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

Kate Stone’s Civil War: God spare us

The rumors finally reach Tyler: Lee may have surrendered to Grant. The Stone family refuses to believe it.

KS33

From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

The rumors finally reach Tyler: Lee may have surrendered to Grant. The Stone family refuses to believe it.

Stone is especially detailed in this entry, perhaps burying herself in mundane moments to drive back the looming and crushing reality of Confederate defeat.

April 23, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Such terrible news if true, but we cannot believe it. We know that we have met with fearful reverses this year. All our coast cities are conquered: gallant old Charleston has fallen, Wilmington and Mobile have passed out of our hands, and Richmond … has been taken. But all that is nothing compared to the awful report from the Yankee papers that Gen. Lee, our strong arm of defense, has capitulated with 40,000 men without firing a gun, that most of our best generals were taken at the same time, and that what remains of that noble army is only a disorganized mob of despairing men. All this is too dreadful to believe. God spare us from this crushing blow and save our dying country!

All refuse to believe such disaster, and the home life flows on as usual. Two dramatic performances by the natives, the amiable Capt. Johnson saying he did not wish the refugees even to attend. Mrs. Gary is vice-president, and I am secretary of the society. The gentlemen come in the evening and the ladies call in the day, but over every pleasure sweeps the shadow of the evil news. It may be true. It may be true. Mollie Moore, Lt, Holmes, and I rode out to the armory to see the soldiers drill. Met Col. and Mrs. Hill, all sympathizing with Capt. Polys, who fell down while pulling the bell rope and broke his leg in two places.

Just finished three embroidered cravats for Johnny. Friday Mamma and I finished a beautiful fawn-colored barege trimmed with black lace. It looks real stylish. My old white dress has been dyed by Lucy. She has become quite an adept at dyeing things.

The rain came down in torrents Thursday but in the afternoon ceased and I rode up to school for Sister. Came through boggy roads and rushing streams at sundown. Found Lt. Holmes waiting to go with me to Mrs. Carson’s to tea, to stay there until 8:30, and then to drive over to Dr. Moore’s, Mollie’s father’s, to attend a private rehearsal. We had a pleasant time there until twelve, then the drive home, adieux to Lt. Holmes, and then the blessed oblivion of sleep. Went up to return Eliza Roberts’ call late in the afternoon.

Lt. Holmes caught up with me and came home and spent the evening. Busy sewing Tuesday until Lt. Holmes was announced, then had to spend the balance of the day amusing him. After he bowed himself away, I went over to see Mollie Moore and chatter nonsense. …

Had delicious white cake at Mrs. Lawrence’s. All the members of the troupe wanted Mamma for president of the society, but she would not hear of it. Mrs. Swain, a perfect incapable, was called to the chair. Capt. Buck has brought me a book nicely commenced for my official records, and Lt. Holmes is to see they are kept according to rule. Must send it around for members to sign.

Mamma has been much disturbed on the subject of details for Mr. Smith, but Lt. Dupre arranged the detail as he passed through Marshall. She hopes to have no further trouble on that score. …

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Video of asteroid near miss / Peruvian food around the world / Death in a Facebook status / Cronkite remembers the Battle of the Bulge

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Near-Earth Asteroid Fly-By Captured by Observatory
Space.com | July 2012
“Asteroid 2002 AM31 flew by Earth on July 22nd. The Slooh Space Camera in the Canary Islands observatory was on hand to capture the space rock zoom by. It was about 3.2 million miles away on its closest approach.”

2. Peruvian Independence Day Celebrated With Google Map Of Peruvian Restaurants Around The World
The Huffington Post | July 28
” You don’t have to travel all the way to South America for a taste of Peru’s cuisine.”

3. Facebook, in Life and Death
By Rubina Madan Fillon | The Juggle :: The Wall Street Journal | July 25
“I’ve grown accustomed to finding out about friends’ milestones on Facebook: graduations, engagements, weddings, new jobs and children. But hearing about death that way — I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that.”

4. Gang Violence Smoulders On Hot Chicago Streets
By Scott Simon | Weekend Edition Saturday | July 28
“When the sun goes down behind the glimmering lakeshore skyline, blocks on the South and West Side of the city can ring with shots and sirens.”

5. She’s taking on everything that’s wrong with movies
By Karina Longworth | The Village Voice | July 25
“Julie Delpy materializes on the patio of Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont on a wave of nervous energy.”

6. Texting: Grammar suffering as a result, finds a new study
By Alexander Besant | GlobalPost | July 28
“Researchers from Penn State have found that teenagers who use text messages to communicate tend to have worse grammar skills than those who don’t.”

7. J.J. Abrams’ mystery box
TED | January 2008
“J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery … back to its magical beginnings.”

8. Fancy that: the golden age of the sexy geeky leading male
By Zoe Williams | The Guardian | July 27
“The home-grown actors making it big in Hollywood these days aren’t chiselled or buff, but funny, nerdy and strangely attractive”

9. Runaway Masters
By Daniel W. Crofts | Disunion :: The New York Times | June 22
“All hope vanished that the war might end soon, or that the old Union might somehow be restored intact.”

10. The Battle of the Bulge Remembered
By Walter Cronkite | NPR | December 2004
“Cronkite reflects on what remains the largest pitched battle in the history of American arms.”

**************

TUNES

My soundtrack for today included:
1. NEVER AN EASY WAY Morcheeba
2. AIR Cuba Percussion & Klazz Brothers
3. WITH YOU Smoke City
4. ISOBEL Dido
5. LIGHT MY FIRE Jose Feliciano
6. MAD MEN SUITE David Carbonara
7. I KNOW Fiona Apple
8. SEVEN YEARS Natalie Merchant
9. MAYBE I’M AMAZED Paul McCartney
10. CAN’T FIND MY WAY HOME Blind Faith

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Understanding SOPA / The 5-Second Rule / Looking back at Election 2012 / MLK papers now online / Romney’s faith issue

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Concerns about Romney’s faith quieter but not gone
By Rachel Zoll | Associated Press | Jan. 16
“The second time around, the shock has worn off. The prospect of a Mormon president appears to be less alien to South Carolina Republicans who are giving Mitt Romney a second look after his failed White House bid in 2008.”

2. Peruvian food put back on the map in Britain
By Sam Jones | The Guardian | Jan. 16
“Restaurants will offer a taste of Lima — with the help of a ‘sacred quartet’ of chillies”

3. 200,000 Martin Luther King Papers Go Online
Open Culture | Jan. 16
“The documents give you a good glimpse of Dr. King’s role as a scholar, father, pastor and catalyst for change.”

4. 10 Important Life Lessons You Learn From Living Abroad
By Whitney Cox | BootsNAll | Jan 16
“It’s a world of implicit triumphs and it’ll-be-funny-later humiliations. Unpack your bags and look forward to these life lessons”

5. Analysis: Wannabe stars, failed hopefuls and the GOP drama that wasn’t
By Steve Krakauer | CNN | Jan. 16
“How did we get here? Where’s the drama, the intrigue, the subplots worthy of intense media salivation? Let’s take a look back”

6. Split by Race and Wealth, but Discovering Similarities as They Study Steinbeck
By Winnie Hu | The New York Times | Jan. 16
“Westfield and Plainfield are linked by a railroad line, but little else connects their residents.”

7. What Is SOPA?
By Brian Barrett | Gizmodo | Jan. 17
“SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress…”

8. This much I know: Tim Robbins
By Emma John | The Observer | September 2010
“The actor and musician, 51, on hatred, ice hockey, and winning an Oscar”

9. The 5-Second Rule
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | February 2011
“You know the five-second rule for dropped food? Is it really safe if you pick it up in time?”

10. The Krakow Ghetto
Witness :: BBC News | March 2011
“The city of Krakow in Poland was home to a large Jewish community before World War II. But with the arrival of the Nazis many of its Jews were deported, or fled. Then in 1941 a Jewish ghetto was built.”

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