Good morning, afternoon, evening, and good night to all of you out there. Thanks for stopping by the Guide. I apologize for the craziness of late. For those of you who are interested, I am waiting on surgery for my Father which should happen on December 6th. The holidays made it difficult to keep up my schedule. And trying to deal with everything at the same time became overwhelming at times. Thank you all for your encouragement and good words you sent out to me during this time. I have appreciated it more than you know. So this threw a couple of the series off pretty severely. I hope to get back on track this week with everything and so today we will bring back the best in fake food love with our food holiday series. As the Guide celebrates for the month of December, National Eggnog month.
The other day I was with a group of people at the Knott’s Merry Farm media day event where we were talking about Egg Nog. What shocked me was hearing from one woman there who said she had never had Egg Nog before. How could someone grow up without having Eggnog? Then I thought to myself about my experiences with the delicious drink. When I grew up drinking Egg Nog we did not drink it from a carton. We made the Eggnog the old fashion way with Eggs, Vanilla, Milk, Nutmeg, and some sugar or Ice Cream if we wanted to raise the bar. The fresh drink dazzled as it tickled your taste buds. But then things changed.
While in the past, we had fresh egg nog on at least a once a month basis, concerns with salmonella poisoning scared us into not making it anymore. It’s not that you couldn’t make it in the house, but then you had to work on heating up the mixture to just the right temperature, making sure not to turn your drink into scrambled egg milk. Buying the carton just seemed easier. But this didn’t suffice.
We just did not like the Eggnog from the carton in the same way. And we slowly stopped drinking the seasonal favorite. Whether too much sugar or too much cream, the Eggnog lost something in translation. Maybe some people grew up with it, and could appreciate it. It would be something like someone growing up with canned fruit in syrup. They might love it. But for my family and I who grew up with fresh fruit, when we tried to eat the syrupy mess they call fruit in cans we would get nauseous. I cannot tell you what it would be like for others but this represented our experience.
And, over the years, other people have upped their Eggnog game as they developed better methods for making it. With an increasingly diverse clientele, people who wanted to sell this drink had to come up with more health conscious methods for making this beverage. And so with time and trial, the versions of Eggnog at the store have improved. Maybe they do not match the drink of my childhood, but it’s close enough to make me smile every holiday season when these begin to sell these beverages again.
For those in the know, the Guide cannot settle with giving you our take on the golden delicious drink which comes around every holiday season. Oh no! We have to take it one step farther. We need to bring to you the fake food history behind this sumptuous drink. Which means, once again, it’s time to go into the dark jungles of the deep web, avoiding the purveyors of disinformation to give you all the fake food history that’s fit to print. (Wait. Was this the slogan for a former newspaper? Nah.) We delve into every nook and cranny until we have tortured all the good information and it comes out strange. It’s evolved history. Or something like that. So without further ado, the Guide presents to you the fake food history of Eggnog.
The Fake Food History Of Eggnog
Back in the good old days when Monks were throwing parties all night long and desperately in need of inventing alcoholics anonymous, they invented a drink called posset. Basically, this consisted of warming up the milk and adding some kind of an alcoholic mixture to it. Whether this was whiskey or rum was always up for debate. What wasn’t up for debate was the silky texture created when the alcohol would ferment the warm milk.
This was done for hundreds of years until one monk named Noggin, helping deal with the chickens on the farm, came up with an idea. Normally, Noggin would be working out in the vineyard, helping to prepare the wine for mass. But this Sunday he was forced to get the eggs in from the barn as Father Macias had one too many glasses of posset the night before. Normally they would give the priests tomato juice to help out with the hangover they would get in the morning. But it just so happens that they had shipped out the last of their tomatoes to a village desperately in need of produce.
So Noggin thought and thought. And while he was grabbing the eggs and putting them in his basket a dog ran by and bit him on the arm. He screamed loudly and then realized that it was just Rufus their pet boxer who wanted to play with him. And Rufus shed. He shed like no other dog Noggin had witnessed. His fur would puff out when it got a little damp. It was strange for a dog’s hair to not get matted and flat after being wet. But this got him to thinking about the eggs he had in the basket.
He knew that eggs, especially uncooked, would thicken up they were put in. And he knew that giving the priest a little more of the posset would probably help him with the hangover, although maybe not in the way one would expect. Between the alcohol and the thickened drink, he could pass it off as medicine and no one would know the wiser.
So he took some of the warmed posset they had and added the eggs to it and brought it into the priest with his little bit of bread and cheese they provided. He also made sure to bring in his talisman from St. Bibiana. (Patron saint of hangovers.) The priest nearly spat out the drink as soon as he put it into his mouth with how thick it was. It wasn’t the posset he was used to. But it seemed to grow on him over time. And by the time he finished it off, he had to know what Noggin used for this posset.
Noggin walked in with his fellow monk David. (Not all monks have crazy names so quit thinking that.) He was talking about how he came up with the drink for the priest and how Rufus hair had inspired him thus. Father Macias jumped up from his bed as soon as he heard the two of them walking in.
“So what was the strange medicinal drink you gave me? And how did you think to create it?” Father Macias inquired.
“Well,” Noggin replied, “I gave you the hair of the dog that bit me.”
David laughed and then Noggin laughed at the inside joke he had told. But Father Macias seemed to want to have nothing to do with that and he growled at Noggin. Noggin saw pretty quickly that he would have to answer for this. So Noggin cleared his throat before he began speaking.
“I added eggs to your posset, Father.”
“Well it was quite good, my son,” the Father retorted. “What do you wish to call it?”
“I don’t know, Father. You can name it as I had no idea what to call it.”
“How about . . . how about . . . Egg Noggin.”
All three of them laughed and agreed that it would never stick as the name for this drink. But the Father started passing this off as a medicinal drink for when the winter became cold and many priests and monks were down with the flu. And it stuck, both the use and the name of the drink. Well . . . all except the gin at the end. And no one complained at that because there definitely was no gin in this drink.
Eggnog, as we know it today, was mostly for the upper class of the time. But this changed as they brought this drink to the Americas. When Rum became so much cheaper to produce then Eggnog made its way from the highest of societies to the lowest of taverns. Everyone had the opportunity to drink this amazing drink. Of course, they would eventually add more sweeteners, swap out half the milk for cream and add spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. But no one can deny the widespread popularity during the holidays. And for Monk Noggin on every Christmas make sure to raise a glass to everyone’s health. Because the drink was really just some hair of the dog that bit the Monk. And it is good medicine, indeed.
So what did you think of the history of Eggnog? Would you be worried about having to cook up the eggs to pasteurize them properly? Or are you willing to risk it for that old fashioned Eggnog you cannot have any other way? Whatever way you prefer it, we here at the Guide want to make sure you get to take home something with you, other than some virus that makes you drink a strange eggy mixture.
As with everything, we make sure to give you either a recipe or a place where the best of that food item can be had. Given the limitations on Eggnog, and the fear that some would have to serve this drink in their eating establishments and being threatened with closure for an outbreak of food poisoning (Think Chipotle if you do not think this is possible.), we could not find five places where it would easily be procured.
We decided then to give you our best non-alcoholic recipe for the drink. You are always welcome to add the alcohol in later if you like. And, if you are afraid of food poisoning, there are ways to prevent this from happening, but it will not be the best of all possible Eggnog drinks. So without further ado the Guide presents to you our favorite Eggnog Recipe.
And who else would I get it from but Alton Brown, the king of food history and crazy recipes? If you haven’t checked him out, he’s a definite must when it comes to learning everything you can about food. Because you have to love the food science of it all.
Favorite Eggnog Recipe
4 egg yolks
1 pint whole milk
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved.
Add the milk, cream, and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks.
With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture.
Chill and serve.
As you see, it’s easy peasy. And if you are more adult you can add 1 ¼ ounces of dark rum a 1 ¼ ounces of bourbon and watch your adult guests smile with glee. They will thank you. Just make sure they stay a while or are using Uber on the ride home.
If you want to make sure you are completely safe, you can heat up things to make it better. The following makes eggnog but cooks out the impurities:
Instructions For Cooked Egg Nog
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color.
Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.
Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.
Remove from the heat, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.
Continue The Conversation –
So what did you think of the history of the Eggnog? Would you be willing to try out such a drink as medicine? What is your favorite drink for when you aren’t feeling well? And what is your favorite drink of the holidays? I would love to hear from you as always. Please share your favorite holiday beverages.
If you have enjoyed this post, please check out some of the other fun-filled posts that cover a panoply of food holiday madness. You will learn something new and possibly pick up some great recipes or learn of some great places to get this food. And who doesn’t love food? We just had a huge food holiday to be thankful for. Also, like this post, and please follow me here at the Guide. All subscribers via email will be given access to the Dad Rules. These are ten rules that every father should follow. Thanks for stopping by. And thank you so much for your thoughts and good wishes during this holiday season. You are an inspiration to me.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life