Dreaming of Captain Kangaroo and Chocolate Rum Pie

bob-keeshan-captain-kangarooA couple days ago someone asked me, “How do you sleep at night?” and I responded, “Fine, thanks.”

Only later did it occur to me the woman was probably being snarky. Especially as we were discussing how overly involved some parents were and I said my kids didn’t have that problem, as most of the time they were lucky if I remembered I had kids.

And that was when she asked about my sleep habits. Which upon reflection was a pretty quick change in topic, so yeah… she was probably being snarky.

But since we’re on the subject of sleeping, the other night I had a dream where I traveled to Montana in a hot air balloon because I heard there was a pie shop there beyond good, and you know my views on pie, right?

Anyway, I landed the balloon expertly (of course), walked into the pie shop and who do you think is there but Captain Kangaroo himself!

He walks me over to a table, hands me the menu and says, “Come here often?”
It shocked me so much, I woke up immediately.

And why was this, you ask?

He pronounced the ‘t’ in often! Can you imagine? He said it like this: off-ten.

Jump to Recipe

I admit it’s something I hear from time to time, usually from younger people or non-native speakers, but from the Captain? I don’t think so!

Fact is, I watched Captain Kangaroo for most of my childhood and, dare I say it, my early teens as well. (Okay, fine, my late teens too.) Anyway, I’m fairly certain that if he was a hard ‘t’ speaker, I’d remember it.

Which makes me think my dream Captain is suffering from a case of Linguistic Insecurity. Sort of like I did when I heard a woman say balsamic vinegar, only she didn’t say it like I did, stressing the second syllable: bal-SAM-ic. Instead, she stressed the first: BALL-samic.

And I thought to myself, “Oh, so that’s how you pronounce it!” Because up ’til then, I had never heard it spoken. So from then on I said BALL-samic. Until I went to an Italian restaurant and ordered salad with BALL-samic dressing and the waiter said, “You mean bal-SAM-ic?” and I said, “uh… yeah.”

That’s what Linguistic Insecurity does to us, people. It shames us in front of snooty waiters.

bob_keeshan_hugh_brannum_captain_kangaroo_1960But back to the Captain. I’m thinking something similar must have happened to him. There he was, going about his life, chatting with Mr. Green Jeans, joking it up with Mr. Moose, and everyone dropped their t’s as off-un as they pleased.

Then one day the Captain encountered a man in a Montana pie shop who said, “Excuse me, Captain. By any chance does this establishment serve Chocolate Rum?” and the Captain says, “Why, yes! Yes we do!” and the Rummy says, “Well, I’ll buy a whole pie, then! One doesn’t get Chocolate Rum often!”

And the Captain walked away thinking to himself, “He pronounced the ‘t’ in often! Have I been saying it wrong all these years?” So from then on, Dream Captain began saying off-ten, right along with the Rummy.

Would I have stayed in the dream pie establishment longer, I might have learned if he decided to pronounce every ‘t’ in speech as a safeguard. As in:

Hark, now listen as I hasten to fasten the door left open too often, ’til the tables glisten and the ice cream softens, and yet will I whistle from now until Christmas.

Did you catch every ‘t’?
Read it again, this time out loud. I’ll wait…

This is what our poor Dream Captain is going through, people. Sad, isn’t it?

Now if you’re a person who regularly pronounces their t’s with abandon, please, don’t let anything I’ve written make you feel the slightest bit bad about it. I’m certain the letter T appreciates you, and far be it from me to make any member of our alphabet unhappy.

And for those of you who spent the better part of this post mentally going over your speech habits, wondering if in fact you pronounce the ‘t’ in often — relax. It’s not unheard of, and may in fact be hustling to wrestle the lead, as it appears to have several apostles, however much the rest of us may bristle as we listen.

Chocolate Rum Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: seriously simple
  • Print

This is a very decadent, dark chocolate pie, and honestly not that hard to make. A real winner for the holidays! To make it even easier, you can use store bought crust, but taking the extra step of making a crumb crust makes for an impressive pie. There’s not much rum in this, but keep in mind the alcohol doesn’t cook out. If you’d rather skip it, simply add an extra 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

chocolate-rum-pieCookie Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker or cookie crumbs (I used Pepperidge Farm Chessmen, because I practice hedonistic baking)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter

Use a food processor or rolling pin to grind cookies and walnuts into very fine crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and press into a 9″ pie plate. Bake in 375° oven for 8 minutes. Let cool as you make the filling. (My crust shrank a bit during baking, so I used the back of a spoon to press it back up the sides while it was still warm. Worked like a charm.)


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon cornstarchslice-of-chocolate-rum-pie
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 package (10 oz.) dark chocolate chips (can use semi-sweet)
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Add eggs and a bit of milk, stir together until a smooth paste is formed. Add the rest of the milk and cream, stir with a whisk until fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking (and stirring) for two minutes. Remove from heat, add rum and vanilla, stir well. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate at least three hours.

Top with whipped cream and garnish with shaved chocolate or dust with cocoa. Eat often, for maximum pleasure.

23 thoughts on “Dreaming of Captain Kangaroo and Chocolate Rum Pie

  1. I go back even further than the Captain.. Soupy Sales.. maybe even Pinky Lee (Moses might remember him and his fine sartorial style), but what a great read thus was, and I will likely never again pronounce a hard “t” — that was exhausting! Great-sounding recipe, too!

  2. A delight from beginning to end. I laughed throughout because I have a history of pronouncing (or mispronouncing) words because that’s how I thought they should be said. I was flummoxed as a child that ‘receipt’ was pronounced the way it was. Learning to spell Bologna and Colonel was no easier. And I distinctly remember telling a music teacher how much I liked Chop-in’s music.

    I will be downloading that pie recipe (which I of-ten confused with the spelling of receipt, by the way) toot-suite!

    1. Thank you for the kind words, however you pronounced them!
      I heard somewhere that you should never make fun of someone who pronounces words wrong, because it means they learned them through reading. What a great point!

  3. C.J. Your delicious recipes are going to be the death of me! I watched the Captain, too. And as far that accent things goes, I’m from Rhode Island and people always make fun of how we pronounce things. We have a real tough skin so, no Linguistic Insecurity around heeyah. Sleep tight!

    1. I love me the sound of a New England accent! Actually, I can’t think of an accent I don’t like. I sometimes keep a conversation going longer than necessary just to hear a person talk.
      True story: we used to have a parent who was a real complainer (you know the type, right?). No one could stand talking to him, so I volunteered every time he showed up. Why? He was Australian and I LOVED his accent. 😀

  4. Mercy, how I’ve missed your posts while I’ve been out of range! Thank you for the recipe I now can’t stop craving, Christi. I’ve often been snookered into saying words the way I recently heard mispronounced. I figure a mess like me must’ve had it wrong all along. Another reason to prefer written language.

  5. Yikes, we’re in mid-recipe and I noticed the instructions for the filling say to add flour, but flour isn’t included (or how much) in the filling ingredients list. Help!!!

    1. Oops, big oops! Skip that! When I first made the pie I did a mix of cornstarch and flour, then decided it was better with only cornstarch – so proceed as is, no flour – I’ll make the correction. Thanks for the heads up! 😊

  6. Sweet! We went with cornstarch only too. And there was so much rum left over we sampled more ideas with it. Good, good juice. We’re so very happy – hic the pies are so pretty. Happy Thanksgiving, Christi-Poo! And best regards to Captain KangaRoo!

  7. Made two pies for Tday dinner; one with rum and one without, doubling the vanilla. They vanished, amid many oohs and aahs. Annnd it actually is easy & quick to make. Thanks Christi (and the Captain 😉

  8. Chocolate and dreams!! Ewwww-ma GAWD! We rarely remember them, but this is true. I lived in Pennsylvania for six or seven months a long time ago. No offense to anyone, but I hated it. Not long after I moved back to Texas (which a lot people hate as well, due to an overabundant supply of drooling politicians) I had this dream where I was escaping from Pennsylvania in an Amish farm wagon, hiding in the hay under a canvas cover. After a while I heard the driver start singing, and I threw the canvas cover off. The driver pulled his hoodie back and it was Burton Cummings, the lead singer of the Guess Who, singing “American Chocolate, get away from me-ee” to the riff from “American Woman.” I climbed up on the buckboard seat and started singing it with him. “No no, no now get away, get away American Chocolate…You’re no good for me, I’m no good for you…” It was another one of those so real, (surreal?) and so weird it woke me up dreams. Do think this means something, on some cosmic level? The Captain and Burt and chocolate? Nah…Well…

    1. Okay, now THAT’S a dream! Seriously, any dream that includes a soundtrack is one for the books.
      I know who woman who analyzes dreams for a living. Personally I think it’s a lot of hooey, but I’m sure she’d have a blast with that yarn – she may even do it for free! 😀

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s