Diet Coke and Mentos " a viable fuel alternative? |

Diet Coke and Mentos " a viable fuel alternative?

Special to the Daily
Summit County, CO
Keely Brown

Alright, this one falls into the category of “Bet you didn’t know that.” If you’re making a cake, and you don’t have any eggs and cooking oil, did you know that you can throw in a can of your favorite cola instead?

I found this out yesterday when I was trying to figure out how to make use of the 20 boxes of cake mix I got last January. The reason I have 20 boxes, for those of you who might be wondering, is because they were on sale after Christmas for a quarter apiece at one of our Summit County grocery stores.

I admit that I went a little hog wild when I grabbed 20 boxes, but since I have never seen anything, anywhere, at any time in Summit County that can be purchased for a quarter, I figure my overreaction was somewhat justified.

The only problem is, with the price of eggs and cooking oil doubling over the last few months, I’ve still got about 15 boxes left to get through. At least, I’ve still got a year before the expiration date ” by which time, no doubt, eggs will be up to the price they were when the South was under siege and blockade during the Civil War.

So yesterday, when I decided that a pineapple-upside-down cake would be a tasty treat, I retrieved two boxes of mix and had already dumped them into my mixing bowl before I recalled that my kitchen, which has recently taken an economic down-turn ” in spite of our rulers denying that one exists ” was not only egg-less, but oil-less as well. Being a modern cook, I rushed to the computer, where I read about the can of soda substitution trick.

Unfortunately, it also called to my mind the great Mentos/Diet Coke experiment, where if you put a Mentos mint into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke (and yes, it has to be diet, sorry, aspartame vigilantes) the whole thing will erupt like a volcano.

No joke ” it’s even become a scientific experiment, thanks to Denver-based science guru Steve Spangler, who has become something of a celebrity by conducting this experiment on several national TV shows.

I have to admit, when I poured two cans of Pepsi Max into my Pillsbury cake batter I was afraid the whole thing might explode ” especially when the top layer started to bubble suspiciously. I had visions of myself and Tabitha the Cat (who was wisely hiding under the bed) being blown to bits, our tattered and furry remains scattered across Vail Pass.

It seemed rather a pathetic way to go, and I was beginning to regret having purchased the 13 remaining boxes of cake mix, even at a quarter apiece.

But my caffeine cake turned out just fine ” so good, in fact, that it made me go online and do a little research on that classic cookbook, “Cooking with Dr. Pepper.” Early editions featured a Dr. Pepper molded aspic studded with green olives, and a Dr. Pepper-pot goulash. Yum.

After all, we’re at a point where soda pop is cheaper than necessary dietary staples, so we should probably make the most of this. And yes, you may feel free to add your own social commentary about this current state of affairs.

But, when the Pepsi Max bubbles subsided and my cake calmed down in the oven, it got me to thinking: Doesn’t it seem like there must be some way to use Diet Coke and Mentos as a viable fuel alternative?

I mean, couldn’t that level of explosive power be configured to create some type of jet propulsion, which in turn could power trains, planes and automobiles?

Nobody wants to drink aspartame these days anyway, so it would be a good use for a probably soon-to-be-obsolete food additive. And if this proves to be a successful endeavor, then perhaps company executives at Mentos would be encouraged to give their creepy commercials a much-needed overhaul.

Just think of it. The Mentos-Coke Mobile could be the automobile of the future.

It, as they say, is a thought.

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