Bookstores for Food Lovers

January 20, 2011
By Holly Jennings

This past fall I took a trip down to New York City to visit friends, have design talks with Noboru (the designer of this blog), eat some good food, and poke around the city.

The eating highlight was the pork buns at Momofuku in the East Village. They live up to their reputation. Eating them was a sacred experience—the buns call upon one to slow down and be mindful, with each bite, of their nuanced flavor and texture. (I mean it, man.) I found them—and the passion for quality that they represent—inspiring. (FYI, there is a recipe for them in David Chang’s book Momofuku.)

The poking highlight was visiting two niche bookstores devoted entirely to selling cookbooks and books on food: Kitchen Arts & Letters, located in the Upper East Side, and Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, in Greenwich Village. I’d been to Kitchen Arts & Letters, owned by Nach Waxman, but had never ventured into Bonnie Slotnick’s store. Both shops are wonderful, each having its own focus and flavor.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks (left) and Kitchen Arts & Letters (right)

Nach Waxman and Bonnie Slotnick spent a generous amount of time talking with me about their bookstores and the business of selling books. A shared theme in my conversations with both Nach and Bonnie is the important role the brick-and-mortar bookshop plays in building relationships between booksellers and shoppers, and even among shoppers—what some might call “good customer service” and “building community.” (more…)