Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cookbook Review: The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook

The B. T. C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook
Alexe Van Beuren with recipes by Dixie Grimes
Clarkson Potter, New York: 2014.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I have me some Southern heritage. I may not cook up a mess o' greens with Southern cornbread every week, but boy, do those start my mouth a'waterin.' And a big pan o' okry? Bring it on.

I come by this heritage through a few different Southern venues. One of them is East Texas (yes, it's true! Those Dallas residents might give their loyalty to Texas first and foremost, but they will also tell you they are Southern--BIG Southern, as in everything in Texas is bigger and better). The other half of my family is from Mississippi and Memphis. Where in Mississippi, you may ask? One small town by the name of Water Valley.

Well, when I saw this cookbook up for review and read that it is from an old-fashioned grocery store IN Water Valley, MS, I had to request it for review! Southern cooking from that particular town had to be tasty. The subtitle hooked me completely: "Recipes and Stories from a Southern Revival." Bring it, sister.

Appearance of cookbook: perfect. Pictures have a nice, vintage feel. Recipes are laid out well with a nice introduction/story. Organization is intriguing (a whole chapter for Casseroles and one for Spreads and Sandwich Fixings! That second one means pimiento cheese to us Southerners.). There are stories and anecdotes sprinkled in, and they are great fun to read.

But appearance and organization aside, the big question for a cookbook is: "are the recipes any good?" In other words, Do they taste good? Are they doable for the home cook? (These are the kinds of things *I* want to know, at least.) I'm afraid, for me, the answer is "not so much." Oh, they're doable. There aren't many hard-to-find ingredients, and the processes are straightforward. Some recipes are a touch gourmet for my everyday standards ("Wild Mushroom Quiche"). I try to sample at least 3 recipes from a cookbook from different parts of the cookbook. We had the "Sriracha Coleslaw" and the "Roasted Green Beans with Sweet Peppers." I haven't tried any others yet because my dietary perspective just can't get over the quantity of butter/cream/mayonnaise and similar ingredients--and I'm a Southerner! I'm sure the "Chocolate Gravy" divine, but I just couldn't bring myself to use two cups of cream in it. The "Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Apple" is on my list to try this week, however, and it does indeed look delicious. I'll be reporting back. The first two recipes we tried were a touch salty or sweet for our tastes, so I may hold back when making the soup.

For now, though, this cookbook has been more of a browse-through-and-enjoy-reading cookbook as opposed to a "get-dirty-on-the-counter-from-constant-use" cookbook. If you have friends who are true Southerners, they will enjoy reading through this cookbook--and cooking some of the recipes, no doubt! If you are on dietary restrictions of some kind, this is probably not the cookbook for you. But for special occasions when we want to indulge, I'll be checking out "Honey Goat Cheese Frittata with Prosciutto and Arugula" or the "Chicken 'n' Dumplings."

For more information, check out these resources:
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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