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Effie’s Switch House French Dressing

Aunt Effie’s Switch-House Salad Dressing (Miss Effie’s Dressing)

My Aunt Effie ran an after-hours place called The Switch, so named because it was beside the “switch” for the railroad tracks. It was a popular spot for night owls, tobacco buyers and peanut graders who were in town during the harvest season.

The Switch After Hours Steak House phoyo

The Switch After-Hours Steak House was a Jumping Place in its Day

Teeney cooked the best steaks on a cast iron wood-burning stove. Yes, all the food was cooked on a wood-burning stove. The menu was T-bone steak, baked potato and tossed salad with Effie’s famous dressing. Aunt Effie told me it was her recipe — we will never know. I do know it was good.

Sweet tart salad dressing photo

Effie’s Sweet Tart Salad Dressing is Perfect for Mixed Green Salads

Click to get Recipe for Effie’s Dressing

Best Banana Bread has a Secret Ingredient

It seems all banana breads taste the same. Well, not this banana bread.

Banana Bread has a Secret Ingredient

Author: Chloe Tuttle


  • • 1 large egg
  • • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • • ¾ cups sugar
  • • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • • 1/4 cup milk
  • • 1/2 cup mashed over-ripe banana 1 VERY RIPE banana
  • • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • • 1 dash salt
  • • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • • 1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 mini loaf pans with cooking spray with flour like Baker's Joy.
  • Whisk the egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the sugar, corn oil, vanilla, milk and stir. Stir in the mashed bananas.
  • Stir the flour into the banana mixture. Add chopped nuts.
  • In a small bowl mix the Tablespoon of flour and the blueberries until berries are coated with flour. This will keep berries from "bleeding" in the bread. Gently stir the blueberries into the bread mixture.
  • Fill loaf pans about 1/2 to 3/4 full; don't be tempted to overfill, the loaves will be ugly.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer or straw inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on rack and serve with butter or cream cheese.
  • Yield: 2 small loaves

Banana Bread Recipe has a Secret Ingredient that is a favorite of guests at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast

This Banana Bread is the Best Ever!

click to get the recipe for this Best Banana Bread

“Bless your heart” – a Southern way to say you’re fat or not quite acceptable. If you only learn ONE southern idiom, it must be “Bless your heart.”

Southern lady photo from Big Mill B&B

Sweet Southern Lady Saying, “Bless Your Heart.”

You can say anything about anybody, then say, “Bless her heart,” and it is alright. “She certainly has fleshed up – she looks like a bale of hay – bless her heart.” It is the accepted retort if someone relays some sad or unflattering news about another person. The listener will then reply, “Well, bless his heart.”

Even my transplanted Yankee friends have had to learn this one. Bless your heart gives us southerners carte blanche to say something not so nice about folks, and then be forgiven immediately.

If you don’t speak our language, you will most likely hear from the cashier at the check-out in the grocery store, “You ain’t from ’round here, are you?” And we are ALWAYS right. As soon as you open your mouth, we know you are not from around here. We do get some blank stares from folks who hail from above the Mason Dixon line.

Hurrah's Next or messy hair photo from Chloe's Blog

The Perfect Southern Word for a Mess – Hurrah’s Nest

This was something that my mother would often say. She would tell me, “Your Aunt Effie’s hair looks like a hurrah’s nest.” I moved away, I said it and folks laughed at me. Then one day I didn’t say it anymore. That is too bad. I could never find it in my dictionary – until last night. I said it to my phone, “What is a hurrah’s nest.” Eureka, I found it! It was there in Webster. It means “an untidy heap, a mess.”

There are many words and phrases that I heard when I was growing up in the south – more specifically, eastern North Carolina. I spoke these words too, until I left home. Then, almost daily, someone would look at me and say, “What did you say?” It was then that I realized not everyone used those wonderful old expressions.  Unfortunately, I removed them from my vocabulary. Now I am adding them back. Click to see more wonderful southern expressions

Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup – the BEST Ever!

This Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup-Stew is the best soup I have ever had. It is not cheap, about $30 to make or $3.75 a bowl – but it’s a meal and worth every penny. I am not a meat eater but this could persuade me.

Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup – the BEST Ever!

Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 -9 servings
Author: Chloe Tuttle


  • • 2-3 Tablespoons lard
  • • 2-3 pounds bone-in chuck roast
  • • 1 lb. oxtails
  • • 2 large cans whole tomatoes 28 oz. This is really good if you have home-canned tomatoes.
  • • 1 can beef broth 14.5 oz.
  • • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • • 2 bay leaves
  • • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley or a hand full of fresh parsley
  • • Salt and pepper to taste
  • • 1 large clove garlic mashed
  • • 6 large carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
  • • 4 medium potatoes washed and cut into chunks with skins left on
  • • 3-4 ears fresh corn cut off the cob
  • • 1 large onion diced
  • • 2 stalks celery cut into small pieces
  • • Package of small frozen Lima beans (12 or 16 oz.)


  • Melt lard in large stew pot. Add the roast and seer until it starts to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the oxtails and seer also. Remove meat from pot to cool for a few minutes.

  • Add canned tomatoes, broth, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic to the pot. Cut tomatoes into chunks with scissors or knife.

  • Cook tomatoes, broth, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic (without the meat) on medium for at least 5 minutes or until the meat cools.

  • When the meat is cool, cut the roast meat into chunks. Add meat, bones and oxtails back to the pot and cook for 20 minutes on simmer.

  • Add the vegetables to the pot: carrots, potatoes corn, onion, celery and lima beans. Cook for 30 minutes or more or until all is tender.

  • Remove all bones. Cut the meat off the oxtails and discard bones. Add meat back to the pot.l

  • Serve with toasted rustic bread.
Beef Vegetable Soup photo by Chloe Tuttle

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Photo of Chloe's signature Big Mill Bed& Breakfast, Williamston, NC 27892

Best Corn Pudding Recipe Is EASY

This is the best Corn Pudding I have ever tasted – and it is made with canned corn. If your budget is tight, this is a great dish to make, especially for those “pot-luck” dinners. It also has an amusing history — a friend Mary Anne gave me the recipe and now everyone thinks it is mine!

Creamy Corn Pudding

This Luscious Corn Pudding is so good you won't believe it is made from canned corn.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Resting Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, southern
Keyword: corn pudding recipe, southern food
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 256kcal
Author: Chloe Tuttle
Cost: $10


  • 1 15 ounce can corn, drained
  • 1 14.5 ounce can creamed corn
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepepr (Optional ground black pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted = 1/2 stick)
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x12x2 inch baking pan.
  • Mix the corn and creamed corn. Stir in the pepper, salt, melted butter, sugar and four
  • In another large mixing bowl, whisk the 4 eggs. Add milk. Add the corn mixture and stir.
  • Pour into baking dish and fill almost full.
  • Bake at least an hour and often longer until the corn pudding does not "jiggle." You can insert a spoon or knife into the center part to see if it is runny. If it is, then it needs to cook longer. Sometimes it takes 1 1/2 hours to set and be done.


This recipe was given to me by friend Mary Anne.  Take note -  this Corn Pudding is definitely not diet food.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 506mg | Potassium: 256mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 436IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg

Let me know if you try this recipe.

Chloe Signature photo

Big Mill B&B, Williamston, NC 27892  tel. 252-792-8787


I had never heard of Chicken Mull until a few years ago. And then I found out that the Chicken Mull Festival happens 8 miles from me in Bear Grass, NC, population 69.  This year, the festival is on Saturday, October 28, 2023. My friend Nancy Sparks had a great recipe for Chicken Mull, so we made it and here it is. It is really quite good!

Chicken Mull – What Is It?

Author: Chloe Tuttle


  • Several quarts water
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon cracked red pepper or to taste
  • 1 T lard
  • 1 3-4 pound chicken cut up (larger is fine too) You will need about 4 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 box of Saltine Crackers salted (you will probably use 2-3 sleeves)
  • Hot sauce for serving


  • Using a large stock pot, add several quarts of water, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and lard and bring to a boil.

  • Add cut-up chicken and enough water to cover the chicken. Return to a boil and cook for 1-2 hours or until chicken is tender and falling off the bones.

  • Remove chicken from broth and strain into a large bowl, reserving any broth.

  • After chicken has cooled, pull meat off the bones, discarding the bones and the skin. Tear chicken into shreds, using your hands. Be careful to remove all bones.

  • Strain and transfer the broth to a separate pan or bowl and wash the cooking pot to remove the chicken residue that is stuck on the sides of the pot. Add the broth back to the pot.

  • When the broth comes back to a boil, add the picked chicken to the pot and turn heat to simmer.

  • Crush 2 sleeves of saltines and slowly add to the pot. Stir and continue to simmer. The mull should not have much excess liquid. If there is liquid, add more crackers.

  • Simmer on low heat about 20 minutes or until hot and thickened, stirring often – hence the Mull moniker.

  • Hint: it is better the next day – the red pepper has a chance to be heard!

  • Yield: 6-7 two-cup servings

Click to learn the history of Chicken Mull and to see about the Festival

When you see that beautiful full moon in May – know that it is a Flower Moon. It occurs at the time in spring when flowers pop up everywhere.

photo Johnny Jump Ups Flower Moon

Pretty little Johnny-Jump-Ups

David Grann writes on page one in his book Killers of the Flower Moon, “In April, millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies in the Osage Territory of Oklahoma. There are Johnny-jump-ups and spring beauties and little bluets… In May, when coyotes howl beneath an unnervingly large moon, taller plants such as spiderworts and black-eyed Susans, begin to creep over the tinier blooms, stealing their light and water. The necks of the smaller flowers break and their petals flutter away, and before long they are buried underground. This is why the Osage Indians refer to May as the time of the flower-killing moon.”
click to read about the Flower Killing Moon in eastern North Carolina

 Who can resist a pretty flower? Some of them, you can eat!  Spring and Summer offer many edible flowers; fall has fewer, but they are beauties – and easy to grow.

Edible flower ice cube photo in beverage at Big Mill B&B

A fun thing to do with edible flowers is to freeze them in ice cube trays for drinks and punch. You can use these in any season. Here is how to do it – it’s easy as 1-2-3! Click to see how to make Edible Flower Ice Cubes – it’s EASY

Sausage Gravy – Southern Comfort Food

Sausage Gravy is a southern comfort food.  We southerners have always enjoyed good pork sausage – when I was young, we raised hogs and had hog killings. And we didn’t waste anything, not even grease, fat or lard; hence, our love of sausage gravy. This recipe was given to me by one of my long – term Big Mill B&B guests, Janell.

Sausage Gravy & Biscuit photo from Chloes Blog

Easy-to-Make Sausage Gravy

When I was young, we raised enough hogs to feed five families for the entire year. We had pork chops, corned backbone, bacon, lard, fat back, ribs, plenty of good sausage, chitlins and cracklins‘ (yes, we say it like that.)  Sausage, hams and shoulders were always hanging in the Smoke House to cure. I still have that wonderful Smoke House here on the farm. Although I especially like Sausage Gravy on cold days, we serve it all year long as a real comfort food. Click to get Chloe’s recipe for Sausage Gravy

Best Bone Broth Beef Vegetable Soup

Who says Bone Broth has to be boring? This Beef Vegetable Soup made with bones is the best I have ever tasted. The secret – BONES.

Beef Vegetable Soup photo from Chloes Blog

This soup uses bone-in chuck roast and oxtails. Another secret ingredient is lard.  Our grandmothers were right – lard is great.

Click to get Chloe’s Bone Broth Beef Vegetabl Soup Recipe