One of the favorite shops of The Husband and I closed its doors this month. The Cookery, a small retail outlet specializing in cuisine, cooking, specialty foods, and kitchen equipment, began life selling primarily olive oil and flavors of balsamic vinegar but shifted its focus as the public's burst of enthusiasm for quality olive oil faded and the number of olive oil specialty shops boomed.
Throughout its life, the shop and its vibrant owner and proprietor, Cary Kelly, boosted the small restaurant and retail area of Shirlington and kept it engaging and exciting. The site, which offers mixed-use residential, office, restaurant, entertainment, retail, and civic space, has always treated restaurants more gently than retailers, so a shop focusing on food and celebrating cooking struck a chord with visitors and built a following.
In addition, Cary, who became a friend, fearlessly stepped forward with her progressive politics in the shop. "A woman's place is in The House...." advised one side of a mug on sale in the shop with "....and The Senate" appearing on the other side. Biographies of progressive leaders mixed with the latest popular cookbooks and kits that promised easy ways to make basil pasta, lemon pestos, and perfectly roasted chickens. Fragrances of something lovely just cooked often filled the shop's air, and The Cookery helped us find many varied gifts over the years.
But all good things must come to an end, and coming off a very successful but stressful 2021 season, Cary decided retiring at the top of the hill was the way to go. Almost all the shop's stock and fixtures sold incredibly rapidly, so she plans to use the space as a local flea market until she turns it back over to the landlord later this Spring. With any luck, her flea market will help us dispose of our small collection of gently used kitchen appliances, too, before we go.