“This is my ‘Resistance’ section,” says Cary Kelly, smiling. The owner of The Cookery, a shop dedicated to home cooks, discerning eaters and those who buy gifts for them, points to the first display in the store. It’s filled with books, like Julia Turshen’s Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved, whose proceeds go to the ACLU; with totes, like the one emblazoned with “Smash the garlic and the patriarchy” by Amy Larson, who contributes a portion of sales to Planned Parenthood; and candles, like the one from Malicious Women Candle Co. with the flavor Feminist AF, infused with equality (it actually smells of oakmoss and amber).
Kelly wears the silvery mane of Miranda Priestly, the Meryl Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada, but her vibe leans friendly and edgier, especially when her olive branch tattoo is visible.
Launched as Ah Love Oil & Vinegar in 2011, the Shirlington shop still carries private label oils and vinegars , plus some of her other favorites, including the Tunisian brand 1938, a blend of chetoui and chemlali olives, she recommends for everyday cooking.
Since the closing of Old Town’s La Cuisine—which Kelly calls a great loss for the local food community—she started bringing in high-end cookware: Staub Dutch ovens (she prefers this to rival Le Creuset), hand-forged Smithey Ironware cast iron skillets (with a smooth, copper-colored interior) and de Buyer aluminum non-stick pans (multiple firings turn this into long-lasting equipment). The price tag is certainly higher for these items, but these are buy-once, don’t-replace keepsakes that Kelly says improve cooking. “Better cooking results will make you love cooking more,” says Kelly.
The store packs a lot in: wooden spoons, Le Cadeaux bowls, Japanese aprons, Element shrubs, Modern Bar Cart’s Embitterment bitters, barware, She Peppers hot sauces, natural cleaning supplies and beauty products, whisks, spatulas, Chile Crunch chili oil condiment, food-themed greeting cards and Goverre adult sippy cups—a silicon sleeve wrapped around a glass cup with a spill-proof slide lid. “To drink wine on your yacht,” jokes Kelly. // 4017 Campbell Ave., Arlington; cookeryshops.com