To Roast and Toast

Jacket (1)
Available at Lemuria on March 18!

01-small-town-big-appetite-grocery-0314-lgnLet’s talk about the B.T.C. old fashioned grocery in Water Valley, MS. When my husband Daniel and I lived in Water Valley right after we got married, the B.T.C. was our go-to place for fresh produce, local meat cuts, and creamy, scrumptious cheese (you delicious dill Havarti, you, I dream of you nightly). In the back of the small building is an eatery ruled over by the grand and mighty chef Dixie Grimes and is populated on any given morning with several very, very old men eating grits. Dixie teamed up with B.T.C. owner Alexe van Beuren and together they decided to chronicle the incredible recipes used daily to feed Water Valley’s hungry townspeople. (You should read about Alexe and the B.T.C. here and here)  I am SO excited about this cookbook. Excited enough that when my coworker Lisa heard that I was a little obsessed with B.T.C. and asked me to write a blog about it I not only said yes! yes! a thousand times yes! I also promised to cook from it and write about that too. This blog had humble beginnings, I promise. As most things do in my life though, it quickly spiraled into a bigger-than-intended project, which is why I now present you with this full-fledged foodie extravaganza.

Picture it in your mind: roasted pork tenderloin, roasted fennel mashed potatoes, baked fresh green beans with mushrooms, and wine, wine, wine. I chose these recipes from the cookbook because first and foremost, they looked the easiest. Look, I’m not a natural when it comes to cooking. My sweet husband started the battle early by hitting the grocery store before I got home from work and then at 7:30 it was show time. I will say that I had way too many irons in the fire, but it all turned out beautifully, despite us not owning a roasting rack. I forgot to take a picture of our poor man’s solution to the lack of roaster but suffice it to say, I will be deep cleaning my oven when I get home from work today.

The recipes were wonderfully easy to follow, which for me is super important, and they used ingredients that I didn’t have to Google to figure out what they were. I mean the Barefoot Contessa is great and all and I want her to adopt me, but usually when I read her recipes I end up thinking, “wait, what is a wheatberry?” Dixie and Alexe have mixed together the perfect combination of finesse and accessibility that can make not-so-great cooks like myself feel like they really accomplished something delicious. Next up on the list: That chicken and asparagus casserole and some of their famous fried pies. Ooh! And that roasted pear and zucchini soup. 

We had a few friends over to help us with the feast, and boy am I glad we invited them. The yield on those recipes should have read “not just you and your husband”. I decided to go all Pioneer Woman and catalog my culinary journey through photographs, so here are too many of them…

Oh wait! Before you look at the pictures, one more thing. The B.T.C. grocery in Water Valley is, in my opinion, the heartbeat of that little town. I want you guys to buy this cookbook because the recipes are amazing and it’s full of stories of Southern revival, but I also want to raise awareness about this amazing business. If you’re ever in the area, stop by, tell them I’m missing them, and pick up a fried pie and a bit of town gossip on your way out the door.

photo 1

Daniel in our matchbox kitchen. It is as small as it looks, and yes, we tripped all over each other and also the dog all night long.



photo 2

So these were the hit of the night. After everyone’s plates were clean, we basically just polished these off straight out of the casserole dish. We are so classy.


photo 3

Get in my belly potatoes! True story, I had never cooked with fennel before. It’s a giant bulb-like thing! Who knew?

photo 3

The boys! You can’t tell in this photo, but David (in the purple) has a giant, regal lynx on his shirt. I’m a big fan of that kind of thing.


photo 4

We ate excessive amounts of cheese. Shameful amounts. No apologies! YOLO!


photo 5

No meat in the history of ever photographs well, but here are the delicious pork tenderloins. Go forth! Roast the loins!


photo 5

Here’s a picture of my cat sitting in my lap like a little old man. I know this picture isn’t pertinent, but who doesn’t love a good silly cat photo?

photo 4

My view of the bounty (cheese). I feel like this picture describes the evening pretty well, because the wine was flowing all night. We even tried our hand at toasts, and by “we”, I mean I was the only one cheesiest enough to do it. I think I used the phrase “sticks closer than a brother” which was probably weird for everyone else.



Leave a Reply