A Harte Appetite

Every Tuesday at 7:31 a.m. and 5:18 p.m., Tom Harte shares a few thoughts on food and shares recipes. 

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 also blends his passion for food with his passion for classical music in his daily program, The Caffe Concerto.

Local support for A Harte Appetite comes from Cyclewerx.

flickr user m01229 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

I have a confession to make.  For years I have been making a chocolate cake that everybody raves over. Once I took it to a committee meeting and one of the committee members said it was absolutely the best chocolate cake he had ever tasted.  Another time I took it to a party and people actually fought over the last slice.

Without fail, whenever I serve it, somebody asks for the recipe.  Well, the cake does contain some flavorful ingredients—Kahlua, sour cream, and almost a pound of chocolate.  But, and here’s the confession, it begins with a mix.

Delmonico's

Aug 14, 2017
flickr user C R (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Ben Wenberg was a wealthy sea captain who sailed between Cuba and New York in the late 19th century engaged in the fruit trade.  A gastronome, when ashore he often dined at New York’s Delmonico’s Restaurant.

One evening in 1876 he walked into the restaurant and announced that he had learned a new way to cook lobster.  Summoning a chafing dish to his table he proceeded to concoct an extravagant preparation of lobster chunks, cream, eggs, butter, sherry, and a little cayenne pepper.

What do award-winning cookbook author Rick Bayless, Food Network Iron Chef Bobby Flay, nationally acclaimed pastry chef Gale Gand, and Chloe, my  granddaughter, have in common?  They all began their culinary education by slaving over a hot light bulb.

Chloe, just like those three celebrity chefs when they were youngsters, has been the recipient of an Easy-Bake oven, which, famously, can produce cakes, cookies, pies, and other goodies using only the heat generated by an ordinary 100-watt incandescent bulb.

Caviar

Jul 31, 2017
flickr user Aleksandar Cocek (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

While he was Tsar of Russia, Peter the Great had his ambassador deliver a gift of fine caviar to Louis XV, King of France.  When, with great ceremony, the young monarch tasted his first mouthful of the precious stuff, he became nauseated and promptly spit it out on the carpet at Versailles.

These days even a royal might think twice about such unmannerly behavior, for caviar is, as Inga Saffron notes in her detailed history of those fabulous fish eggs, “the world’s most coveted delicacy.”

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History is full of famous duos -- Romulus and Remus, Gilbert and Sullivan, Batman and Robin. But of all the prominent pairs over the ages perhaps my favorite is Ben and Jerry.

That's because the ice cream produced by that Vermont institution is the closest to homemade of any store-bought brand I know. And what could be better during the hot summer months than a scoop of homemade ice cream? (Unless it's two scoops).

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