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

California Strawberries

Feb 19, 2018
flickr user Neil Conway (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

I like to visit Southern California in February...escaping Missouri's winter weather. But good weather isn't the only advantage attendant to being in California. I think the biggest advantage may be that the strawberry season there begins in January and is practically year-round.

Flickr user Charlotta Wasteson (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. It's a truth worth contemplating, especially around Valentine's Day. After all, the genius of love and the genius of hunger are the two driving forces behind all living things.

Biblically, as the London Independent remarked, "Food and sex have been bedfellows ever since Adam and Eve tasted the forbidden fruit." The search for foods that foster romance is age old. They're called aphrodisiacs after Aphrodite, who not coincidentally was goddess of both love and crops.

flickr use jeffreyw (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

What’s the one item you’re likely to find on nearly every menu in Italy?  If you said spaghetti and meatballs, your answer is plausible, but it’s wrong.

Spaghetti and meatballs is actually an American dish, invented, it is true, by Italian immigrants to this country, but invented here nonetheless.  These days you can find spaghetti and meatballs on the menu in Italy, but more often than not at tourist traps.  In contrast, the one item you are almost always assured to find on any restaurant menu there is spaghetti carbonara.

flickr user Mike Mozart (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

"He was a bold man who first swallowed an oyster," observed Jonathan Swift. He was right, but the first person to eat an artichoke was probably no less intrepid.

That's because food prejudices are hard to change. The notion that what one diner might consider disgusting, another might simply consider supper was driven home to me recently as I perused "Strange Foods" by Jerry Hopkins. One of the most fascinating books I've ever read, even if it doesn't contain many recipes -- and the ones it does include, like jellyfish salad and stir-fry bat, I'm not especially eager to try.

The Origins of Oatmeal

Jan 22, 2018
flickr user Daniella Segura (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

It is not true, as the humor website Cracked satirically suggests, that oatmeal was invented by a research scientist at Britain's Royal Academy of Adhesives and Sealants during an experiment in search of new forms of industrial glue. But if your idea of oatmeal is the pasty variety made in a microwave from a packet, the story can seem plausible.

In Scotland they know better. Their oatmeal, or porridge, is a hallowed dish, celebrated every year at the World Porridge Making Championship in the village of Carrbridge.

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