posted Oct.21.14 at 01:51 am

You just can't have a dive bar without wood paneling.

Speaking of dive bars, in 1919, US Congress approved the Nineteenth Amendment to its Constitution, but we’ll talk more about what that hubbub was all about tomorrow. (That had nothing to do with dive bars, but I was speaking of dive bars.)

Right now I wanna talk about being killed by molasses. I fucking love molasses, but I prefer warm molasses, as I’m sure everyone in Boston’s North End was thinking when a 25-foot-tall wave of molasses burst out of a storage tank and flooded their streets in January of 1919.

In BOSTON. In JANUARY. 

That is some erect-nipple-cold molasses there. That is slower than regular molasses.

Actually, I’m a bit off on that - it was around 40° F that day, which was a considerable difference from the 2° F weather of the previous days, and likely had something to do with the tank bursting. But then, I suspect the neglected leaks in the tank had a bit more to do with it, seeing as the structure leaked so badly that they finally just painted the tank brown so no one would notice the leaks. Woopsie!

If you’re wondering (as I did) just how big this tank of molasses could have been… dudes, that storage tank was the size of a baseball field’s infield. Which I mention because there is now an actual baseball field infield exactly where the tank once was. It could hold over TWO MILLION GALLONS of molasses, which is almost enough to sate my insatiable craving for the taste of molasses for the next year or so.

The molasses flood, creatively named the Boston Molasses Disaster, injured 150 people and took the lives of 21, plus countless animals, including horses. Which means I can’t help but post this video:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/y688upqmRXo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

(Though I imagine sinking into a swamp of molasses is the horse’s equivalent of dying peacefully of old age in your bed surrounded by your best friends.)

I also can’t help but share my grandmother’s molasses cookie recipe, despite the perhaps insensitive timing (it's almost a hundred years ago; too soon?). I confess, I cheated on my otherwise-strict gluten-free diet to have a bite of one of these last year at Grandma Corsetto’s memorial service, because someone kindly recreated a batch of them in honor of her, and did I mention I fucking love molasses. 

Enjoy!

 

Grandma Corsetto’s Delicious Molasses Cookies

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mix & form into balls; bake at 375° F for 8-10 minutes.