Food Festival means more to Hall family than delicious food

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This weekend is going to be a big one in Natchez, and if you haven’t participated in the Natchez Food and Wine Festival you have no idea what you have been missing.

This is a chance to try new food from new chefs that you might otherwise not get a chance to enjoy. There is truly something for everyone this weekend.

Friends and I are headed to the Friday night event at the convention center where your ticket buys you a chance to sample new cuisine and different wines. These are $15 cheaper if you buy them in advance. So you still have a few days to get yours. Go to to read about the great events on Saturday and Sunday. And if you think your biscuits are better than anyone else’s you need to show up at the Martha White Biscuit Cook-off on Saturday morning.

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This weekend is special at my house for more reasons than the food festival. One year ago this weekend my daughter became engaged. In that year we, along with Parker’s family, planned a wedding weekend in Natchez for family and friends. When they got engaged I felt like I had all the time in the world to plan the wedding, and now here we are a year later with them married, moved to Dallas, with thank-you notes written and a few post-wedding things on the to-do list.

Parker and Holly are coming home this weekend and attending some of the food festivities with me. That means two things at my house.

One, Holly and I will be cooking together in the kitchen; and two, Parker will fire up the grill and cook outside.

There are still tomatoes on the plants at my house so at least once there will be a tomato and mozzarella salad. And Parker loves pancakes so one morning I know I will cook those for him. Of course the girls don’t complain either.

What will go on the grill remains to be seen as I will scour the grocery store for something new for him to cook. But there will definitely be a pound cake in the oven for dessert and nibbling on. Pound cake, this one in particular, is Holly’s favorite dessert.

This recipe is from my late mother-in-law, Joyce Hall, and is the one we love the most. When you read through the recipe you are reading correctly that it calls for you to start the cake in a cold oven and not a preheated one (hence the name).

The only change I have made to the original recipe from Joyce is I use almond flavoring instead of lemon, you should try it both ways and pick your favorite.

Joyce’s Cold Oven Pound Cake

1 cup Crisco

3 cups sugar

5 large eggs

3 cups plain flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Grease and flour a tube pan. In a small bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Cream the Crisco and sugar together and then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Then add the milk and flour mixture alternately to the sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition. Then mix in the flavorings. Pour into your pan and place in oven. Set oven for 300 degrees and bake for approximately 2 hours. Remember every oven is different and you have to watch the cake for signs of doneness.

In my last house my oven had this cake ready in 90 minutes, in this house it always takes the full 2 hours. Look for it to pull away from the sides of the pan and be a light golden brown on the top.

Christina Hall can be reached at