Last updated: August 06. 2014 12:33AM - 960 Views
By Lucie R. Willsie Lifestyles Reporter lwillsie@civitasmedia.com

Deborah Wright has learned how to cook “just about anything” over the years. She has now been cooking for roughly 30 years, the past five at Brenda's Kountry Kitchen. She plans on staying there, cooking away as she always has been, for the foreseeable future as well.
Deborah Wright has learned how to cook “just about anything” over the years. She has now been cooking for roughly 30 years, the past five at Brenda's Kountry Kitchen. She plans on staying there, cooking away as she always has been, for the foreseeable future as well.
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Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part feature on local cook Deborah Wright.

Deborah Wright, from Copeland, has practically lived in a kitchen most of her life.

“I had six brothers and I was the only girl … Mom passed when I was 9 years old … I pretty much stayed in the kitchen after that.”

But, as luck would have it, she wasn’t alone.

She was lucky that her sister-in-law, Beatrice Wall, was there in the kitchen with her, not only to be her moral support, but also to teach her all manner of cooking and baking.

Another blessing Wright revealed was that the family also had six acres of gardens on their property. The family sold produce of all kinds to help support the family, as well as to supply their own needs.

“Green beans, pinto beans, potatoes, tomatoes,” Wright said. “I not only learned how to cook, I learned how to cook fresh … Fresh cooking tastes a lot better.”

The first recipe that Wright remembers making, however, is gravy. She really, really likes gravy.

“It was the first thing I ever was interested in learning how to make,” she said, remembering back to her childhood. “I remember seeing my sister-in-law put a bunch of stuff into a pan and it turned into gravy, like magic.”

Although she learned a lot about how to cook at home growing up, she didn’t start off as a cook when she began working. No, sirree. In fact, she started out as a cashier at Hardees, then moving onto the Mayflower restaurant, also as a cashier. And then, she learned how to cook steak at the Yhanos Restaurant. When she started working at Sue’s Restaurant in Dobson she learned how to cook breakfast for customers, not just for family.

And that’s how Wright started on her lifelong love of and expertise in cooking.

“Now I can make just about anything,” she said. “I just love to cook.”

She particularly loves to cook — and of course, eat — the recipes she has provided for this article.

“These are some of the dishes I like to eat the best,” she said.

For example, Wright first came up with her oh-so-tasty homemade chicken salad recipe about three years ago when she was trying to create a tasty cold dish to serve folks.

One customer at the Kountry Kitchen put it this way: “Wright’s homemade chicken salad stands out and is special and tasty because Wright uses bigger chunks of chicken and vegetables when she makes it.”

And her dumplings, well, Wright actually used the opposite approach. She first made the dumplings about the size of baseballs, she said, and then she cuts them down into easier to manage, bite-sized pieces to bring out the flavor throughout her chicken and dumplins.

For her chicken pot pie, one of Wright’s particular favorites, her “secret” is the use of lots of fresh veggies and a homemade crust.

It was a little difficult to come up with the actual recipes because Wright has a little different take on how she develops recipies.

”I never measure anything. I just know how it looks and feels,” she explained.

One kind of dish she did not learn — nor wanted to learn how to make — were desserts.

“I never really liked sweets,” she explained, “so I never baked much.”

But folks probably don’t know another specialty that Wright has on her list of skills.

Nope, probably wouldn’t guess it in a million years.

Last year, Wright earned a Class A CDL truck drivers license from Roadmaster Truck Driving School in Dunn. Wright actually was a professional truck driver for about six months, driving to about nine states during that time.

“When I was a youngster, I always wanted to be a truck driver,” she said, “because of the traveling.”

But after she got her chance to travel, she discovered something interesting. She missed her children — one son and two daughters — and she missed the down-home life and folks of North Carolina — so, she came back to her people and her home and settled down to spend her life working at her other love — cooking.





Spaghetti Noodles

Spaghetti noodles of your choice

Meat sauce

1 1/2 pounds of hamburger

4 Tablespoons of chili powder

1 Tablespoon of oregano

5 Tablespoons of garlic powder or 3 cloves of fresh garlic

2 teaspoons of garlic salt

4 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 cup of ketchup


1/2 pound of hamburger

1/2 pound of sausage

1 cup of bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons of garlic powder

2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning


Spaghetti Noodles

Make according to package directions.

Meat sauce

To make the meat sauce, brown the hamburger and drain. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer all for 30 minutes.


Mix all ingredients together. Roll into balls. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit until the meatballs are firm.




1 can of salmon

2 eggs

1 onion, diced

1 cup of flour


Mix all the ingredients together. Form into patties. Fry them in an oiled pan until golden brown, or about two minutes each.





1 whole chicken

1/2 gallon of milk


2 cups of flour

1 cup of buttermilk

2 Tablespoons of butter


Boil 1 whole chicken until the chicken is tender. Save the chicken broth for use in the recipe. After removing the bones, put the chicken back into the broth left in the pan after cooking the chicken. Add the milk to the broth and chicken. Bring this mixture to a boil, adding the dumplin’s. (To make the dumplin’s, first knead the butter into the flour. Then add the buttermilk until the dumplin’ dough is firm. Make individual little dumplin’ balls.) Once the mixture of chicken, broth, milk and dumplin’s comes to another boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer until the dumplin’s are done, or about 15 minutes. (Chef’s Note: DO NOT STIR THE DUMPLIN’S, or they will turn into juice. Just mash the dumplin’s.)





1 can of candied yams

1 cup of sugar

1 Tablespoon of vanilla flavoring

2 eggs

1 cup of milk


1/2 cup of flour

1 cup of brown sugar

1/2 stick of butter



Mix the yams, sugar, eggs, vanilla flavoring and milk together. Pour into a baking pan.


Mix the flour, butter and brown sugar together and sprinkle on top of the casserole ingredients in the baking pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350-degrees Fahrenheit.




A whole chicken

A medium onion, chopped

3 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning, plus more to taste

Garlic powder, to taste


Rub the Old Bay Seasoning on the outside of the chicken, to taste, along with a little garlic powder, to taste. Mix the onion, the seasoning and the garlic powder together and put into the cavity of the chicken. Put the chicken into a browning bag and bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit until the chicken is golden brown, or about 45 minutes or so.

Lucie R. Willsie can be reached at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter at LucieR.Willsie.

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