Flipping through Alexe van Beuren’s B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook is like wandering down the friendliest small-town Main Street in the country. Hailing from Mississippi, the book is a love letter to small-town life and the food that goes along with it. The stories and recipes are vibrant, jumping right off the page. Van Beuren founded the grocery to fulfill a need for the town, but it was the establishment’s addition of a lunch counter that led to the genesis of the recipes collected in the book. The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook tells the tale of both businesses in a charming and honest way. The foundation of the book and the moral of van Beuren’s stories always lead back to a willing and supportive community coming together around plates of delicious food.
That brings us to the most-important part of the book: the food. The magical spell a good Southern dish casts over the senses is laced throughout each recipe. The book starts off with a bit of town history and a welcome to the store, then covers breakfast, seasonal soups, salads, spreads and sandwich fixings, casseroles, mains, sides and “Southern sweet thangs.”