Cooks of Crocus Hill is closing its Edina location. Its last day of operation will be March 18. The cookware store and cooking school opened its 50th and France location in 1999. "Retail has always been a business for the fleet of foot," said co-owner Karl Benson in a statement. "The desires and demographics of the Cooks' customer base are changing and we need to change with them."

Ten years ago, the Edina Cooks began to face tough competition when Seattle-based Sur La Table opened a store three doors to the east. Cooks also operates locations on St. Paul's Grand Avenue and in downtown Stillwater, and opened a location in Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood last summer. Cooks also partners with Kowalski's Markets in Woodbury, White Bear Lake and Shoreview. This is the second Twin Cities cookware store to close this year. Williams-Sonoma shuttered its Mall of America location in January; it opened a store in Ridgedale last August.

The big cheese is from Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Sartori Co. of Antigo won the grand champion title at last week's U.S. Championship Cheese Contest with its Black Pepper BellaVitano. It scored a near-perfect 99.018, edging out two other Wisconsin cheesemakers in the first and second runner-up slots and besting more than 2,000 entries from 33 states. Judges praised the cheese's balance of "the creamy nuttiness of the aged cheese combined with the bright and bold flavors of fresh-cracked black pepper." It can be purchased in stores or online at

Recipes for young singles

The number of cookbooks featuring meals for a single person or a beginning cook is growing. Among the more intriguing is "Meals for Me" (Quadrille, $29.95) by 25-year-old Sam Stern, a Britisher who published his first cookbook, "Cooking Up a Storm," at age 14. He's kept cooking, and has written more cookbooks, with "Meals for Me" his most ambitious, and now available in the U.S. Each of its eight chapters is based around a different ingredient, often with one night's cooking bolstering the next day's meal. He has an eye for the economics of feeding yourself, making a roast chicken last through four meals, and his simple, straightforward directions build confidence. Learn more at

In a similar vein, there's "Recipes Every College Student Should Know" by Christine Nelson (Quirk, $9.95). With its ramen-noodled cover, this compact book covers the basics of roasting a chicken, making your own salad dressings, or throwing together a no-bake cheesecake. Nelson's inspiration? Calls from her four college-aged kids; she blogs at

Now live

The website with entry info for Bombay Sapphire's mixologist competition mentioned in last week's Taste section now is live at with drink submissions taken until April 13.