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

flickr user albedo20 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

I have much for which to thank the nuns of the Catholic Church. After all, one of them taught me how to read.

But I’m almost equally grateful to Roman Catholic nuns for their role in inventing and perfecting some of the most heavenly pastries on earth.

Collectively called convent sweets because they originated in the convents of Italy, Spain, and particularly Portugal as far back as the 15th century, they ultimately made their way far beyond the Iberian peninsula.

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.

A Harte Appetite: Caviar

Jul 30, 2018
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.”

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

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).

flickr user mahohn (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Though Southeast Missouri's muggy summer climate may occasionally test it, I've always held the conviction that there's something special about alfresco dining. Whereas Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, one of the high priests of gastronomy, put it, the universe is your drawing room and the sun your lamp.

Perhaps it's because the great outdoors enhances the appetite and produces, as Brillat-Savarin observed, "a vivacity unknown indoors." Whatever the reason, I don't think I've ever been to a picnic I didn't enjoy, even if, the affair ended in rain.

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