Wow 30 years, hard to believe that it has been that length of time since I first knocked on the door of The Cookbook Store to apply for a sales position in 1983. I remember having a great conversation with Alison who would be the manager of the store and recall wishing them all the best as it looked like it would be a fun place to work! A few days later I got the call that I was hired as Alison's first employee ever and so began a flurry of work to get the store ready to open its doors on a cool Easter Monday in April 1983.
The store and the friends and acquaintances that I met have been a part of my life ever since and I have vivid memories from my time working in the store and then being out with my colleagues at various book, food, travel and wine inspired events.
How can I forget the time on a busy December morning, being on the phone with a customer, only to look up and see a car coming slowly and inexorably towards me through the front window. To this day Alison likes to joke she doesn't know how I jumped backwards so far and then calmly told the customer on the phone I would have to call back as we had to deal with a car in the store.
Then there was all the food when we started hosting book signings. At first we didn't keep a camera handy so unfortunately we don't have those early photos of our first signing - Rose Murray's Vegetable Cookbook or the fabulous feast that Jan and Jennifer put on when Martha Stewart came to town to promote Entertaining. Martha was lovely to chat with as this was before the whole domestic goddess / convicted felon thing and yes I still keep my autographed copy of Entertaining in my kitchen though I haven't made anything from the book in about 25 years. I am much more likely to make something from a Rose Murray cookbook as much more practical for me!
I also loved how The Cookbook Store staff would go out to restaurants with the goal to try almost everything on the menu and then pass the plates around to share. Today I am envious, as being mom to two teenaged kids with busy schedules and a member of a golf club with a food & beverage minimum to spend, this has severely cut into my restaurant hopping time, sigh. Instead I now have to live vicariously through Alison's retelling of great restaurant meals!
Through the years while my visits to the store have lessened as life keeps me busy, I still come in before Christmas to buy my fix of cook books and if I am in the area shopping I love to stop for a chat with Alison and Jennifer, and best of all Alison and I have been friends ever since she first hired me on, though she does tell me the other candidate she was considering would have likely worked out as well!
So back to my comment about my first impressions of Alison being great to talk to and The Cookbook Store being a fun place to work? As accurate today as they were 30 years ago!
Congrats Alison to you, Jennifer, Josh, Barbara and all the other great folks in the last 30 years who have made the store the great experience that it remains today.
Cookbook Store employee #2 from 1983 - 1985
Currently working in the banking community