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The Cookbook Co. Cooks store in Calgary.Handout

With stay home orders still in effect across much of the country, domestic chefs of all abilities and styles continue to be busy experimenting with new recipes, especially baking. “Bread baking has gone nuts,” says Gail Norton, co-owner of Calgary’s the Cookbook Co. Cooks. Norton and her mother opened their cookbook shop in 1984 and have seen their fair share of food trends, from truffles to sour dough, come and go over the past 36 years. “Right now, everyone’s in the Ottolenghi phase of their pantry.”

In 1996, the duo teamed up with the Metrovino wine store and Decadent Brûlée bakery, expanding their offerings beyond books to include foodstuffs, cooking accessories, an attached bottle shop and a cooking school. “There wasn’t a lot of specialty food stores in Calgary back then, but lots of interest and lots of cooking going on. We helped fill the need for all the random goodies that the cookbooks were calling for,” Norton says.

Norton takes an unplugged approach to cooking. None of the kitchen tools for sale at Cookbook Co. Cooks require a WiFi password or even electricity. “I just don’t get the same sense of attachment curling up on my chair, drinking my glass of wine with my tablet,” Norton explains of why she prefers finding recipes in books versus the internet. “It doesn’t have the same connection, and I feel that books are all about connection, not just to the recipe but to the story that the author is presenting.” These days, the culinary stories she’s gravitating toward most are those that get her dreaming of travel.

The Cookbook Co. Cooks, 722-11 Avenue SW, Calgary, 403-265-6066,


Eddington’s Banneton, $22, and Danish dough whisk, $12.


Podere Il Casale olive oil, from $33.


Calgary Eats by Gail Norton and Karen Ralph, $39.

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