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.

Ways to Connect

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.

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.

A Harte Appetite: Fudge!

Sep 6, 2021
flickr user theilr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Of all the culinary accidents in human history, which include the chocolate chip cookie and, if you believe Charles Lamb's account, roast pork -- surely fudge must rank among the most serendipitous.

No one knows for sure just who made the first pan of fudge, but most everybody agrees it was invented by mistake -- and it's uniquely American.

Flickr user robinmcnicoll (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

I enjoy baking cookies. It gives me great satisfaction to see how my family and friends enjoy the results of my efforts. But the truth is I really do it for the dough.

Let’s face it. It’s hard enough to keep your hands out of the cookie jar, but what’s really difficult is keeping your fingers out of the mixing bowl. In fact, the practice of eating raw cookie dough has become so popular that many people buy packaged cookie dough from the grocery store with absolutely no intention of ever baking it.

flickr user Miracle Herbs (https://www.flickr.com/photos/154324000@N07/29569567508/in/photolist-M3XLes-8yiBL6-986JJQ-pu57gU-dEVXid-dkkafW-258y36W-28PWZJ9-TdZZFo-4MJwvR-q9LCPp-9sKUKf-29HufFK-GA6qxT-29ALPou-f4CFRj-ei7yiE-RprfJj-m1k28P-cvRh9N-8Fsrsr-5R7G4v-)

Though it was not part of the last Olympics, olive oil wrestling is the national sport of Turkey, where an annual tournament has been held since 1346, making it the oldest continuously running, sanctioned sporting competition in the world.

Following Greco-Roman traditions, contestants slather themselves in olive oil and try to come to grips with one another, a process which, before time limits were instituted, could go on for days.

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