In 2010 Alexe van Beuren and her husband turned a historic building into a grocery store filled with hopes and dreams, glass-bottled milk, Cora’s fried pies and local produce. But failure seemed imminent until 5-star chef Dixie Grimes walked through the doors looking for a job – and within a few short months, folks were lined up out the doors to get a taste of her food.

Honey Goat Cheese Frittatas, Mississippi Catfish Gumbo, Kagan’s Dill Pickles, Southern Yellow Squash Casserole, Coulter’s Beans and Rice and Steel Magnolia Cake are just a few of the 120 recipes you’ll find here.


The book is rich not only in traditional food of the South, but also rich with stories about the people who live in the community as well as the farmers who provide much of the produce sold at the B.T.C. I read the cookbook cover-to-cover in one sitting, catching a glimpse into the lives of the people in that bucolic town, wishing they were my neighbors, wishing I could take a walk down to The B.T.C. for a slice of Peach Icebox Pie and to catch up on the news of the day.

I’m always drawn to a great story – more so when there’s an underdog; I still cry when watching Rocky or Secretariat or any of the other tug-at-your-heart-strings kind of movies – even when I know how the story ends. I want the good guy to get the girl, I am a sucker for a great love story and want star-crossed lovers to find their happy ending; I want there to be peace and harmony in the world. Clearly, I am a sap – but it’s always about the story for me.

It’s Spring here in the Midwest (finally!) and asparagus and seasonal strawberries are plentiful; this Asparagus and Strawberry Salad is light, bright, sweet and tangy meal – perfect for enjoying as a side or make it a main course with a good chunk of bread and some cheese.


  1. Thank you for the review Debra! I believe you’ve plumb (and strawberry and asparagus) sold me on the book! I love cookbooks with stories like Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. I know i’ll love this as well!

  2. This recipe clearly makes me realize that I need to get over my fear of adding strawberries to salad. Sounds like a great read; we are always toying with a Southern road trip as well, so rich with culture!

  3. This cookbook looks amazing, even just for the heart warming stories, and a small town success!
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. That sounds like my kind of cookbook, Debra, and guess who found both strawberries and asparagus at the grocery store today? I’m gonna serve this alongside some pan-fried salmon for a whole bunch of pretty colors on the plate.

    • Salmon would be perfect with this salad Stacy – those colors will be gorgeous on the table! The cookbook is filled with so many great stories – you really do get a sense of the town and you just can’t beat a great Southern recipe!

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