Friday, February 4, 2011

Firewater Friday - A Sticky Situation

It was an unseasonable warm day January 1919 in BostonMassachusetts.  It was in the mid-40s and people were enjoying their noon meal when the most unlikely of events occurred.

Looming above Commercial Street was an enormous cast-iron tank containing two-and-a-half million gallons of crude molasses soon to be made into rum by United States Industrial Alcohol Company.

Halfway into the lunch hour a low, rumble was heard and the fifty-eight-foot-high tank burst open.  Metal rivets 1/2 inch thick flew through air like shrapnel.  All of the sticky goo emptied into the street creating a flash flood nearly eight feet tall (15 feet by some claims).  The wall of thick syrup moving 35 miles per hour pushed down buildings, buried horses, overtook people fleeing for their very lives. 

1 cat (named Peter), dozens of horse and 21 people were killed; more than 150 people were injured.

The clean-up took weeks. Firemen literally hosed down the street and washed the molasses into the sea. 

The tank was known to leak and it was never fixed. The tank was painted brown in order to hide the leaks. It could have been the weak points in the tank that eventually ruptured due to the tank being filled to capacity. 

After a series of contentious hearings, the   United States Industrial Alcohol Company was forced to pay out nearly a million dollars in damages — a bittersweet victory for survivors of one of the strangest disasters in American history.

Although it’s been almost 90 years since the flood, they say that on a hot day, the streets in some parts of Boston still bleed molasses.


Cajun Coffee

A picker-upper with a kicker-upper. 

Molasses will bring a strong and wonderful flavour to your cup of coffee, along with a dash of good Caribbean rum. Serve hot with whipped cream.

~  3 Cups Hot Coffee  ~
~  6 Tbsp Molasses  ~
~  6 Tbsp Dark Rum  ~
~  Whipped Cream  ~

Heat coffee and molasses in a saucepan until molasses is dissolved. Put 1 tbsp of rum in each mug, and pour coffee over. Top with whipped cream. 

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