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thinking about home-made/scratch egg nog...

Saturday, December 24, 2016
...which also means I have been thinking about my dad today. He loved to tell about being a small boy and having to use a wire whip to beat the egg whites when his mom made egg nog. This is, I am sure, before the era of electric mixers, so you had to beat and beat and beat to get the whites ready to fold into the yolks (which were also beat half to death.).

I am guessing you would use at least a dozen eggs, first separating white from yolk - if you are going to make the nog, you might as well make enough to reward yourself for the effort involved. I was telling someone today that I grew up in a 'dry' county, meaning you could not purchase hard liquor, and I expect beer was scarce.  It is likely there was plenty of the illegal stuff, made in the woods, or someone's abandoned barn, using recycled fifty-five gallon drums, and filtered through a dirty secondhand auto radiator. The sort of bootleg stuff that is so potent it is caustic to human plumbing.

The story I heard from my dad is that his mom with sit him on the kitchen table (probably before the advent of counter tops or cabinets  for storing utensils/pots and pans.) Give him a bowl of egg whites and tell  him to start beating with a wire whip. He said he felt like his arm would fall off his body, it seemed to take so long, be such a tedious task. When the egg whites are stiff enough to form peaks, it is time to gently fold into the well beaten yolks.

Yes, I know this sounds like a recipe for salmonella. And spending the rest of the holiday in the ER.

Then he had to beat and beat and beat the whipping cream to fold into the egg mixture before they slowly, one tablespoon at the time, added the bourbon. Cannot say what sort of alcoholic beverage was included in the recipe from Grandmother Rosa's kitchen, but it could have been sherry or a more seriously disabling ingredient. My dad had a bottle that lived in the closet, and only came out when it was time to make fruitcake or eggnog. You had to know where to look in the darkest recesses of the closet to find it. Not easily located, in case the Baptists might come to visit.

I have a very clear memory of making egg nog with my dad, after I became an adult. Watching him separate the eggs, giving me the bowl of whites to beat till they would form stiff peaks (with a hand-held electric mixer), slowly adding granulated sugar. While he is beating the yolks with a big stand mixer, giving me to eagle eye so I don't quit too soon. Watching him whip the heavy cream, and then methodically fold it all together. Slowly, one tablespoon (per egg) adding the 'oh-be-joyful' to the egg mixture, dribbling in the amber colored liquid, to keep it from separating.

Given a glass full,with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top, that was so thick a spoon would stand up in it. And having it be such a powerful taste, with that little tablespoon of whiskey, it would make me cringe. Sadly, my small-town definition of egg nog was the stuff that comes in the waxed carton from the dairy case, about the consistency of heavy cream, loaded with sugar, and a sprinkling of spices to add a nog'ish flavor.

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