Sur la Table has produced its first in a series of cookbooks, "Things Cooks Love: Implements, Ingredients and Recipes." Two other books will be published this fall.

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Sur la Table began its march into culinary history in 1972, when founder Shirley Collins opened her small store at the Pike Place Market. Every nook and cranny was filled with the cooking tools we never knew we needed until we put them to use in our own kitchens.

Although Collins sold the company in 1995 to a group of private investors, including the Behnke family and Freeman Spogli, her heritage of quality and customer service has continued to influence it.

Now, 36 years after the original shop opened its doors, Sur la Table, which includes 67 stores nationwide, has produced its first in a series of cookbooks, “Things Cooks Love: Implements, Ingredients and Recipes” by Sur la Table with Marie Simmons ($35, Andrews McMeel Publishing). Two other books, “The Art & Soul of Baking” and “A Cook’s Guide to Knives,” will be published this fall.

“Things Cooks Love” begins with an extensive list of kitchen basics divided into four subcategories: cookware, knives, tools and small appliances. It’s a go-to guide for everything from cast-iron skillets to balloon whisks.

One section highlights the pots, pans and cookers that can be placed in the oven and on the stove. So, for instance, a short essay on clay cookers provides tips for using the pots as well as their care and cleaning, and accompanying recipes inspire further experimentations.

Kathy Tierney, chief executive officer of Sur la Table, said the concept for the cookbook series began over three years ago. “When I first started here, I was struck by the passion and knowledge of cooking inside of the company.” A series of cookbooks seemed like the logical next step in promoting the company’s brand, which has always been to educate and inspire customers about the art of cooking. Indeed, it’s the curiosity of the stores’ patrons that drives the desire to seek out the best in cookware and kitchen tools.

The book’s third section, “The Well-Stocked Global Kitchen,” is a response to the desire of world travelers looking for more information on multicultural cuisines. So, whether your culinary spirit is captured by the couscoussières or glazed terra-cotta tagines of Morocco, or the classic, domed cataplanas of Iberia, readers will find a passion for discovery to equal their own.

The writing and recipe-testing for “Things Cooks Love” was a yearlong “labor of love,” said Tierney. Marie Simmons, an award-winning cookbook writer and columnist living in California, was a natural fit to spearhead the project, having taught in Sur la Table’s cooking-class program. The recipes are easy to follow, plus tips and serving suggestions offer further guidance. Gorgeous color photographs by Ben Fink add their own distinctive style to the book.

Tierney said the goal is to publish two to three cookbooks a year. But she stresses that each will happen only if the company’s mission of education and quality is fulfilled.

CeCe Sullivan: csullivan@seattletimes.com