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.

Red Velvet Cake

Jan 2, 2017
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 26, 2016
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.

Cook Diary

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.

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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