COOK OF THE WEEK: Booneville family splurges when it comes to Sunday dinner

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – When Jenny Eldridge married Darryl Hatfield 26 years ago, she had some mighty big shoes to fill.
“My husband grew up on a farm and my mother-in-law cooked three big meals a day,” said Hatfield, 44, of Booneville. “So, right away I took up cooking. My grandmother and my mother-in-law both gave me a lot of helpful tips, but I really don’t cook like either one of them. I like to take a recipe and put my twist on it.”
The Hatfields are both very health conscious, so she doesn’t deep-fry anything, and she tries to keep meals as light as possible.
Except when Sunday rolls around.
“Sunday dinner is a big event,” she said. “We splurge on Sundays. Now that our kids are older, we don’t always have them at the table during the week, but they’re always here on Sundays. And we have my in-laws over and my grandparents come sometimes.” (Hatfield’s father is deceased and her mother doesn’t live in the area.)
Sunday dinner might be oven-fried chicken and gravy, green beans or steamed vegetables, corn, pan-fried okra, mashed potatoes and yeast rolls. Or she might make a roast with carrots and potatoes, a vegetable casserole, green salad and yeast rolls.
“I like to do a pound cake for these meals where I can use fresh fruit with it or I make a cobbler,” she said. “I try to keep it light since the rest of the dinner is so heavy.”

Church lady stays busy
Hatfield, who works for Dr. Craig Cleveland in Booneville, also stays busy at Gaston Baptist Church.
“I teach fifth and sixth grades in Sunday school and I sing in the choir and I work with teenage young ladies called Acteens,” she said.
A lot of the recipes she uses to feed her family and her friends at church come from her extensive cookbook collection.
“I can sit down with a good recipe book like other people do novels,” she said. “I like the ones I get – I call them tried and true cookbooks – that come from churches where the little ladies share their recipes. I like to feed people. As often as I can, I enjoy having people over to eat.”

Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or e-mail them to

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