Have a rum cake

This is a recipe for the Dan Mudd Rum Cake, one of my all-time favorite desserts, named after a former colleague from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

This is a recipe for the Dan Mudd Rum Cake, one of my all-time favorite desserts, named after a former colleague from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

I made one this morning. It gets better and better every year.

Enjoy.

The cake:
— 1 cup pecans, halved or coarsely chopped
— 1 package of yellow cake mix, any brand but not a pudding mix
— 1 package of instant vanilla pudding mix
— 4 medium or large eggs (not extra-large or jumbo)
— 1/4 cup cold water
— 1/2 cup vegetable oil
— 1/2 cup of rum (any kind of rum, but do not use a Jamaican-type of rum)

Directions
— Preheat oven to 325F degrees
— Grease and flour 10-inch tube (angel-food type) pan
— Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan
— Mix all cake ingredients
— Pour batter over nuts
— Bake for about 40 minutes
— Cool for about 30 minutes
— Make glaze while cake is cooling
— Prick deeply all over the top of the cake with a toothpick or thin knife
— Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides, allowing glaze to soak into cake
— Keep spooning the glaze over cake until all glaze has been absorbed
— After all has cooled at room temperature, run knife along edge of cake and along center tube, and remove cake from pan

The glaze (make while cake is cooling)
— 1/2 cup of butter or 1/2 cup stick oleo (do not use tub or watered-down soft spread)
— 1/4 cup of water
— 1 cup of sugar
— 1/4 cup of rum

Directions
— Melt butter or oleo in a medium-sized saucepan
— Stir in water and sugar
— Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly
— Remove from heat and cool slightly
— Stir in rum slowly
— While warm, spoon over cake

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1. Going camping in apocalyptic Australia
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“Brent Dunn is an architect whose home and studio are located in the bush south of Sydney. There’s no fire there for now. Dunn just returned from an annual camping trip that, this year, seemed apocalyptic: Wind as hot as a hairdryer’s blast, a thunderstorm raining down wet ash, and a smokey rainbow that stretched across the sky.”

2. As a Young Metropolitan Person, I Am Ready to Die on an Electric Scooter
By Maria Sherman | Jezebel | January 2020
“If you live in a metropolis and have felt irrationally annoyed by the increased number of electric scooter brands littering your beautiful city streets, well, turns out there’s an even bigger and better reason to hate them: they’re dangerous!”

3. Yes, This Cuttlefish Is Wearing 3-D Glasses
By Veronique Greenwood | The New York Times | January 2020
“Scientists knew octopuses and squid don’t have any depth perception, but they had a hunch their cuttlefish cousins might.”

4. This browser extension shows you which Amazon books are available free at your local library
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5. Is your email etiquette up to snuff?
By Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst | Marketplace | January 2020
“Maybe you spent your holiday break on a social media detox or cleaning out your email inbox for the new year. Now that you’re back, you might want to brush up on your online etiquette.”

6. Feminist Icons in Love
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7. Remembering a Woman Who Was a Leader of the French Resistance
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“Just how did Hitler nearly fulfill his murderous vision, and why did so few resist his monstrous plans? Marie-Madeleine Fourcade certainly did, and with this gripping tale Lynne Olson pays her what history has so far denied her. France, slow to confront the stain of Vichy, would do well to finally honor a fighter most of us would want in our foxhole.”

8. Memories of Sexual Oppression
Evergreen Review | March 2019
“We all understand that because society needs to protect us from rape and assault, we are going to be restricted to a very narrow range of experience, which will stunt our imaginations.”

9. Notorious: The Same Hunger
By Angelica Jade Bastien | Current :: The Criterion Collection | January 2019
“The performances by Grant and Rains are dynamic high-water marks in their towering careers. But even amid these wonders, it is Bergman who is the crowning jewel. She brings an untold warmth, a sincerity, and a vulpine physicality that make her character a beguiling outlier not only in Hitchcock’s canon but also within forties cinema and Bergman’s own career.”

10. The Legacy of WWI in the Balkans and Middle East
By Christopher Rose | Not Even Past :: UT Austin Department of History | October 2018
“World War I dramatically changed the face of Europe and the Middle East. The war had caused millions of deaths and millions more were displaced. Two great multinational empires–the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire–were dissolved into new nation states, while Russia descended into a chaotic revolution.”

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1. García Márquez’s Five Favorite Cocktail Stories
By Santiago Mutis Duran, and translated by David Unger | The Paris Review | August 2019
“Santiago Mutis Durán, the son of Márquez’s close friend Álvaro Mutis, gathered together small author-less stories that Márquez had written down or told over the course of his lifetime.”

2. How to avoid the traps that produce loneliness and isolation
By Arthur C. Brooks | The Washington Post | January 2020
“But the real question is why so many people feel isolated, when contact with others should be easier than ever. If we can answer that, we can craft a solution — if not societally, at least personally, to make our lives happier and better.”

3. A Man In Full
By Walter Shapiro | The New Republic | January 2020
“Joe Biden wants to be a normal president in a highly abnormal age.”

4. More than 60,000 Mexicans have been ‘disappeared’ amid drug war, officials say
By Mary Beth Sheridan | The Washington Post | January 2020
“Karla Quintana, head of Mexico’s National Search Commission, which coordinates the effort to find the missing, said at least 61,637 people had been reported disappeared and not been found — what she called ‘data of horror.’ The actual number is thought to be even higher, since many cases are never reported. The numbers confirm that Mexico is suffering one of the worst crises of ‘the disappeared’ in Latin American history.”

5. The Racist History of Tipping
By William J. Barber II | Politico Magazine | July 2019
“Tipping originated in feudal Europe and was imported back to the United States by American travelers eager to seem sophisticated. The practice spread throughout the country after the Civil War as U.S. employers, largely in the hospitality sector, looked for ways to avoid paying formerly enslaved workers.”

6. The Nuns Who Bought and Sold Human Beings
By Rachel L. Swarns | The New York Times | August 2019
“America’s nuns are beginning to confront their ties to slavery, but it’s still a long road to repentance.”

7. The Great Boundary-Breaking Women of Fiction
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“Celebrating 10 strong women who refused to conform and who struggled to find their place in the world.”

8. One Year in Washington
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“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reshaped her party’s agenda, resuscitated Bernie Sanders’s campaign, and hardly has a friend in town.”

9. Violent Policing of the Texas Border
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“Between 1910 and 1920, an era of state-sanctioned racial violence descended upon the U.S.-Mexico border. Texas Rangers, local ranchers, and U.S. soldiers terrorized ethnic Mexican communities, under the guise of community policing.”

10. Is your to-do list making you nuts? Start a to-don’t list instead
By Anna Phelan | Ideas :: TED.com | March 2019
“The TED speaker and podcast host shares 4 items from his to-don’t list — stuff he’s shed from his life to make him a happier and more effective human. Read it and learn.”

My Old-Fashioned Summer

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails.

Several friends this summer fell in love with my Old-Fashioned cocktails. One friend said he always loved the simplicity of my preparation. I said I never did anything fancy. It was always simply about the drink and about the ceremony of sharing that first sip with someone special.

Salud …

 


1. I begin with a beautiful glass …

 



2. I drop in a Demerara sugar cube …

 



3. I douse it with aromatic bitters. Three or four dashes. I give the cube a moment to soak it up. ​…

 



4. I use a muddler to crush the soaked cube and mix it with the bitters. Essentially, I’m trying to make a paste or syrup base.​ …

 



5. I drop in a single large ice cube or sphere.​ …

 



6. I slowly pour in three fluid ounces of bourbon, usually Bullitt.​ …

 



7. I gently stir it 20 times, keeping the back of the spoon lightly pressed against the inside of the glass as I stir.​ …

 



8. I cut off an orange rind, and with the white part facing up, I hold it over the drink and quickly fold it lengthwise. The oils spray into the bourbon. I then rub the rind along the edge of the glass and the inside of the glass. I then drop it into the drink.​ …

 



9. I drop in two Luxardo cherries and two spoonfuls of the dark syrup.​ …

 



10. I light a cigar, watch the sunset and take a moment to appreciate the small luxuries and pleasures of life.​

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1. Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father
By David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner | The New York Times | October 2018
“The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s.”
Also see from the Columbia Journalism Review: The Times Trump investigation and the power of the long game

2. Traveling to Find Out
By Hanif Kureishi | London Review of Books | August 2018
“Legitimate anger turned bad; the desire for obedience and strong men; a terror of others; the promise of power, independence and sovereignty; the persecution of minorities and women; the return to an imagined purity. Who would have thought this idea would have spread so far, and continue to spread.”

3. The Marines Didn’t Think Women Belonged in the Infantry. She’s Proving Them Wrong.
By Thomas Gibbons-Neff | The New York Times | August 2018
“As Lieutenant Hierl issued orders against the din of rifle fire, she dropped her usually reserved, soft-spoken demeanor for a firm tone that left no doubt about who was in command.”

4. Forget Doorframes: Expert Advice on Earthquake Survival Strategies
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5. A coral reef cemetery is home to life in the afterlife
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6. Blood and Oil
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7. He Was the Resistance Inside the Obama Administration
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8. Six Texas Bourbons to Drink Right Now
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“Enjoy them straight, on the rocks, or in an inventive cocktail, such as the Tejas Ponche from Treaty Oak in Dripping Springs.”

9. The Guy Who Wouldn’t Write a Hit: An Interview with David Simon
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10. 7 strategies to keep your phone from taking over your life
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1. Forget the Caribbean: Was Rum Invented in India
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2. Coldest Place on Earth Found — Here’s How
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3. How Ancient Mummies Helped This Soccer Player Get to the World Cup
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4. How Is the Declaration of Independence Preserved
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5. Do You Like ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ Science Would Like to Know Why
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6. What lies in the lab: The gruesome murder at Harvard that transfixed New England
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7. Ask Yourself This: What Burdens Is That Other Person Carrying
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“And how would I treat them differently if I knew”

8. Bette Nesmith Graham, Who Invented Liquid Paper
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9. ‘He Pretty Much Gave In to Whatever They Asked For’
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10. Madonna talks to Harry Dean Stanton about her newfound stardom
By Harry Dean Stanton | Interview | May 2018
“I laugh at myself, I don’t take myself completely seriously. I think that’s another quality that people have to hold onto, you have to laugh, especially at yourself.”

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1. Many Creative Geniuses May Have Procrastinated — but That Doesn’t Mean You Should
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2. A Watershed Moment in American History
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“Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh will deliver Republicans a majority on the Supreme Court. Will he also prompt a reckoning among Democrats”

3. ‘I Couldn’t Tell Anyone’: Women Around the World Reveal Intimate Stories of Abortion
By Josephine Sedgwick | The New York Times | July 2018
“When we invited readers to share their own stories, more than 1,300 responded from over 30 countries, showing the vast range of reasons, means and outcomes for abortion.”

4. Why breast-feeding is a mix of joy and suffering
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5. Reporting Is Ugly
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“It is invaluable and messy and it not only doesn’t diverge from the most basic principles of journalism, it exemplifies them.”

6. The Democratic Coming Apart
By David Runciman and Joshua Cohen | Boston Review | July 2018
“Democracy … could either fail while remaining intact or evolve into something different — and possibly even better.”

7. And Now, Some Little-Known Facts About Texas
By David Courtney | Texas Monthly | July 2018
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8. Is Punching Nazis Impolite
By Barry Purcell | Arc Digital | July 2018
“Exploring the limits of civility”

9. The Americanization of Alfredo Corchado
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10. What does ‘normal’ mean in abnormal times
By Steven Poole | The Guardian | April 2018
“From Donald Trump to Syrian bombs — in modern political times, ‘normal’ carries an extra moral nuance”

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1. Why I’m Teaching My Daughters to Be Rude
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“I would no longer teach them that they owe anyone smiles or gratitude for being noticed. I would no longer train them to weaken their boundaries for the sake of being polite.”

2. How ‘Project Runway’ Helped Me ‘Make It Work’ When I Was Depressed
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3. Donald Glover Has Always Been Ten Steps Ahead
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4. Pushing back: why it’s time for women to rewrite the story
By Sarah Churchwell | The Guardian | February 2018
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5. A Kingdom of Dust
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6. Radiation Will Tear Elon Musk’s Rocket Car to Bits in a Year
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7. New members of the editorial board
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8. Controlling the Chief
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9. Port Aransas Isn’t Giving Up
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10. Deep Space Nine Is TV’s Most Revolutionary Depiction of Black Fatherhood
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“The family they represent is wholly unique on television: a window into the future of black identity that never forgets the trials of our past or the complexity of our humanity.”

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1. Who’s Who in ‘The Post’: A Guide to the Players in a Pivotal Era
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2. Cuba’s Revolutionary World
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3. Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming to An End
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4. Out of Control
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5. The 36 Questions That Lead to Love
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6. Below Deck
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7. The 4 Things That Helped Gary Oldman Disappear Into Winston Churchill
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8. A Journey Through Havana’s Clandestine Book World
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9. A Comprehensive List of How Texans Mispronounce Places With Spanish Names
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10. Dystopia is Realism: The Future Is Here if You Look Closely
By Christopher Brown | LitHub | July 2017
“All novels are set in alternate worlds, even if most writers only invent the people that inhabit them. Dystopia just expands the scale of the alteration.”

Loreta’s Civil War: No apologies to offer

In this final excerpt, Velazquez ends her journey in Texas, where she reflects on her life of war and peace, and where she looks optimistically to the future. She is satisfied and proud that she fulfilled her dream to live a rich and adventurous life.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart shared edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Read previous chapters of her incredible story here.

Part 70: In this final excerpt, Velazquez ends her journey in Texas, where she reflects on her life of war and peace, and where she looks optimistically to the future. She is satisfied and proud that she fulfilled her dream to live a rich and adventurous life.

******

Once on the road again, we followed the valley southward, stopping the next day for our dinner at an Indian village, which was situated at the foot of a lofty mountain and which overlooked the Rio Grande. After having dined, we struck across a stretch of high, dry table land, covered with sagebushes, of which we gathered a quantity as we went along to be used as fuel in cooking our supper. We reached the Rio Grande again about nightfall and had a grand supper, some of the gentlemen having succeeded in killing half a dozen wild ducks and one rabbit, and in catching one fish.

From this point, we pursued our way down the valley, passing a number of old Mexican towns and plantations of cotton and sycamore, which indicated that the land had once been thickly settled with people of no mean civilization, until we reached Fort McRae.

This valley of the Rio Grande is a magnificent route for a railroad, and I doubt not that in a few years it will be found worthwhile to build one. There is plenty of water and timber, and the country offers many inducements to industrious settlers. The principal towns are Albuquerque, Valencia, Socarro, Dona Ana, and Mesilla. The Pueblo Indians have a number of settlements, and the portions of country inhabited by them are generally in a high state of cultivation. These Indians own a great many cattle, sheep, and horses, and they support a number of churches and schools.

Near Fort McRae is the famous hot spring. It is situated on a high mound, and its depth has never been sounded. This spring is in a state of constant ebullition, is very clear, very hot, and is possessed of valuable medicinal properties. Consumptives are especially benefited by the use of its waters. Around the edge is a rough crust of lime, which takes all imaginable shapes. The water of the spring will cook eggs quicker than ordinary boiling water, and when cool it is very pleasant to the taste. A short distance off is a cold spring, near which is a famous Indian camping ground.

Striking south-westward from Fort McRae, we came to Rio de los Mimtres, near the head of which is Mowry City, founded by Lt. Mowry, who could not have had any very clear ideas as to what he was about when he attempted to make a settlement in such a place. Mowry City has a hotel, one or two stores, and more drinking-saloons than do it any good. That it will ever be much of a place I do not believe. There is not water enough in the river the greater part of the time to float two logs together, and in very dry weather one can step across it without wetting the feet. A sudden shower will, however, convert this puny creek in a short time into a raging river, which carries everything before it, and then it will subside as suddenly as it arose.

From Mowry City, which I regarded as a fraud of the worst kind, we went to Pachalalo, where we found a very beautiful ranch, owned by a Canadian who had taken a great deal of pains in improving and beautifying his place. He had made a pretty artificial lake, which, like the rest of the ranch, was supplied with water brought down from the mountains.

A visit was now made to Silver City, a new settlement in the mountains, containing probably about fifteen hundred inhabitants. There were three quartz mills, but nothing worth talking about appeared to be doing in the way of getting out metal. None of the mines were paying expenses, chiefly, I thought, through a lack of competent persons to treat the ore, which seemed to be rich enough. Another and very great difficulty in working these mines, however, was the absence of transportation facilities and the presence of hostile Indians. A railroad will aid immensely in developing this country, which is one of the richest in the world in minerals. On the San Domingo, San Francisco, and Gila Rivers are admirable grazing lands, which will be very valuable to somebody in the course of time. The attractions of this country are very great, and it will doubtless be rapidly settled in a few years.

This country, however, did not hold out any great inducement for me at the time of my visit, and, after taking a look at it, I turned back, and passing through Mesilla, went to El Paso, in Texas, where I remained two days, preparatory to taking the overland stage for a journey across the Lone Star State.

El Paso is the terminus of the overland stage route, the mails being conveyed from there to the interior on horseback. This town is one of the prettiest on the Rio Grande, and there is more business done there than in any place in that whole region outside of Santa Fe. El Paso contains a number of really fine buildings, which would do credit to some Eastern cities. The country in the vicinity produces corn, wheat, and all kinds of vegetables in great abundance. Excellent grapes grow without cultivation, from which the best wine I ever drank, outside of France, is made. The climate is very healthy, the soil fertile, being capable of producing anything that will grow in Louisiana, and the water abundant for all purposes.

The overland stage from El Paso passes through a number of small villages, along the banks of the Rio Grande, until Fort Bliss is reached. This country contains some of the finest grazing lands for sheep in the world. The next place is Fort Quitman, where a large garrison is stationed, and leaving this, the road passes through a well-timbered country, abounding in live-oak, cedar, and taskata — a species of pine which makes a very intense heat when used for fuel. Eagle Spring, a short distance from Fort Quitman, takes its name from the immense number of eagles that build their nests and rear their young in the rocky cliffs. The scenery here is very beautiful but it is considered one of the most dangerous spots on the route, on account of the opportunities which it offers to the Indians for an effective attack.

Leaving the river and making the interior, we were not long in arriving at about as rough and unpleasant a piece of ground as I ever traveled over. In this strip of territory, of about thirty miles in width, rattlesnakes and horned toads are more abundant than the scorpions on Scorpion Rock at St. Thomas.

The Leon Holes, which our stage next reached, are three in number, and the water is very brackish. No bottom has ever been found to them. They say that a freighter who wished to tighten the tire of a wheel, threw it into one of these holes, but when he was ready to start it was not to be seen, having passed completely out of sight.

About seven miles from the Leon Holes is Fort Stockton, and beyond that is a station-house kept by a man who had the reputation of dishing up for his guest pretty near everything and anything that could be eaten. The place, however, was neat and clean, and as the cooking looked inviting, I, being too hungry to be over-fastidious, ate what was before me and asked no questions.

We next traveled through a number of beautiful valleys and over rolling prairies, abounding in buffaloes, antelopes, and deer until the Rio Pecos was reached. This is a bold and muddy stream, and when, as the stagemen say, it gets on a rampage, it rushes on in a perfect torrent. The station-keeper at this point was a small man who blasphemed enough for six large ones. In spite of his foul language, however, he was a good housekeeper, and everything about his place looked nice and in good order.

Our stage now rolled through one of the richest stock-raising countries in America — a country which, when the Texas and Pacific Railroad is built, will certainly be rapidly settled.

The farther we now proceeded the more frequent became the signs of civilization, and, as with this journey, through a most interesting but little-known section of the country, was the last of my adventures that is likely to be of interest to the majority of readers, this seems to be a proper place to bring this narrative to a close.

Perhaps my story was worth the telling, perhaps not — the great public, to whom I have ventured to confide a plain and unpretentious account of my adventuresome career, will be a better judge of that than I am. All I claim is that my conduct, under the many trying and peculiar circumstances in which I have been placed, shall be judged with impartiality and candor, and that due credit shall be given me for integrity of purpose and a desire to do my whole duty as I understand it.

For the part I took in the great contest between the South and the North I have no apologies to offer. I did what I thought to be right, and, while anxious for the good opinion of all honorable and right-thinking people, a consciousness of the purity of my motives will be an ample protection against the censure of those who may be disposed to be censorious.

THE END

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