Alexe Van Beuren
“Be the Change” has always been the store’s motto, and that’s just what it has done. What started as a place to meet and eat is now so much more, as the grocery has become the heart of a now-bustling country town.In a small town twenty-five minutes outside of beautiful Oxford, Mississippi, there’s been a revival of food and community. Bucolic small-town Water Valley wasn’t the most logical place to start a grocery and cafe, but that’s just what Alexe van Beuren did, in a historic building that her husband had saved from demolition. The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery opened in 2010 amidst a cloud of hope and dreams, full of glass-bottled milk, local produce, and Cora’s fried pies. Trouble loomed when hope and dreams proved insufficient for the daily realities of running a small business when lo and behold, Dixie Grimes, a five-star chef, walked through the door in need of a job. Within a few months, Dixie’s food had folks lining up at the window, and the two women discovered that after all, this small town in rural Mississippi was exactly where they needed to be.
The B.T.C. quickly cemented its place as the center of town life, serving hearty breakfasts and comforting lunchtime meals, as well as selling prepared foods like casseroles, salads, and spreads to take home. With vibrant storytelling, 120 recipes, and 60 evocative full-color photographs, The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook (Clarkson Potter; March 18, 2014; $29.99; Hardcover) shares the inspiring story of how dreams can pay off in a small-town tale of food, friendship, and tradition.
Some recipes featured in The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook include:
- BREAKFAST: Skillet Biscuits, Sausage Gravy, Honey Goat Cheese Frittata with Prosciutto and Arugula
- SOUPS FOR EVERY SEASON: Spinach Artichoke Bisque, Hotty Toddy Beer Chili, White Bean Chicken Chili, Mississippi Catfish Gumbo
- SALADS: Dixie’s Famous Chicken Salad, English Pea Salad, Vetra’s Three-Bean Salad
- SPREADS AND SANDWICH FIXINGS: Tex-Mex Pimento Cheese, Sriracha Coleslaw, Ham and Horseradish Spread, Kagan’s Dill Pickles
- CASSEROLES: Southern Yellow Squash Casserole, Hoop and Havarti Macaroni, Chicken Pot Pie with Parsnips and Roasted Leeks, Oyster Casserole
- MAINS: Home-Brined Corned Beef Brisket, Honey Pecan Catfish, Crab Cakes with Dill Tartar Sauce, Coulter’s Red Beans and Rice
- SIDES: Creamed Cabbage with Sherry, Yellow Squash au Gratin, Corn Bread Dressing
- SOUTHERN SWEET THANGS: Cora Ray’s Fried Pies, Steel Magnolia Cake, Mrs. Jo’s Banana Pudding, Peach Icebox Pie
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
ALEXE VAN BEUREN is the owner of the B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery. Raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, she now lives with her husband and their two children in Water Valley, Mississippi.
DIXIE GRIMES is an Oxford, Mississippi, native who has cooked for more than two decades in many fine restaurants. She has helmed the kitchen of the B.T.C. since 2011.
Excited, yes excited! This cookbook has been a delight to browse, to cook with, and to talk about. Small town living has always been dear to my heart. Going home to Grandma's meant going home to Silverton, OR. A small town in the Pacific NW. A small town in which everyone new me because of my Grandma. A small town with a one lane road in and out. A small town where the store-owners were inviting, always ready to chat, always smiling, and always safe. Now that I am living in a small town up in the mountains, I adore everything about small town owners. Conversations are sweeter, life is slower, and community is invested.
Meeting Alexe and Dixie has been like going home for a short visit. Even though our towns are on opposite sides of our nation, we are related. Alexe's voice keeps you smiling while you browse through these scrumptious and enticing recipes. Dixie is quick witted, very frank, and doesn't add any "fluff" to her discussions or recipes.
I couldn't wait to try the sausage gravy recipe, not only is this considered "comfy" food... its "pow" to your taste buds satisfies your morning. I am looking forward to our first Fall day just because I want to try the loaded baked potato soup. Now I have always had a yummy potato soup recipe, but I have never added Tabasco sauce or heavy cream to the soup (are your taste buds talking?). When I asked my son to choose a recipe, he chose the Hotty Toddy Beer Chili... he is such an amazing "down home" cook that I have no idea why I would be surprised by this choice but this could be "what's for dinner" over our 4th of July weekend! Do you enjoy salads? You must experience the watermelon with Feta salad or what about an asparagus and strawberry delight? I have not tried any of the deserts, not because I don't like desert but because I am not good at creating deserts... so my daughter is in line for making the peach ice box pie (don't you love that title...I know what an ice box is...perfection for what you will devour).
All ingredients are easy to grow or find at any grocery, the directions are easy to follow with full color shots of how it should look (not how my recreations might look). The history of their town, their friendship, and their life as small town owners will add a "dash" of sparkle to your eyes as you serve up any of these recipes. This is not a "check-it-out" cook book, this is a must "own" and "gift it" type cook book for any one who just loves "home" cooking.
***My invite to Alexe and Dixie... I know of a small town in the west that would be thrilled for you to franchise your BTC specialities in... come on home to us... we will welcome the early morning coffee and Christian fellowship!***
Amazing read, yummy recipes, excellent discussion for book clubs!
"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."