Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2007

We love eggnog

December 6, 2007

When we were kids, my mom made us eggnog from scratch.

The eggs were from our own chickens and the raw milk from Zoll's Diary. Ben Zoll and his daughters or nephews delivered our fresh milk before we were up in the morning and put it on our front porch, so we knew it was good. The cream always rose to the top of the quart bottle, and on cold nights it would freeze and raise the cap up into the air a couple of inches.

Now eggnog is considered a seasonal treat, and I wonder why it is that way? To me it would be good all year long. I guess if it were that way, it would lose some of its holiday charm. Besides that, it is very fattening. For this reason we feel we can indulge ourselves once a year. You can see it on the store shelves in late November through December and into the first week of the new year.

The origin of the word "eggnog" in unclear. The word "nog" comes from the word "noggin" which was a small wood mug used in taverns in England. Just put the egg drink in a small nog and you get eggnog.

Some say the word nog is slang for rum or rum drinks. The British before eggnog made a hot drink called "Posset" made of egg, milk, and ale or wine. In Europe before refrigeration, the milk and egg mixture had to be consumed immediately. Then they started adding brandy, wine or sherry, that way extending the life of this drink. This was very popular among the "upper" classes.

Capt. John Smith reported that the Jamestown settlers made eggnog in 1607. President George Washington was an eggnog fan and made his own hearty variety. The American colonists replaced ale or wine with rum, which was less expensive because it was imported from the nearby Caribbean.

When I worked at the All Star Diary in the late '60s and early '70s, I would make 500-gallon batches at a time. I would open dozens of gallons of eggnog mix and add to the milk. The mix had a strong rum flavoring, but I always added more stabilizer, which was in powdered form because I liked it better with more viscosity.

So enjoy your eggnog, and we will work off the extra pounds with our New Year's resolutions.

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