A Harte Appetite

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.

Gail/Flickr, License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

What’s the most dangerous cake in the world?  Some say wedding cake, but a better answer, I think, is mug cake.

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

Recently the leader of the choir in a small church learned firsthand how much difference one letter in a word can make when he spotted in the church bulletin this notice: "The choir director invites any members of the congregation who enjoy sinning to join the choir."

In the culinary world one letter can also make a big difference. Take, for example, the distinction between macaroon and macaron. Though identical words except for one extra letter "o," the confections they refer to couldn't be more dissimilar.

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.

Pages