Family Favorite Sawdust Pie – and the good folks you’ve run into


I get a little long winded in this one, y’all. Feel free to scroll down to just the recipe if you like :)

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If you’ve never had Sawdust pie before, I really do feel it could become a fast family favorite. The taste is rich and buttery, and whipped cream and sliced bananas set it off to sheer perfection. I just use store bought pie shells for mine (ain’t no shame in my game!) but you can make yours from scratch if you prefer. The pie is easy peasy to whip up with only a mixing bowl and a spoon, and bakes up in about half an hour. Put it in the oven as you sit down to dinner and then let it bake for about half an hour before serving warm with the bananas and whipped cream. Mmmmm.

Whats even better is that the day you make this pie is the perfect day to make another one of my very favorite things to eat: Grandmama’s Fruit Salad. You see, the sawdust pie calls for seven egg whites whereas Grandmama’s Fruit Salad calls for six egg yolks. Now if that ain’t a sign that they oughta be made at the same time I don’t know what is! I could eat that fruit salad all day long. Fortunately for me, you can make it with Splenda!

This pie is one of my mother’s all time favorites and a must have whenever we visit Paducah, Kentucky. Have you never been to Paducah? Well goodness, gracious, what are you waiting for? This small town comes alive each April when quilting enthusiasts from all over the world (yes, world!) descend to take part in the American Quilting Society’s annual show. Vendors set up from every fabric line imaginable and sewing notions and such are in more abundance than you could ever dream possible. You have to book a hotel room a full year in advance and many residents go out of town just to be able to rent their homes out for the event.

Mama and I usually drive up with Sue (her best friend and who we refer to as “Aunt Sue” because she’s been in the family long enough to have earned the title!) and spend the weekend spending all of our saved fabric money to purchase enough to usually do us for most of the year, through extensive quilting projects.

~sighs~ I miss Quilting. I used to be an avid quilter but these days just can’t seem to find the time. I gave up my sewing room in the old house when Katy Rose was born and packed everything away. Now that we have space for a new sewing room, I just can’t seem to find the time anymore. I still consider myself a quilter though, my blood runs patchwork with errant threads spread throughout!

There is a restaurant in Paducah called Patti’s that is one of Mama’s favorite places in the world to eat. They have the thickest pork chops you’ve ever seen and serve huge helpings of Sawdust pie topped with whipped cream and bananas for dessert. I think Mama goes there just for the pie! She was so excited to find the recipe years ago so that she could make it on her own but I know she still loves the treat of going to Patti’s.

While I enjoy Patti’s, my favorite part of the trip is when we venture downtown. They have the neatest little coffee shop there and I love their grape salad (the recipe for which I plan on bringing you eventually, of course). I also love going into this little antique shop and seeing if anything “speaks” to me. I read years ago in a book that you should only buy artwork that makes you happy to see it and that has become my philosophy on antique shopping. It has to make me happy, either by silently reaching out to me (you know what I mean) or by bringing back a memory from my own or my mother’s childhood. Whenever I buy anything, I prefer to find something with a little meaning to it if the option is there, even when it comes to my everyday dishes. If I can spend ten dollars and get something new at Wal Mart, I’d just as soon spend ten dollars and get something with a history to it at an antique shop or flea market. These are just little everyday links to the past, a reminder of a simpler time.

I made a big purchase this past weekend and as far as an item having a history and soul to it, I feel like I hit paydirt. Now, I’m feeling a little chatty today after having taken a week off so I hope you’ll bear with me. Sit down and get comfy, we might be here a while. Eventually, I’ll even get to the pie this post is supposed to be about!

It’s no secret that I love my kitchen. Here at Bountiful, it is my absolute favorite room in the house, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the family would agree that its theirs as well. I love, love, love to cook (wow, another big secret revealed, huh?) and as soon as we moved here I started plotting my dream kitchen island to complete the workspace. For months now I’ve had a six foot folding table up, using it as a makeshift island while I shopped online, daydreamed, and hoped to someday have the ideal fit for Bountiful’s kitchen.

Everything I saw was either far too expensive for me to even consider or just seemed too “new” – it didn’t have a soul to it. I wanted something with a history of sorts, something solid and well made by someone who put their heart into it. The easy thing to do would have been to get a contractor to come build one but woweeee, I sooo could not afford that!

Well, a few months back I went to the Nashville Flea Market with my friend, Lara. She and I were walking around and happened upon a man who made furniture. It was there that I spied the most gorgeous kitchen island I have ever seen. It was absolutely perfect. I didn’t have the money for an island then, though, so I just looked there a few minutes and moved on, not wanting to make myself heartsick over it.

Now that I knew what I wanted, I could start saving. So, two months later, as I had a little bit of a showing in my kitchen island savings, I asked Mama to go back to the Nashville Flea Market with me to talk to the man about my island. He and his wife were some of the nicest folks you could meet I talked to him a bit about exactly what I was going to be using the island for and what I’d need, asking if he could do a few things differently. He said he’d custom make mine, no problem, and deliver it to the flea market the next month. I didn’t order it then, though, because I didn’t quite have all of the money I needed even though he said it would be fine to pay him the next month. Instead, I took his card and went home and started counting my pennies.

Two weeks later, I called him to officially order my island. He asked all kinds of questions to make sure it was customized to my kitchen and needs. Bless his heart, he even sat through my talking all about my Pyrex bowl collection and how I wanted to display them.

Then came the part of the conversation I was dreading. I had saved up enough to meet the original price quoted but had just asked for a few modifications and pretty much let this man know that his island was my heart’s desire. My ship was kinda sunk when I asked “Can you tell me about how much this is gonna run?”

“How much did I tell you at the flea market?”

Oh great, here we go. My daddy is the king of wheeling and dealing and after watching him most of my life, I realize I’ve just made a supreme mistake. He knows how bad I want this and is about to take me to the cleaners.

I told him the price he quoted me and his immediate reply was “Oh no, Ma’am, this one will be a lot cheaper than that.”


I said “Really? Now that’s something you don’t hear every day!”

And he went on to tell me how he always did the right thing by people and he’d make sure he took care of me. Wow.

Over the course of the next month he called me a few times to make sure he was making my island to my specifications. One call focused on the space in my kitchen, how long I wanted the island to be. Another focused on width and the exact type of doors I wanted and then he even called to see how wide my biggest pyrex bowl was, because I had told him I planned on using the front of the cabinet for displaying them, but the back to hold baking items. I had planned on just keeping the baking items out of sight by having them closer to the back but when I told him what I planned on doing, he added a wall in the center, making sure to leave enough space for my largest bowls to still fit in the front.

He called me last week to let me know that my island was ready and to give me the final price, which did end up being lower than the one I had originally saw – even after all of that customization.

I went to the bank and got the money out for him, putting a little extra in the envelope to help cover all of the phone calls . My brother and sister in law, Stacey, went to pick it up for me because it was so big they had to drive my daddy’s truck to get it.

I asked Stacey if she’d explained what the extra money was for to the man and she shook her head and said “He didn’t even open the envelope to count it.”

Now if that doesn’t make you shake your head and smile at the good folks in the world, nothing will. I now have a custom piece of furniture made better than any I could have ever hoped for by a man of integrity who took pride in his work and the fact that he always does right by the folks who buy his creations. To make matters even better I can tell my kids and grandkids that not only was it made just for me, but it came all the way from Paris, too…Paris, Tennessee, that is.

Sometimes we lose sight of all of the wonderful people doing business in our world today and their acts of kindness and “doing-the-right-thingedness”, even though I feel pretty confident that we’ve all encountered these great folks (and I know all of y’all are among them!).

I’d love to hear your stories of encounters with some of these good folks in the comments section below.

It would be a great addition to our season.

~squeals~ Oooh! Can I show you pictures now?

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My island from the front. He put in a wall in the center so that I can use the front for display and put baking ingredients in the back. He even called to see how big my largest bowl was to make sure there was plenty of room.

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I chose a rich, barn red and then he distressed it a bit for a more farmhouse feel. Much of the wood and doors used in his furniture are reclaimed wood.

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This is the back with my other set of doors.

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I just grabbed some things to put in for the pic to show you how nice it is inside.

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The top is so beautiful!!

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And look how thick it is! The corners are rounded very nicely, too…

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Now that I’m done telling you how proud I am to have this island, I reckon we oughta get to cooking something we can set on it!

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Wow, have I got a cornucopia of ingredients here or what?

Great Value brand whipped topping, Kroger brand coconut, name brand, name brand, and then my beloved local eggs. My product selection usually revolves around “Where is the sale this week?”.

I have a few brand loyalties but very few, although if I’ve had an opportunity to work directly with a company and see that it is family oriented and genuinely cares about their consumers, I buy their products whenever I can. I’ve always had great experiences with Kraft Foods, in all of their divisions, and if you live inthe South I have to tell you that the folks who run Moon Pie and Milo’s (a very popular fast food chain that most of us know for the gallons of tea they sell in all local grocery stores), are about the finest people you’d ever hope to meet. I just love good people, don’t you? It’s always heartening to run into them, especially in the business world where it seems so many companies and folks are getting more cutthroat by the day. Whenever I am fortunate enough come into contact with one of the good folks who has their head glued on straight, its just another assurance of what a wonderful world we all really live in, populated primarily by good old folks.

Don’t worry over graham cracker crumbs if you have graham crackers on hand, just put some in a plastic bag and crush them yourself and they’ll be fine. Likewise with the pecans, which the original recipe called for. Goodness, have you looked at the price of pecans lately? I have a tendency to leave nuts out of anything I can but this time of year I try to splurge and buy them. Still, walnuts are half the price and so that’s what I’ve been baking with. Since this recipe is pretty sacred to Mama, I called her to ask how she would feel about eating it with walnuts versus pecans and she was pretty dern happy that I was planning on sending her some, with full blessings on the substitution.

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I separated my eggs and placed just the whites in a bowl, saving the yolks to use in the sauce for my fruit salad.

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Add walnuts or pecans. As I said, recipe called for pecans but cheapie me went for Walnuts instead.

Here at Bountiful, I was delighted to find not one, but TWO huge pecan trees! This year they just didn’t want to yield for me though, I reckon they need time to get to know me a little better :). I’ve bought them some nice fertilizer and have been talking real sweet about all of the yummy things I’ll bake should they decide to ante up next go ’round.

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Add in coconut.

Mama usually gets her coconut in a can on the baking aisle and I usually get mine in a bag on the same aisle. Either works. Get the sweetened kind, it’s yummy! I found it on sale recently for a dollar a bag and picked up a few to freeze for more holiday baking.

We use an awful lot of coconut during the holidays down south!

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Add sugar.

~sings~ Sugar… Aww, honey, honey! You are my candy girrrrrrl!!!

Come on, you know you wanna sing with me. ~grins~

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Add in graham cracker crumbs.

I went to two different places looking for these things and they were out at the first place (or else I wasn’t looking in the right place, Kroger’s seems to be the most oddly arranged grocery store I’ve ever been in) and at the other place I just plum forgot them! So I went to the pantry resigned to just crush up some crackers rather than  go out of my way to make a trip and lo and behold, a brand spanking new box sitting right there!

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Mix all of that up good with a spoon.

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and spoon it into an unbaked pie shell. I used deep dish but Mama says she always uses regular.

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Bake at 325 for about thirty minutes, or until it looks done all over the top.

It will look kind of like a pecan pie with a thick coating of streusel on it.

Cut slices while warm and add a dollop of whipped cream and some slices of bananas.

Trust me, this pie is delicious but the bananas and whipped cream just MAKE it!

I used store bought whipped topping but if you’d like my recipe and instructions on how to make it from scratch (which is even better), just click here.

Family Favorite Sawdust Pie
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1 ½ C Sugar
  • 1 ½ C Graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 ½ C Pecans (or walnuts - can omit nuts if needed)
  • 1 ½ C Sweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 9" unbaked pie shell
  1. Mix all ingredients together and stir by hand. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven until set, about 25-30 minutes. Do not over bake. Serve warm with sliced bananas and whipped cream.


With the holidays in full swing I wanted to let y’all know that I have a TON of homemade gift ideas on Southern Plate, starring homemade mixes because they are my very favorite thing to give. When you give a homemade mix to someone, you are not only giving them a gift that will taste wonderful from your heart, but you are also giving them a convenient block of family time, either when they make it together or when they sit down to enjoy the final product. I posted several gift mixes and homemade ideas last year along with inexpensive packaging ideas and here are those for you to browse through now if you’d like. All of the mixes for last year include printable tags as well. I’ll be bringing you more as well so stay tuned!



To keep posted on more links to Christmas candies and baked goods, join our Facebook Family!

Life is good, and if you let it, it gets even better.

~Me. To submit your quote, please click here. Lots of inspiring ones to read, too!


Kick off the season with the Southern Plate family by telling us some stories about good folks you’ve run into and how they showed you kindness or helped strengthen your faith in the world around us.

Do you have a story from your childhood of a good hearted person who made a difference? Have you met someone lately who showed you a kindness or perhaps the cashier at your favorite grocery store just always manages to make your day a little brighter with their smile.

Please share with all of us in the comments section.

It’s a wonderful world filled with some awfully good people, I look forward to hearing your stories!


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  1. Kathy Burrows says

    Hi Christy. I just love your new island. The color is wonderful. Don’t you just love the Nasville Fleamarket??? I love shopping for primitives for our home! We remodeled our kitchen and did our cabinets a rustic red over black-love them!
    I have tried several of your recipes-they all turned out great and are keepers, especially the taco soup!! Looking forward to your new book. Have you decided where your book signing will be? Sure hope I haven’t missed it. Love ya, Kathy

  2. Katy says

    WOW!!!!!! I love you kitchen island. It is beautiful. If I were picking one out, it would look just like that :). I appreciate the story about the gentleman who made it also. It is wonderful when we meet good and honest people. It kind of restores our faith in the human population.

  3. jane says

    Christy, one thought came to me as I read this today. It says a lot about that gentleman that he thought about making rounded corners on your island. That’s granpa thinking for you, he didn’t want them babies to bump their heads or mama to back into a sharp corner.
    One time I remember in particular, about 20 years ago i guess. I had just lost my home, my husband, and was starting over with 4 kids in a singlewide trailer and an old beater of a car. I was not getting any help from anyone, I and my oldest daughter caught the flu right before Christmas. We made presents for each other, there was just no money. They remember that Christmas more than any. But one evening when things were especially tight, God sent some angels in the form of two truckloads of volunteer firemen with groceries and presents. And an area church showed up with new coats and shoes for the kids.
    We are living proof of the provision of the hand of God and the hearts of good people. I will never forget that as long as I live.

  4. Karena says

    Seriously Ya’ll….. this pie was to die for!!! Especially with the bananas. Made it for my family and my inlaws and got rave reviews…lots of oooh’s and aaah’s. The best part was that it was so incredibly easy to make. Thank you!!

  5. Marina says

    I HAVE THAT SAME GREEN BOWL visible thru the glass doors – second shelf – second from the left. That must have been a popular bowl in it’s day because my fiance’s Mother gave one to his sister I spotted during a visit. My Mother passed her’s on to me. I love that bowl. BUT I love your island even more. I loved the barn/distressed look. So homey.
    Love your site and recipes. Reading your stories is like revisiting my aunts/uncles in North Carolina as a kid. The kitchen was always bustling.
    Keep up the great work!

  6. Donna says

    Christy, While you are correct about Paducah hosting the Quilt show every April, Patti’s is in Grand Rivers ,KY about a 30 -40 minute drive from Paducah. They do have awesome Pork Chops .Next time try Bill’s Boatsinker Pie ( fudge pie w/coffee ice cream ,whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a cherry) . To die for. Patti’s 1880’s is a great place for the whole family .They have plenty of gift shops,mini golf,remote control boats,several animals and they also host weddings.They also have a fantastic Christmas light display.

    • says

      If you knew how bad I was with directions, I promise you’d give me five gold stars for being close ~grins~! Its where we go whenever we go to Paducah, so that is where my mind is.
      Thanks for the menu suggestions! I haven’t gotten to go to Paducah in a while and hope to slide through there soon!

    • Rhonda Singleton says

      I had the delight of eating at Pattis when my family was there for a Bass tourney with my hubby….YUMMY sums it up! I had the Kentucky Hot Brown and it was pure deliciousness on a plate. What a great place and great atmosphere, would recommend to anyone!

  7. Rhonda Singleton says

    Also, Christy, forgot to mention that my family has been to Paris, TN visiting some friends we met through the Bassmasters message board. The Fishtale Lodge hosted our family for a weekend so my 6 yr old son (9 now) who is a St Jude patient and wanted to go fishing could enjoy a weekend free from the hospital. Everyone we met in that town was absolutely wonderful, so I’m sure the “kitchen island man” ranks right up there with the rest of them. If I could move there, I would!

  8. Susan Hatcher says

    This pie looks so good…can’t wait to try it. Can I please ask the name of the person who did your island. I just love it and am wondering if he has a website with some of his other work on it. I’m looking for someone to make some bookshelves for me with glass doors. Please let me know how to contact him if possible.

  9. Kim says

    The sawdust pie recipe sounds great. A must try! Also, I live about 20 minutes away from Paris, Tennessee and am proud to hear the wonderful story about your island. Isn’t it wonderul to meet and know some really great people in this world?! God is so good! I too would like to have his name/phone number. I have a little girl that needs a really great toy box for Christmas. :)

  10. says

    Hi Christy,
    Love your island. I was blessed with a wonderful husband who could create the most wonderful things. He was like the man in Paris and always wanted to treat people right. He has passed on, but I still have lots of wonderful pieces that he made and am still living in the house he built for us. By the way, I live around 20 miles from Paris near the Tennessee River. Since you’re from Mississippi, we’re almost neighbors. Keep up the good work.

  11. Melanie says

    I made this for Thanksgiving and when everyone heard the name they kinda turned up their noses a bit. But when I guilted them into trying it…they loved it of course. This is so easy and absolutely delicious!!!! It will definately become part of our holiday traditions.

  12. Deb from LA says

    I love the Island, LOVE the pie, and have some advice about the pecan trees…
    I know that you wrote this in late 2009, and hope you were pleased with the pecan harvest in 2010, but don’t be disappointed in 2011 if it wanes again.
    I grew up in a pecan orchard, on a large farm. The pecans were incidental income, since they only bear GOOD harvests every two years. The trees have to rest for a year to make that wonderful treat they share with us…

  13. Kimberley in AL via KY says

    I was wondering something… Is there any way this pie would work out measurement/bake-time-wise if another kind of nut replaced the coconut? I have people in the family who are allergic to the coconut, but that pie looks and sounds so good. I know it would change things like taste and possibly just become a whole different pie, but I just wondered about that.
    Thank you!

  14. Elaine says

    Boy you struck a chord today! Patti’s and pork chops, oh my !! My car will not allow me to pass the exit as I speed up 24 :) I’ve been in Nashville 5 yrs and never made it to the flea market apparently I need to make more effort, your island is wonderful and how heart warming to find such a sweet person to build it for you, that makes it even more special. E

  15. says

    Wow, Christy! You are speaking to my heart today. A Nashville native who now lives in Kentucky, I have been to Patti’s and used to frequent the Nashville Flea Market until I moved up here. It’s always nice to read about familiar places : )

    Your island is absolutely beautiful!

  16. Fran says

    I love your island SO MUCH and hope to have something similar after my next move. My grandmother had the tulip bowls shown on the left side of your island. I’ve been looking for a set for years! The Sawdust Pie is absolutely delicious but I renamed it “Walnut Coconut Pie” for its first outing at my house. Let them love it before I tell them its real name! =^..^=

  17. Michelle says

    OK…. so first and foremost… the island is BEAUTIFUL! My husband is going to build one for our kitchen, and this is VERY similar to what I am wanting… NOW… THE PIE…. Oh myyyyy LORRRDDDD…. LOL! Made it for dessert tonight, and husband says its a keeper!!! YUMMY YUMMY and so very EASY to make!!! Love your site… Thanks for sharing!

  18. says

    I have the four bowl set of tulip bowls. Small one has a lid. I so treasure them. They were my Mother’s and have been part of my life for ALL of my life and I am 57 years old. I saw the small lidded one on your stove in one of your posts. I am now trying to collect the pyrex bowls. Have 2 mixing bowls and 4 small casseroles and 1 loafpan.

  19. says

    Oh yes. I am for sure going to make this sawdust pie. Just found your site over the weekend and have already made your cold brewed coffee and made french toast from extra hamburger buns. Have them tucked away in the freezer. You are awesome.

  20. Jessica says

    Well I had this recipe book marked, and I just actually read the story behind the pie..and I was shocked to see the words “Paducah, KY”. No one, unless they do quilt even knows what a “Paducah” is, much less that it’s a place, not a thing, in Kentucky. My husband is from Paducah- and we go back as often as we can to visit his grandparents who are still there. But never has he ever taken me to Patti’s. We’re planning a trip back at the end of this month, and I will make sure we stop in!! Oh- and if you haven’t yet- which I’m sure you have, because you’ve got your awesome Pyrex collection- Jeremiah’s is an AMAZING place to go to looking for Pyrex. It’s where I got most of my pieces from! Plus they just have an amazing assortment of items in that store.

  21. Lanay Hebert says

    Hi Christy, this looks amazing and I plan on trying to make it. Im really commenting to let you know how much I enjoy reading the way you write the instructions for cooking the recipes and how everytime I read your daughter Katy Roses’ name, I remember when she was so excited that it would be Wednesday in the morning. I just love that story. Have a good day.

  22. says

    Christy, I am sure I have seen the picture of your island before, but somehow or other it just struck me today! This man is a genius with wood! I would love to have one myself, but I’m pretty sure I can’t get that far to pick it up, even if I could afford one! Anyhow, thanks for showing it.

  23. Kaye says

    I love the island. It is beautiful. I totally agree with you about your comment on Kroger. They have their items in some of the strangest places. I have always said a man decided where to put them because a woman would know where items went.

  24. Samantha Hall says

    Hey, Christy! I live about 30 minutes from Paris TN and about 45 minutes from Grand Rivers where you ate the sawdust pie at Patti’s! I’m curious as to who built your beautiful island!!!!

  25. Judith Baer says

    Hi Ms Jordan,
    I enjoy reading all your stories and adventures leading up to your recipes always bring a smile to my face.
    You should really think about writing books. They have so many cooking mysteries I feel you could do well. I would buy them for sure while I drink my coffee and eating sawdust pie.

  26. Diane says

    Oh, my! I must have been living in a cave for several years as I have just recently tripped over this website. In particular it was the sawdust pie that brought me in…so glad it did. Now, I have a lot reading and cooking to catch up on!!! I just spent a couple of hours reading through the index…especially looking for the “grape salad” you referred to in this posting…the one from the “neatest little coffee shop” in downtown Paducah. Is it hidden in one of the posts or not? I can’t find it.

    Thanks for the great recipes. This Texas girl loves cooking…like my Mama did!


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