Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beer Me Not

Ben Franklin is quoted as saying that beer is proof God wants man to be happy. I must be doomed to misery. Try as I might – I cannot develop a taste for beer. Last night I met one of my best friends at a sports bar to watch the UT rout of Ol’ Miss. Given the setting and the activity, I decided to do the culturally normal thing and drink beer. So beer it was.

I knew I could not tolerate any of the darker beers, so I went for a lighter (not light) beer – one so unbeery it comes with an orange slice. The orange helped, but I still did not like it all three times (I felt obligated to keep ordering since I intended to stay at the table the entire game) I ordered it.

One entire game (plus pre-game) and three beers. Yes, I really do not like it. Beer drinkers will know how true that is.

I have several friends who brew their own beers, regularly experimenting with recipes. They know the language of beer fluently. My beer vocabulary consists of two words: bloated and bitter.

It all comes down to taste. I prefer most liquor to beer. I will let my friends find their hoppyness where they may. I’ll find mine with gin. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Spiced Rum Cake

In the midst of a cooking frenzy, I asked my roommate to run to the liquor store to pick up some rum for a particular drink I was going to make. He called from the store and asked what kind; I naively replied, “any.”

He came home with spiced rum. Not at all anything I could use in the planned drink. So I had to come up with something to use that rum –I am too cheap to waste things. It had been a while since I made a cake, so I decided to investigate recipes for a spiced rum cake. The internet and my cookbooks offered myriad suggestions, but I opted for something simple and quick.

 Version one was good, but I knew I could improve on it (it left off the amount of spiced rum to put in the glaze). The texture and flavor of the cake lacked what I expect from a cake, so I tried again with my own adjustments. Version two came out much better.


The recipe is quite simple:


1 box white cake mix

1 box (4 serving) vanilla instant pudding

½ cup water

½ cup spiced rum

½ cup oil (I use olive)

4 eggs

1 tsp ground allspice

½ cup chopped or slivered nuts



¼ cup butter

½ cup sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup spiced rum

dash allspice


Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, eggs, rum, and allspice. Beat until combined. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Spread nuts around the bottom then pour in the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes.


When the cake comes out of the oven, leave in pan. Boil butter, sugar, water, and allspice glaze ingredients for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in spiced rum.


With the cake still in the pan, poke holes in the cake – I use a chopstick. Pour hot glaze over the cake. Allow the glaze to soak into the cake before turning it out onto a plate (about 5 minutes).