Hunter’s cooking reflects upbringing

Hunter’s cooking reflects upbringing


Darlene Hunter grew up in a lively household with eight siblings, where cooking was a family affair guided by her mother, Betty Moore. 

Many memories were made in their kitchen, where squabbles often began over who got to lick the bowl clean after Moore finished baking cakes or sweet potato pies.

“She always made sure there was food for us to eat,” Hunter said. “She cooked so much and never used a recipe. She always knew how to measure her food without a measuring spoon. Everything was seasoned well.”

Hunter’s cooking reflects her upbringing, with chicken and dumplings, passed down from her mother and homemade fried apple pies topping her list of favorite dishes that she shares with family and friends. 

“As long as I’m cooking food, my family is alright,” Hunter said with a laugh. “They love my chicken and dumplings, greens, apple pies, and strawberry cream cheese pies.”

While Hunter’s apple and strawberry pies hold a special place in her heart, her culinary talents extend beyond desserts.

“Whatever I feel like I want to cook or want to try that’s what I do,” she said.

Family gatherings and holidays for Hunter and her family are marked by an abundance of homemade dishes, including hamburger casserole, cream cheese pies, greens, barbecue chicken, rolls, homemade ice cream, and more.

Married to E.J. Hunter, she is blessed with three children, Kaski, Derek, and Bria, along with five grandchildren, Kahlil, Brelan, Kenadee, Amari, and Nylah. 

Hunter said she finds joy beyond the kitchen as a career coach at Philadelphia High School, guiding seniors through the transition to college or the workforce. 

Her dedication to education also shines through her 18-year tenure at the Pearl River Head Start Center and her active involvement at Goodway Missionary Baptist Church, where she serves over the youth group and lends her voice in the choir.

Hunter’s kitchen essentials include her trusty spatula, mixer, measuring cup, chopper, and casserole dishes, and her advice to aspiring cooks is to use your own judgment and experiment with different seasonings and flavors. 

“Sometimes you can put more than one seasoning or add more to it,” she said. “You have your own taste of how you want your food to taste.”

For Hunter, the true joy of cooking lies in sitting down at the dinner table and sharing meals with loved ones.

“As long as my family is happy on eating, everything is fine with me,” she said.


1 large pk. boneless chicken breast

3 cups self-rising flour

Garlic salt

Black pepper

1 stick butter

1 ½ cup milk

In a large saucepan, boil chicken breast until done. Add garlic salt as you cook it. Add butter and pepper also. When chicken is done, cook slowly on low heat while making the dumplings. 

In a large bowl, mix flour, butter, and milk to make dough batter. Form into ball and dust counter with flour to roll dough. 

Using a rolling pin roll dough thin and cut using pizza cutter to make rectangular strips. Then cut the strips again to make small squares. Take dough and add the chicken and cook until dough is done. Turn off dumplings and serve.


6 large red potatoes

1 lb. ground beef

2 large onions

2 cans cream of mushroom

2 cups of whole milk

1 lb. of shredded cheese



Wash and slice potato in medium saucepan, broil potatoes until almost done. While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef in skillet and then drain. Pour ground beef into casserole dish and layer potatoes over it.

Once potato is layered, slice onions thin and layer on top of potatoes. In a bowl, pour your cream of mushroom and milk and stir together. 

Once mixed, pour on top of the onions. Add shredded cheese on top and place in oven for 45 minutes. Now you are ready to serve.


5 large apples, peeled, cored, & sliced (Granny Red Apples)

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups White Lily self-rising flour

1 cup whole milk

2 sticks butter

Crisco oil

In medium saucepan, combine apples, sugar, ½ stick butter and vanilla extract. Cook until tender, stirring consistently to prevent from sticking or burning. After cooked, cool.

In large bowl, combine flour and 3 tbs. of butter. Using fork mix butter and flour together. Pour in whole milk to form dough, add little at a time to bind flour together. After dough is formed, make into a ball. Sprinkle counter with flour and use rolling pin and roll thin. Use bottom of your sifter and press on dough to make circles. 

Preheat oil and butter in iron skillet. Place apple mixture in center of circle dough. Overlap the dough and use fork to and press around edges to seal. Fry pies in skillet, flip on each side until brown. Place on tray and ready to serve. 


1 Philadelphia cream cheese

1 large container Cool Whip 

Powdered sugar

2 graham cracker crust

1 strawberry pie filling 

Fresh strawberries

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Soften cream cheese at room temperature. In large bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Once mixed, fold in Cool Whip and add vanilla extract.

Pour into graham cracker crust. Slice fresh strawberries and mix with strawberry pie filling. Spread on top of mixture and cover with lid. Chill in refrigerator for 3-6 hours. For better results, make overnight. 

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