When I started kindergarten, one of the first things I wanted to do was take an apple to my teacher, Mrs. Gabriel. Somehow I'd learned about the custom, most likely from my older cousins or in a storybook. My mother was reluctant because my teacher's family owned apple orchards and she wasn't sure Mrs. Gabriel would appreciate the gesture. I insisted, however, until I was allowed to select a big, bright, shiny red apple at the store and take it to school.

When I started kindergarten, one of the first things I wanted to do was take an apple to my teacher, Mrs. Gabriel. Somehow I'd learned about the custom, most likely from my older cousins or in a storybook. My mother was reluctant because my teacher's family owned apple orchards and she wasn't sure Mrs. Gabriel would appreciate the gesture. I insisted, however, until I was allowed to select a big, bright, shiny red apple at the store and take it to school.
The custom of giving an apple to the teacher came from the olden days when teachers often had to rely on host families for their food and lodging. Those days are gone, along with the rural schoolhouses but apples are still a seasonal favorite in the fall.
In Missouri, there are many orchards, a few here in Southwest Missouri. I always like to check the bag at the supermarket to see where my apples originated from and I'm always happy when I find Missouri apples.
It's the season for apples. I've been known to bake apple bread, muffins, strudel, and cake. I have several old-fashioned apple cake recipes I love to bake at this time of year. One is an updated version of a recipe from the Colonial Era. It's heavier and richer than the average box cake but it's delicious. So is homemade apple pie or a tasty apple strudel.  Both take time and a little extra effort to make pie crust but it's worth it for the taste. If I have less time, I have some Irish recipes for tarts and cakes.
This cake is a long-time favorite of mine so I'll share the recipe for Colonial Apple Cake:

Use flour no-stick pan spray to coat a 12 cup fluted tub pan (Bundt)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups peeled, cored,and chopped (thin) apples
PREPARATION DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-cup fluted tube pan with flour no-stick cooking spray.Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in small bowl. Set aside.Combine sugar, oil, eggs, milk and vanilla in large bowl; beat at medium speed until blended, scraping bowl constantly.Add dry ingredients. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in apples, dates and lemon peel. Pour into prepared pan.Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool slightly. Serve warm. Top with a homemade caramel icing or serve with whipped cream or
vanilla ice cream.
For a vintage recipe, it's surprising easy to prepare and delicious.
I'm sure I've mentioned the recipe in one or more of my novels. If I ever put together a cookbook, I will be sure to include it.
It's apple season and October is the ideal excuse to bake!

Lee Ann Murphy is a staff writer for the Neosho Daily News and writes a column for the paper.