Heirloom Recipe Series with Katherine Strate.

I am so happy to have Twitter friend, and now real life friend, Katherine Strate here with us for this week’s Heirloom Recipe Series! Katherine attending the fine University of Georgia and had a popular blog in school appropriately coined “Dawg Food” so she is no stranger to food, blogs, or lovely historic towns. Having similar foodie-like callings, we became fast friends and enjoyed a rustic meal over at my hometown favorite, as you well know by now, Bakeshop.  I love sharing this delicious and special recipe below from Katherine this week, as we just had a conversation in our own family over the holidays about Chess Pie so the timing was impeccable!  Do enjoy Katherine, and her grandmothers beautiful recipe.

Heirloom Recipe Series with Katherine Strate.

The first pie my grandmother ever taught me to make was Chess Pie.

Gooey, delicious, and made with the ingredients even a basic cook would have in her pantry, this is the perfect, unique pie to take to a friend’s house—and not come home with leftovers.

I remember first being introduced to the pie one summer when I wanted to make some extra money by selling baked goods. Addie suggested I make Chess Pie because it’s easy and a guaranteed favorite. At the time, I didn’t remember having eaten Chess Pie before, but I remember taking a bite of the pie we made together in the kitchen of the house where my dad grew up. It was warm, soft, sweet and so decadent I thought, “there has to be a secret ingredient.”

Turns out, my secret ingredient was Addie. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned about some sugar and spice in her life that have molded her into the strong, stoic, poised, loving woman she is today.

One of the most defining ingredients of my grandmother’s life is her experience as a student at Ward-Belmont Girls School and later at Vanderbilt University. In the 1940s, it was rare for women to go to college, especially a girl from the country. Addie attended Ward-Belmont (to which she still travels for reunions with her schoolmates) and then graduated from Vanderbilt with a business degree.

I guess I always took her education for granted until a friend said to me, “Katherine. Do you know how unique your grandmother is? Women in the 40s got home-ec. degrees, not business. Addie is amazing.”

And she is. That woman can do everything. She later helped my grandfather start the family insurance business, keeping the books and being the general office manager.

But she never let her cooking and entertaining skills get rusty. If there’s anything Addie is known for, it’s her knack for hostessing and making guests and company feel like they are at home. She’s “one of those” cooks that just needs the ingredients to a recipe, or nothing else. Sometimes, I’ve asked her for a specific recipe, and she just sends me the ingredients. I then have to call her and say, “OK, Addie. I have my grocery list, but what do I do with the ingredients once I have them?” I hope to be as good a cook as her one day…and as good a hostess.

Just this past Labor Day, Addie had our extended family (about 16 people) over for brunch. When I stopped by her house the Friday before, she already had the table set three days in advance. Granted, she moves a little slower these days, but the table was set with her good silver and a cute centerpiece she created. How amazing is she?

Without fail, everything Addie cooks is incredible, which is why I was so surprised Chess Pie is easy to make. To be honest, you do have to watch and make sure you don’t cook the egg yolks too fast, “otherwise you’ll have egg yolk pie,” as Addie says. But you just have to pay attention.

Here’s her recipe I wrote on a recipe card, and placed it on the apron she made for me (kind of my own version of IceMilk Aprons).


Addie’s Chess Pie


3 eggs

1 ½ c. sugar

1 stick butter

1 T. vinegar

1 t. vanilla


Beat eggs well (very, very important!). Add sugar. Chop up butter into mixture. Add vinegar and vanilla. Place in double boiler and allow butter to melt stirring constantly.

Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes, then increase oven to 350 and bake 25 minutes longer.

I hope you’ll try making Chess Pie. My secret ingredient is my grandmother, but maybe you have a different one. I’d love to hear how it turns out.


Be sure to connect with Katherine on Twitter at { @KatLady }


Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

I’m an old soul based in Atlanta, GA and mom of 3 with a deep love of all things from the past with a story to tell, on a mission to keep heirlooms around for another generation - whether it be a tradition, splattered family recipe, or historic home.

Join our Newsletter

Join our Newsletter

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Leave a Comment