May 1978: Random House issued a recall of a cookbook, Woman's Day Crockery Cuisine, after realizing that one of the recipes "could cause a serious explosion."
The recipe in question was for "Silky Caramel Slices." The problem was that it instructed people to heat an unopened can of condensed milk in a crockpot for four hours. A statement from Random House noted, "If the recipe is followed, the condensed milk can could explode and shatter the lid and liner of the crockery cooker."
What the recipe neglected to mention was that you should add water into the crockpot surrounding the can. Initially I thought you should open the can also, but my wife (who's heard of this technique of cooking condensed milk on a stove top) corrected me. You keep the can closed so that the milk doesn't boil out of the can.
Marilynn Marter, writing in the Chicago Tribune (May 25, 1978) explains:
The recipe in question was for Silky Caramel Slices and called for heating a can of sweetened condensed milk in a crockpot. Because of an unfortunately elusive line that should have instructed folks to fill the pot with water, following the recipe appears to have resulted in some unintentional pop-top cans and badly damaged crockpots...
The conditions that have made this underground recipe successful and therefore popular, especially with children, are water and temperature. By being heated in boiling water, the temperature of the can and milk do not exceed the boiling point. After a few hours of this, the sugared milk turns to a caramel pudding. In the Crockpot, however, especially without water, the temperature can build up rather like a pressure cooker. That was the most immediate cause of the problem.
Back cover The 'exploding' recipe (Silky Caramel Slices) is listed third from bottom, right-hand column.
1935: John Nardo, 61, repeatedly told William Cavin, 58, to stop coming around calling on his daughter Marion, 27. After all, Cavin was already married with two kids. Plus, it doesn't seem that Marion wanted him coming round either. But Cavin persisted.
So Nardo rigged up a deadly trap for Cavin. He connected a concealed pistol to a 'No Trespassing' sign. When Cavin tried to take the sign down, which Nardo guessed that he would because he had torn down previous signs, it triggered the gun to fire, killing Cavin.
Nardo was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 4 to 15 years.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Jan14, 1935
Sayre Evening Times - Jan 17, 1935 (It says in the caption here that Marion was 17, but every other source I've found says she was 27)
Back in 1930, George Kinder of Milwaukee set a record for endurance bowling. He bowled for 50 hours 20 mins, rolling 362 ½ games. He had to quit because "his thumb was badly split, blistered and torn, and he couldn't grasp the ball."
Courier News - Jan 13, 1930
41 years later, Richard Dewey of Kansas City set a new endurance record. He bowled for 98 hrs 45 mins, rolling 1220 games. But Dewey also had to quit because of injuries:
During his four days on the lanes, Dewey suffered a sprained right arm, severe blisters and swollen fingers. To overcome the problem of the sprained arm, he alternated arms, throwing left, then right-handed. To take the pressure off swollen and blistered fingers, his eight-pound bowling ball was drilled out every 20 hours. But after he was unable to stop the bleeding from his fingers, officials said enough was enough.
Oh, it's not beer, despite coming from Monarch Brewing--it's just a healthy Malt Tonic!
As this site says of a similar brand from the same period: "the concoction—actually just simple beer with the addition of honey—was advertised as a 'liquid food' for the treatment of various ailments, from insomnia to 'old age' to 'expectant motherhood.'"
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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