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

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

As California restaurant critic Merrill Shindler observes, "Like politics and religion, nobody agrees about the one true chili." It's a dish that's easy to get into an argument over. For example, some people vehemently claim that real chili does not contain beans while others claim just as vehemently that it does and, what is more, they'll specify the particular type of bean which must be used. Some contend that pork, chicken, and even lamb can be used while others insist that true chili contains only beef.

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

Not long ago I made a sojourn to Lititz, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the American pretzel.  It's a town in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country not far from Philadelphia, another town that takes its pretzels seriously.

Flickr user juantiagues (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Spain has given many gifts to gastronomy, like paella, manchego cheese, and the world’s greatest ham. But no less noteworthy are churros, or Spanish donuts.

Fritter-like pastries made from cylinders of ridged batter and sprinkled with sugar, churros, not unlike American hushpuppies and French beignets, testify to the virtues of fried dough.

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

Every region of the country has some special dish associated with it that purports to define the character of its culture.  But perhaps no region of the country has more of these iconic dishes than the Deep South where some of them have become so associated with that part of the country that the word South now appears in their name. Southern Fried Chicken is a case in point.

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

"He was a bold man who first swallowed an oyster," observed Jonathan Swift. He was right, but the first person to eat an artichoke was probably no less intrepid.

That's because food prejudices are hard to change. The notion that what one diner might consider disgusting, another might simply consider supper was driven home to me recently as I perused "Strange Foods" by Jerry Hopkins. One of the most fascinating books I've ever read, even if it doesn't contain many recipes -- and the ones it does include, like jellyfish salad and stir-fry bat, I'm not especially eager to try.

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