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

Bless Your Heart – and Other Southern Sayings

“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

Chicken Mull – The Forgotten Comfort Food

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 October 26, 2019. 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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

Popcorn Sutton & His Moonshine Likker

Popcorn Sutton was a short, squirrelly dude with a trashy mouth, and I can’t help but be fascinated by his persona.

Popcorn Sutton and his shop photo

READER BEWARE: Popcorn had a smart mouth and made some lewd signs depicted in the photos that he sent to me.

Click to see photos and story of Popcorn Sutton – BEWARE – some are lewd.

Pozole – Mexican Hominy Soup Recipe – Gringo Version

I just love this Pozole Recipe. Pozole is a Mexican Soup that is usually made with pork; this recipe is made with chicken. It can be made in a crock pot if you’d prefer.

Pozole – Mexican Hominy Soup - a Gringo Version

I just love this Pozole Recipe. Pozole is a Mexican Soup that is usually made with pork; this recipe is made with chicken. It can be made in a crock pot if you’d prefer.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican hominy soup, pozole recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 326kcal
Author: Chloe Tuttle

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled & crushed
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 28 oz chopped tomatoes 1 large can
  • 10 oz red enchilada sauce
  • 46.5 oz hominy, drained 3 cans
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 20 oz white meat chicken breast, drained and broken up 2 cans or use leftover chicken

Instructions

  • Sauté onion in olive oil in a large pot until onion is translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a couple minutes more.
  • Add chicken broth, chopped tomatoes with their juice, enchilada sauce, drained hominy, salt, and pepper. Simmer until hot.
  • Add chicken and cook at least 30 minutes. It is fine to simmer on the stove or in the crock pot for longer.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 1486mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 19.2mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3.2mg

Pozole Hominy Soup photo from Big Mill B&B

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Gene Eastham shared this recipe with me after he cooked it for me!

click to learn all about HOMINY

The Rich Heritage of Quilt Trails

I know you have seen them off in the distance – a bright splash of color on an old barn. These are “Barn Quilts” and they are a great tribute to our heritage and “the art of rural America.” They honor our long-gone quilters, like my mother Chloe.

Quilt Block painted on old tobacco barn at Moratock Park, WIlliamston, NC

Old Tobacco Barn at Moratock Park with “Tobacco Times” Quilt block

Quilt trails are popping up everywhere the U.S.A. and Canada. You can see them all over the mountains of North Carolina and now we have a trail here in eastern North Carolina. The first barn quilt in Martin County (part of the Tar-Roanoke River Trail) was on the Pack House barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast. We now have 12 quilts installed in our county – and more to come. Click to see all the Barn Quilts in and around Williamston, NC

Griffin’s Quick Lunch – a Mom & Pop Icon

Griffin’s Quick Lunch is an Eastern North Carolina Icon

Griffin's Quick Lunch Diner - Mom and Pop diner in eastern NC is a Mom & Pop icon in Williamston.

Griffin’s Quick Lunch – Mom and Pop Diner in Eastern NC

Griffin’s Quick Lunch, just like many Mom and Pop diners in eastern North Carolina, is a landmark. Unfortunately, we are losing many of these cafes; Williamston is lucky to still have Griffin’s.

If you go to Griffin’s, you MUST try the Banana Fritters. These were first made famous at Cobb’s Corner Restaurant; sadly, Cobb’s is gone. A relative who worked at Cobb’s gave the recipe for her Banana Fritters to her son; he later bought Griffin’s, so now they serve these sweet delights. I have the recipe, but like the recipes my mother passed down, it is just a list of ingredients. I am still trying to make this recipe work. When I do, I will post it.

Click to see specialties of the house at Griffin’s Quick Lunch…

Picking Peanuts in Eastern North Carolina

Picking peanuts reminds me of growing up in eastern North Carolina. My nephew Barney and I loved to play hide-and-seek in the peanut fields. Back then, the peanuts were dug and stacked on poles to dry. There is a certain earthy smell that is everywhere.

Peanut Stacks in eastern NC in early 1040's near Big Mill BandB

Harry Roberson leaning on his Peanut Stacks in Gold Point, NC, circa 1940 (Thanks to Hank Roberson for the use of his grandfather’s photo)

We loved to hide behind these stacks and to climb them, much to the dismay of my parents. All the children in the neighborhood joined us and we stayed out until way after dark. Sadly, the peanut stacks are gone. Click to see video of Peanuts being Picked

Okra, Corn and Tomatoes – A Southern Recipe

I love growing okra – it reminds me of late summer on the farm

With all the great summer produce, sometimes we just want to make something that takes us back to the farm and to Grandmother’s cooking. In coastal North Carolina, this recipe is an expected summer treat.

Okra, Corn and Tomatoes – A Southern Recipe

Author: Chloe Tuttle

Ingredients

  • • 1 large sweet onion or 2 small onions peeled and chopped
  • • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • • 2 cups fresh tender okra (about a double hand full)
  • • 6 large ripe tomatoes or a 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes - canned tomatoes are fine
  • • 3-4 ears of fresh mature corn
  • • 1 teaspoon sea salt or regular salt
  • • Pepper if desired
  • • ½ cup water

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan. Cook chopped onion for a few minutes until transparent, not browned.

  • While the onions are cooking, blanch the tomatoes for half a minute. Drain and cool tomatoes. Peel, remove the cores and cut into chunks, making sure that you save the juice. If using canned tomatoes, cut the tomatoes into large pieces, saving the juice.

  • Wash the okra. Cut stem ends off and cut into ½ inch round pieces.

  • Shuck corn and cut corn off the cob. Older or mature corn works best for this recipe.

  • Add the tomatoes and juice, okra, corn, salt, pepper and water to the cooked onions. Cook covered over medium to low heart for one hour or until the ingredients are all done.

  • Serve with homemade cornbread.

  • Yield: 7-8 one-cup servings

Click to read more about this Southern Recipe …

Mule Room Suite — Perfect for Long-Term Rentals

When I was growing up we had mules: Big Red, Little Red, Rock, Kit and Mary. There were other mules before my time, but I don’t remember their names.

Big Mill B+B is a Farmstead Inn, located in Williamston in Eastern North Carolina. The old mule barn has been converted into the Mule Room Suite. It's perfect for long-term guests who want all the comforts of home - including a full kitchen. See more photos and read about the newly renovated Mule Room on Chloe's Blog. | @bigmill.com

The living room in the Mule Room Suite has great views of the lakes

We have spiffed up our mule Mary’s quarters and we call her home the Mule Room Suite. Much discussion went into what to call it. A good friend wanted me to call it a shed, but on this farm sheds only have 3 sides. Click to read more about the Mule Room — past and present …