A Harte Appetite

Flickr user juantiagues (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Spain has given many gifts to gastronomy, like paella, manchego cheese, and the world’s greatest ham. But no less noteworthy are churros, or Spanish donuts.

Fritter-like pastries made from cylinders of ridged batter and sprinkled with sugar, churros, not unlike American hushpuppies and French beignets, testify to the virtues of fried dough.

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.

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