“Growing up, if you didn’t cook you had to wash dishes, so I was always in the kitchen,” remembers Hall.
Hall shared that her father did most of the cooking after she turned eight and when he began working from basically dusk until dawn, she picked up the slack.
Hall married her husband, Elmer, when she was 18 and after turning 19, they began a family of their own.
Hall admits that the family could not afford to eat out at restaurants so she would often make beans and potatoes and various soups for the family.
“Back then, you didn’t ask if everyone liked what you made,” shares Hall, “they just sat down and ate it.”
Hall says that she would learn what the children enjoyed eating and would make it often.
Over the years, they became a fan of her BBQ, tenderloin, and, of course, her soups.
Hall came from a large family and then had a large family herself.
She is a mother of six, grandmother of 21, a great-grandmother of 30 and even has four great-great grandchildren.
Hall says that although she now lives alone with a roommate, she is so used to cooking for a large family, that she when she cooks, she cooks in abundance and often freezes what she doesn’t immediately need.
If she makes fruit cakes, she’ll make eight at a time.
She often finds herself helping at the VAC, cooking and serving meals to the less fortunate.
If she isn’t volunteering there, she is in the kitchen cooking fruitcakes and banana bread for friends and family members that she visits often.
In her spare time, Hall finds herself either at church, visiting family and friends, or in the kitchen cooking or making preserves.
Today, Hall is sharing her prize-winning recipe for Apple Fruitcake and her delicious recipe for Banana Nut Bread.
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3 cups chopped, golden delicious apples
3 cups sugar
½ cup apple juice
3 large eggs
¾ cups cooking oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ lb diced candied pineapple
3 cups All-purpose Flour (White Lily)
2 tsp apple pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cups chopped pecans
¾ lb candied red cherries
¾ lb candied green cherries
Spray 3 (8x8x2 inch) loaf pans with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, and apple juice. Let stand 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add to apple mixture and mix well. Combine the flour, apple pie spice, baking soda and salt. Add to apple mixture and mix well. Fold in pecans, cherries, and pineapple. Bake at 350 degrees (if using dark pan, drop 25 degrees) for 55-65 minutes or until toothpick, inserted near center, comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
*If using 5 ¾x3x2 in loaf pans, bake only 40-45 minutes.
Can top with cherry syrup for added flavor, while cake is still hot.
Banana Nut Bread
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3-5 mashed ripe bananas (over-ripe)
½ cup nuts, pecans, or walnuts chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8x4 in or 9x5 in loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or oil lightly. Combine bananas, sugar, oil, and eggs. Mix well. Add flour, salt, baking soda and nuts. Mix well. Bake 55-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove to wire rack and cook completely.
*Hall doubles recipe to make 5-6 loaves of bread and freezes bread on special occasions.