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Few things excite us more than the delicious combination of shopping and gastronomy, which is why today's opening of Farm & Fable in the South End might be the only checkpoint on our holiday wishlist. Owner Abby Ruettgers introduces her dual concept of a vintage cookbook store with a chef-grade basement kitchen in an environment that celebrates nostalgia and accessibility. A lifetime of collecting—books, furniture, bric-à-brac—and a passion for food drove Ruettgers to develop the rustic, worn-in shop aesthetic and agenda for engaging cooking demonstrations.
Upstairs, custom shelving displays books (both old and new) cover-out rather than spine-out, offering up a visual feast citing various moments in culinary history from as early as the 1800s through the 1970s. Ruettgers says she is drawn toward mid-century modern, evidenced in the variety of vintage barware on sale throughout the store. In contrast, the newer merchandise veers toward contemporary heirlooms: US-made wooden rolling pins and cutting boards from Lostine in Pennsylvania, 3mm copper pots made in Rhode Island, waxed cotton aprons from Brooklyn-based Birdcage, and oyster plates from the Maine studio of RISD alum Alison Evans.
Shoppers can peruse a selection of wallet-happy items too, including food-themed cards from Rifle Paper Co. and 1Canoe2, as well as hand-stamped towels bearing the vocabulary of beer and herbal teas. For just $10 a piece, Short Stack short-format, single-topic cookbooks are available, serving as great stocking stuffers and a fun kitchen adventure. If you're seeking a truly entertaining read, simply identify the "weird bookshelf," featuring a Richard Simmons cookbook, a guide to "microwave parties," and a lovers manual to Cooking in the Nude. Coupled with the impressive, always changing vintage collection are new cookbooks as well, including The Art of Simple Food, Anything That Moves, The Drunken Botanist, and titles from Boston chefs.
And speaking of chefs, don't forget the demo kitchen down below. Farm & Fable will host cooking classes led by Boston's best in its subway tile, stainless-steel adorned space with a welcoming table smack dab in the middle. Once the shop's website officially launches, you can register for upcoming lessons online and browse the full inventory from afar.
· Farm & Fable [Official Site]