Monday, February 6, 2012

Molasses Flood

Molasses Flood by Blair Lent takes place on a warm January day in Boston.  It is so warm that a huge molasses storage tank explodes, flooding the streets and bumping the houses around.  Young Charley Owen Muldoon actually rides his house like a boat from one part of the city to another.  We all enjoyed this book - the story is amusing and the illustrations are sweet and brown (just like molasses).

Believe it or not, this book is loosely based on a real event.  In 1919, a molasses tank did explode and flood a small part of the Boston waterfront.  Here is the information I found on Wikipedia:  The Boston Molasses Disaster, also known as the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses.

Lent exaggerated this event and created his own tall tale.  

The best treat to go along with this book is our favorite recipe for molasses cookies:

3/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup white sugar plus more for rolling cookies in before baking
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat in molasses and egg.
Combine dry ingredients; add gradually to creamed mixture.
Chill for 1 hour or until firm.
Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in sugar.

Place balls on cookie sheet and keep in ball form for best results.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool on wire rack.

We love these cookies; they are a regular treat in our house.


  1. Yum!! They look delicious!

  2. Sad that people were killed - what a strange way to go.

  3. You know I thought that had really happened. I didn't realize 21 people died! Yikes, that would be so strange to go that way.

    I've never had molasses cookies, they look yummy!

  4. oh boy, those look really great! The book sounds fun. We'll have to put it on our list.
    Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

  5. How crazy that this really took place! I've never heard of the book or the actual event before. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. The recipe sounds so yummy!

    I find stories like that rather interesting, because it's fun to know the real story and to see the legend that grew up about it.

  7. Death by molasses? How terrible!

    Crazy Boston weather...