of Kim Ricketts’ Cooks & Books Events. The Book Larder was an idea that Ricketts and Hamilton shared, and ultimately planned together. When Ricketts was diagnosed with terminal multiple myeloma and primary amyloidosis, she sold her company to Hamilton and told her to go ahead with their dream.

“The groundwork she laid for this was huge,” Hamilton said. “She gave me the go ahead, gave ideas … she actually found this location while driving by one day!”

Hamilton says the experience of losing her friend and colleague in April 2011, after watching her struggle with the disease, served as an inspiration to live life to the fullest. “[The experience] was the impetus for opening the store so soon,” she said. “I recognized that life is short, and we have to live it now.”

The result? The Book Larder opened on Fremont Avenue last month. “[The store is a place to] wander around, look at some well-known cookbooks and authors, and some books that are out of print or harder to find,” Hamilton says. “The books are all ones that either I’ve cooked from, another colleague has cooked from, or someone we know has cooked from. There’s stuff for Northwest cooks, seasonal meals or local authors, in addition to some classics. We want the books to focus on real cooking.”

Open and fresh, the store is flanked by white bookcases that are filled with culinary books and recipes. “We want it to be the kind of place that people think of fondly,” says Hamilton. “We don’t bother anyone, and we encourage them to stay as long as they like, sit at the counter and browse, and if you sit there long enough, someone may offer you a cup of tea.”

Not only does the Book Larder sell books, the store is equipped with a kitchen for classes, chef demonstrations and the Cooks & Books events. “It’s a way to bring those recipes to life for people,” Hamilton said.

“Right now we’re very author-driven with the events, since it’s that time of year when everything is coming out,” Hamilton said. “December will be more about classes and demonstrations, with anywhere from 10 to 24 people in a class.”

For your holiday gift list, Hamilton recommends the following as some of the best cookbooks for a Seattleite’s kitchen:

The Book Larder  |  4252 Fremont Ave. N, Fremont  |  (206) 397-4271