A Harte Appetite

Every Tuesday at 7:42 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.

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A Harte Appetite: Hummus

Jul 19, 2021
flickr user stu_spivack (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

As famed Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi tells it, Abu Shukri has always been considered one of the best hummus restaurants in Israel.  One day another place, run by the son-in-law of the original owner, opened across the street sporting a sign that read, “We moved here.  This is the real Abu Shukri.”

The next day, the old restaurant hung out a sign which read, “We didn’t move anywhere.  This is the real Abu Shukri.  Shortly thereafter the upstart eatery erected a large banner reading, “The real, one and only, original Abu Shukri.”  The rivalry continued for years.

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

“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack” is undoubtedly the most famous line from the ditty, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."  To the makers of Cracker Jack the line has certainly been the most valuable.  Someone once tried to figure out the worth of the musical plug by comparing it to the cost of buying advertising on the outfield walls of every major league stadium and concluded that such a campaign would cost roughly $25 million a year.  “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” furnishes Cracker Jack the equivalent every year for free, making the song the greatest product placement scheme in the hist

Many dishes rely on a vital ingredient, in risotto it's arborio rice, in ailoi it's garlic and in anything called Florentine it's spinach. But of all the dishes that depend on a critical or key ingredient, surely key lime pie heads the list.

Key lime pie is of the course the most famous of the culinary creations made with the key lime. Variously called "The Mexican," "West Indian" or "Bartender" lime, the key lime is significantly different than its cousin the Persian lime, the kind most commonly found at produce counters around here.

flickr user Markus Rauscher-Riedl (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

The contemporary American composer Ned Rorem has called Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony “the first piece of junk in the grand style.”  He is in a decided minority.

A Harte Appetite: Caviar

Jun 21, 2021
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.”