A Harte Appetite

flickr user Boston Public Library (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

When people, especially Texans, think of the battle of the Alamo they think of Davy Crockett and his coonskin cap, Jim Bowie and his famous knife and the iconic phrase, "Remember the Alamo." But, strange as it may sound, when I think of the Alamo I think of key lime pie. It's really not quite as odd as it may seem, because the man who coined that famous phrase also invented a crucial ingredient in the pie - sweetened condensed milk. 

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

Betty Crocker, Mrs. Butterworth, and Chef Boyardee: there are so many culinary icons that have been invented purely for marketing purposes that you could be excused for assuming that all three of these names are fictitious.

Betty Crocker clearly is, even though at one time she was named by Fortune magazine as the second most popular woman in America after Eleanor Roosevelt. Likewise, even though she has her own Facebook page, Mrs. Butterworth is not real and for that matter, neither is her syrup, as it contains neither real butter nor real maple syrup.

A Harte Appetite: Cakes

Sep 3, 2018
flickr user Tracey Wilhelmsen (https://www.flickr.com/photos/traceysculinaryadventures/5524758373/in/photolist-9qcQbH-oEQ8Wf-6EjAjZ-8UjeG2-8UjiTK-24TuNse-bkRf25-FSeddb-6SiE9i-9mDK5T-81EJbx-p3Hu5P-9UZkT3-7JG3V4-5tcLED-77xqMC-8KwoDZ-bq4ERb-7mi6fV-CRVcC-68u)

Rose Levy Beranbaum, in her book, “The Pie and Pastry Bible,” a volume which I’ve read religiously, says, “There are two kinds of people: cake people and pie people.”

All my life I’ve believed I’m in the second category. I even served once as a judge at the National Pie Championships sponsored by the American Pie Council, of which I was a charter member.

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.

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.