Tom Harte

Host - Caffé Concerto

Tom Harte is a retired faculty member from Southeast Missouri State University where he was an award-winning teacher, a nationally recognized debate coach, and chair of the department of Speech Communication and Theatre.

A founder of “My Daddy’s Cheesecake,” a bakery/café in Cape Girardeau, a  food columnist for The Southeast Missourian, and a cookbook author, he blends his passion for food with his passion for classical music in his daily program, The Caffe Concerto.

An inveterate traveler as well as a connoisseur of food and classical music, Tom has been to the five major continents and sailed the seven seas in search of great music and great cuisine, delicacies which he enjoys most when consumed simultaneously.  He also hosts A Harte Appetite.

Ways to Connect

Hail to the Chef

Jan 15, 2018
flickr user Matt Wade (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode)

Gesturing toward the White House, a senator once facetiously asked Calvin Coolidge, "Who lives there?" Coolidge replied, "No one. They just come and go."

Though Coolidge was correct that occupants of the White House are only temporary tenants, their impact is often felt long after they move out. And perhaps nowhere is this more the case than with dining and entertaining. Each first family has left its own culinary imprint on the country and the executive mansion.

flickr user Boston Public Library (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

Ever been in a sticky situation? We all have. But probably none as sticky as the Great Molasses Flood, sometimes called the Molasses Massacre, which hit Boston in 1919.

The tragedy occurred when over 2 million gallons of molasses stored in a 50-foot tall tank at the Purity Distilling Company burst forth, when the temperature rose from below zero one day to 40 degrees the next.

A wall of molasses estimated to be as high as 30 feet swept down Boston's Atlantic Avenue at the rate of 25-35 miles per hour, engulfing everything in its path.

Red Velvet Cake

Jan 1, 2018
flickr user Dan Costin (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

The non-violent overthrow of Czechoslovakia's communist government in 1999 was called the Velvet Revolution; growing up in St. Louis, the preferred ice cream of my youth was called Velvet Freeze; and the late crooner Mel Torme was called the Velvet Fog (or to those who weren't fans, the Velvet Frog.)

But to me the most deserving object of the designation "velvet" is red velvet cake -- a rich relative of devil's food cake only with a distinctive red color and frosted with white icing for contrast.

Good Luck for New Years

Dec 25, 2017
flickr user William Cho (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

Every culture feeds on the belief that eating certain dishes on New Years Day brings good fortune. Perhaps the Chinese have the most New Years food rituals. They take two weeks to ring in the new year and during that time literally everything eaten is considered auspicious.

Having first domesticated the pig the Chinese consider pork to be a lucky food but they are hardly alone in that. The pig is a symbol of good fortune around the world. Perhaps because a family who owns one is guaranteed to eat well.

flickr user Amanda Slater (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode)

On Christmas Eve not even mice will be stirring, stockings will be carefully hung by chimneys, and children will be snugly nestled in their beds. Moreover, dancing in their heads will be visions of sugar plums.

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