The big explosion


In an earlier article I had chosen an essay written by Harry Hague III. The booklet had been published in 1998 by The Wilmington Writers group. I am using another article in this booklet and it is written by Eileen Johnson. When I need a good laugh for the day I know I can read this article and enjoy a hearty laugh. I love to cook and over the years my husband was extremely tolerant of my “experiments.” I hope you get a hearty laugh.

The article in its entirety as written by Eileen Johnson follows.

Cooks may be known for some of the excellent meals they have prepared but failure can happen. I know. It happened to me because I never read directions and was trying to rush a meal.

My son was attending University of Cincinnati and he got homesick for a home cooked meal. He telephoned me at work around 4:30 p.m. one night and told me he and his friend would be home at 5:30 for dinner. They were looking forward to it. This blew the plans my husband and I had to go out for dinner. I hurried home to try to “throw” a meal together. Everything went fine until I got to dessert. I tried to figure out what I could prepare in a hurry.

I had a yellow cake mix in my cabinet but I thought it was nothing special and sort of bland. I therefore decided to “soup” it up. I never baked with rum before but I had tasted a rum cake at a party I attended and I liked it very much. I telephoned my husband at work and asked him to bring me a bottle of rum. He did. It was a bottle of 100 proof Jamaican rum.

I mixed the yellow cake mix substituting the cup of water it called for with a cup of the rum. I put the cake in the oven and patted myself on the back for getting together a meal in such good time. I did not know that you never use more than 80 proof rum nor do you use more than one-fourth cup of rum in your baking.

I was setting the table in the dining room when I heard a BANG, BANG, BANG coming from the kitchen. My husband and I both hurried into the kitchen and the oven door was banging open and shut, open and shut. Flames filled the interior of the oven and some came out the open door. I could visualize the headlines in the paper. “House burns when rum cake explodes.”

Finally the alcohol in the cake burned out and the flames died down. At least no headlines but my dessert was ruined. The interior of the oven was black but the sheet cake was not. It had fallen in the center with a tiny wall around the cake similar to the tiny shortcakes you buy at the store ready made during strawberry season.

It was about 15 minutes before my son was due home and I had no idea of what to prepare for dessert. Since the cake was fallen but not burned, I hurried and mixed a lemon pudding and filled the fallen cake with this mixture. Dinner was ready to be served just as the young people came in the door.

They ate dinner and my son asked what was for dessert. I told him it was a lemon rum cake and I served the cake. His friend asked for seconds and said, “This is wonderful. Can I have the recipe?” I glanced at my husband trying to control my laughter when he answered, “I doubt if Eileen will share it with you. It is one of her specialties.”

I made sure they were all out of the kitchen when I scoured the oven from my exploding rum cake.

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