Pruitt cooks up Southern comfort

Published 11:35 am Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chug Pruitt with her famous caramel cake.

Editor’s Note: All this week will be featuring local businesswomen as part of our “Women in Business” special section. The print edition is available at The Demopolis Times office at 315 E. Jefferson St.

The Mustard Seed has been in Demopolis since 1976, and has been a popular place for people to go in town since it opened.

In March, owner Suzanne Young, hired someone who is also famous in Demopolis — Ms. Chug Pruitt has been working in the kitchen at the Mustard Seed with her daughter, Ola Ross, and family friend, Louise Miller.

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The three of them create some of the best-known dishes in Demopolis.

Ms. Chug’s most famous recipe is her caramel cake. She can hardly make enough to keep them on the shelves before they are bought.

“That’s everyone’s favorite,” she said.

Along with her cakes, she also makes classic Southern favorites such as casseroles, chicken salad, chicken pot pies, pimento cheese and many other things that people in Demopolis have grown to know and love.

“We make the things that people love to eat,” she said. “If something isn’t selling, we stop making it and try something else. We like to try making new things, and sometimes it sells and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Ms. Chug, now 81-years-old, was offered the job by Young in March, and she has been more than pleased with her hire.

“I have no words for what she means to the business. Ms. Chug is everything to the Mustard Seed,” she said. “People trust the food because they know it’ll be good. She is a legend around here.”

Young said that Ms. Chug meets all of the criteria she was looking for when she hired her.

“I wanted someone who was hard-working, a team player and had a positive attitude,” she said, “and that is Ms. Chug. She is all of that.”

Ms. Chug said she loves working at the Mustard Seed and having the opportunity to work at my age.

“When I was offered the job, I felt kind of bad because there are so many young people out of work,” she said, “but I wanted to live up to my reputation, and it has been good for me to get out of the house and make a little extra money.”

She also said she enjoys working for Young because, even though she is all business, she still loves to have fun.

“It is a great workplace with a fun environment,” she said.

“Everybody leaves their troubles at home and everyone is always pleasant to be around.”