A Harte Appetite

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.

flickr user Marco Verch (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

If like me you think of Christmas as a time for cookies, you ought to be grateful to the Germans because they invented that custom. German lebkuchen the Cadillac, or should I say the Mercedes Benz of spice cookies, was probably the first cookie traditionally associated with Christmas. Lebkuchen may also very well be the oldest form of cookie know to human kind.

flicker user numb3r (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Archeologists have discovered evidence in tombs as old as 8000 B.C. that pancakes were a significant component of the ancient Egyptian diet. In fact, the cakes of the Old Testament were really pancakes. The basic pancake recipe in use today can be traced back to a Roman gourmet.