Hannah Cordes, owner of Aspen Grove in Winthrop, loves to share her passion for cooking. During the COVID shutdown the store had to close for three months, but when Hannah opened the business back up, she was overwhelmed with gratitude for the support shown by the community.
People were cooking more at home, and Hannah had the store that scratched an itch for creativity in the kitchen and travel through food. “People have been coming in, wanting to start new things,” she said, and Hannah is happy to oblige. If she doesn’t have an item in stock, she is happy to find it and bring it to the store. “People are cooking more at home, they come in looking for a new piece of equipment,” she said. Hannah savors the new connections made with people finding comfort in something tangible, like cooking at home and experimenting with new techniques.
Aspen Grove is filled with a wide selection of specialty equipment, high-end staples, and basic necessities like excellent knives, barbecue equipment, pastry tools, table décor and linens. Tasteful displays feature items created by celebrated local artisans: pottery, glassware and woodenware. A fine selection of local wines and ciders, honey and hand-crafted soaps represent the makers of Methow Valley.
With her ever-increasing selection of cookbooks filled with storied histories of food, people can travel via their tastebuds to the countrysides of France and Italy, the bustling spice markets of the Middle East, and seaside retreats of Japan. In addition to hot-off-the-press new cookbooks, Hannah keeps the classic favorites in stock, such as “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer, “Master the art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, and “The Silver Palate” by Sheila Lukins and Julie Russo. Hannah noted that these classics are timely gifts for graduations and wedding. “I keep returning to these recipes that take me back to that time of life,” she said.
Hannah, a chef and author of cooking blog, “Blue Kale Road,” offered recommendations for some of her favorite cookbooks:
• “EAST: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing,” by Meera Sodha. “It scratches that itch for travel and new dishes. The great thing is we can get all of the ingredients locally at the Glover Street Market and Hank’s.”
• “Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food,” by Julia Turshen. “Her cookbook feels like somebody you just want to sink into, like a conversation with an old friend.”
• “The Love and Lemons Cookbook: An Apple to Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking,” by Jeanine Donofrio. “Categorized by vegetable, this is a great summer cookbook — perfect with the farmers markets.”
• “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science,” by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. “It is fun to know the science — the art — of cooking good food.”
Aspen Grove is a lovely place to spend an afternoon, savoring all the delicious items that every cook salivates to have in the kitchen.