Last updated: July 29. 2014 5:59PM - 741 Views
By Lucie R. Willsie Lifestyle Reporter lwillsie@civitasmedia.com

Deborah Wright has been cooking at Brenda's Kountry Kitchen for five years, but she has been cooking for her family since around the age of 9.
Deborah Wright has been cooking at Brenda's Kountry Kitchen for five years, but she has been cooking for her family since around the age of 9.
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It was brazen and bold.

It was confident and assured.

It was accurate and precise.

That’s how it started.

That’s how Deborah Wright starting cooking at Brenda’s Kountry Kitchen five years ago.

“She’s an excellent cook,” said Brenda Ramsey. But five years ago, she didn’t know anything about Wright.

All Ramsey knew is that she was down a cook at her restaurant and she needed one immediately.

As fate would have it, that’s exactly when Wright walked into the Kountry Kitchen — and, believe it or not — asked Ramsey if she was looking to hire.

“Yes, I am,” Ramsey answered. And, without missing a beat, next asked, “Can you make chicken and dumplings?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Wright said, “Absolutely!”

“Fine,” Ramsey said, an intuitive shrewd judge of character she, she described herself. “You can start tomorrow — and make some chicken and dumplings,” she said.

“Perfect,” Wright answered, with a big ole smile on her face — and a feeling of relief in her heart.

It seemed to the pair that it was meant to be for Wright to walk into the restaurant just at the moment, and for Ramsey to need a cook at the same time.

And so the story goes. The pair have been serving up all manner of homecooked meals ever since, along with the rest of the cooking and serving staff at the restaurant.

There’s one little bit of information only Wright knew at that initial, fateful meeting.

You see, Wright had never made chicken and dumplings before in her life. But she wasn’t phased by the question, or that she had to prove it the very next day. Wright was confident and, although she had never made a chicken and dumpling dish in her life, she said she knew she could do it.

And she did. The very next day at the Kountry Kitchen. And Wright has been making chicken and dumplings, homemade cole slaw, cornbread muffins, and much more over the years to the delight of both Ramsey and her many customers.

And why was she so confident?

Well, by the time she and Ramsey first met, Wright had been cooking for about 30 years or so, since she was 9 and her mom died. She was the only girl in a family of six brothers and a dad. So, the task of cooking for the family, providing meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — fell to here.

She wasn’t left to fend completely by herself. She did have a sister-in-law around to teach her a lot about cooking, and Wright took it all in as much and as fast as she could.

Wright also found out that she not only had a talent for cooking, she really, really loved to cook.

Over the years, Wright has perfected some of her homegrown, everyday family recipes, some of her favorites of which are included here.

(But if you want Wright’s chicken and dumpling recipe, you’ll have to read next week’s Part Two of Wright’s story and get more of her homemade recipes.)


Homemade Chicken Salad

By Deborah Wright


1 boiled chicken

1 large onion, diced

1 cup of mayonnaise

Salt and pepper


Take the chicken off the bone; shred the chicken. Mix the chicken with the diced onion and mayonnaise. Put in a dash of salt and pepper to taste.

Homemade Cole Slaw

By Deborah Wright


1 cabbage, chopped

1 cup of mayonnaise

4 Tablespoons of vinegar

1/2 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper


Combine all ingredients together.

Chicken Pot Pie

By Deborah Wright


Chicken Mixture

1 boiled whole chicken, off bone, shredded

Mixed vegetables

1 can of cream of chicken soup

6 to 8 potatoes, peeled and diced


1 cup of flour

1 egg

Buttermilk, enough to firm up dough.


Chicken Mixture

Mix the off-the-bone chicken, vegetables, soup and potatoes together.


Mix the flour, the egg, and the buttermilk (just enough to firm up the dough) together. Roll the dough out thin and cover the top of the baking dish containing the chicken mixture. Bake around 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Cornbread Muffins

By Deborah Wright


3 cups of corn meal

1 cup of flour

4 eggs

1 stick of margarine

1/2 gallon of buttermilk


Mix all ingredients together. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit until brown, or about 30 to 40 minutes.

Oven Roast

By Deborah Wright


Rump Roast, small

1 can of golden mushroom soup

1 Tablespoon of garlic salt

4 potatoes, quartered

1 medium onion, quartered



Peel the potatoes and onions and quarter. Sprinkle garlic salt on the roast. Put potatoes and onions around the roast in a baking pan. Pour the soup on top of the roast. Fill the soup can with water and pour the water over the roast. Bake all for 1 hour at 350-degrees Fahrenheit.

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

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