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The joy of cooking 

Lucinda Serven developed her passion for the culinary arts early on, making homemade jam in her grandma's kitchen. A grandmother herself now, she's still making jams - and pies and soups and holiday treats - but she's moved out of the kitchen and into the pantry with a new business that aims to bring out the food enthusiast in all of us.

Nestled inside the recently renovated Old Carriage House in downtown Paso Robles, Lucinda's Pantry celebrates the finer foods in life with a wide selection of top-quality spices, oils, condiments, specialty mixes and, of course, those homemade jams. Pretty much everything you need to ensure that your pantry is well stocked and ready to enhance your every cooking experience - and all of it opened, ready to be put to your own scrutinizing taste test. You'll find Dean & Deluca's world famous spices, locally made food items by Cahoots and Marie Bella, and a variety of gourmet kitchen utensils and accessories. The only thing missing is recipes for making something out of all these tasty items.

Oh wait - there are recipes. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of them. Lucinda says she had so many cookbooks at home that she decided to bring them to the store to share with her customers. How great is that? You can pick out a cookbook, sit in the courtyard (did we mention there's a courtyard?), enjoy a cup of coffee with a slice of delicious cheesecake (did we mention there's fresh, homemade food?), and plan your next meal surrounded by mouthwatering inspiration. Add a glass of wine from the Wine Attic next door and you'll be running home, ready to do your best Julia Childs impression.

"I want it to be like, 'Come into my home'," says Lucinda, who has created a French country-inspired environment complete with local art on the walls so cozy you might never want to leave. Like a good hostess, she'll be on hand to offer tips and sound advice to cooks of all skill levels and plans are in the works to offer cooking classes in the near future.

When she talks about her store, Lucinda's enthusiasm bubbles over like a hot blueberry cobbler. "Food is life," she practically sings. "Eating is fantastic. Cooking is awesome!" Come on in and catch her buzz.

Lucinda's Pantry is located at 1307 Park St. in Paso Robles. For more info call 237 0220 or go to




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New Times Contributor Alice Moss compiled this week's Strokes and Plugs. Get to business and e-mail her at [email protected].

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