- Todd English born (1960)
The Egg Nog Egg Cream: A Holiday Compromise
Recipe of the day
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It's the happiest time of the year. Yes, I love Christmas. Only problem is...I'm Jewish. Mom would never give in and let us have a tree. I tried to sell it as a Hanukkah bush but no sale. When I married my Catholic-born wife, the best part of our first tiny apartment on 13th Street were the 15 foot ceilings leaving plenty of room for me to place the star atop our 12 foot tree. Even my mother liked it.
With the birth of my daughter, Christmas became really special. Feeling a bit of adult/parent (Jewish) guilt about not preserving my heritage, I tried to sell our beautiful Menorah to our daughter as something equally beautiful and celebratory as our Christmas tree. Again, no sale. I even found some 3D glasses that made the lights of the candles appear as three dimensional dreidels. My daughter trained the 3D glasses on the Christmas tree instead, and the blinking lights became blinking dreidels. I finally had my Hanukkah bush but I still wanted the best of both worlds.
My dear wife, feeling sorry for me and wanting to broaden our daughter's perspective, has created a family tradition of serving latkes (using my grandmother's recipe) with lox every Hanukkah, which my daughter loves. So I figured I could introduce some Judaism through her stomach while demonstrating that Christian and Jewish culture can be combined. That was the inspiration for the Egg Nog Cream which I hoped would make the perfect beverage to pair with the latkes and lox.
Short of making your own, Ronny Brook Farms' Egg Nog in the glass bottle is the greatest egg nog money can buy. Combining it with Fox's-U-Bet chocolate syrup (look for the kosher variety made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup) and seltzer was either going to be a shandeh and a cardinal sin, or it would produce something greater than the two...like my daughter herself.
I filled a mug with a little egg nog, then squirted a healthy helping of chocolate syrup followed by alternating layers of seltzer and more egg nog. All the while I stirred vigorously with a long spoon so as to achieve the perfect mix while getting the requisite white frothy head.
The first taste was a little off-putting. This was, after all, an egg cream with actual egg in it, something no self-respecting Jew would ever dream of adding to a genuine egg cream. The second sip was better as the somewhat salty bubbly seltzer combined with the cinnamon and nutmeg and the chocolate came to rest in the thick viscous cream of the egg nog.
Neither my daughter nor my wife liked my Egg Nog Cream/Egg Cream Nog, but I wanted to spread some Hanukkah cheer to all of you out there who, like me, celebrate both holidays. Merry Hanukkah and Happy Christmas to all!
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