Those Dancing Visions Of What?

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

‘Tis the season and I got a hankerin’ for some eggnog. Grandma used to make it and it was Boiled Custard or the thick pre-frozen version of homemade ice cream.

But when I went to a number of grocery stores, I was astounded to find that the sweet holiday drink was almost $5 a half gallon. What could account for the high price? Egg prices due to the bird flu? Milk prices because Bossy isn’t letting down her milk? Sugar prices are not the cause as I routinely buy the reasonably priced triglyceride enhancer. Is it insurrection in those middle Asian countries where vanilla beans grow? A drug cartel cornering the market on nutmeg?

Well, the cartel can keep the nutmeg as I am not so keen on it anyway.

So I’m thinking, if my grandma and my mom made eggnog back in the day, why can’t I? Some milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla and I could have my own custom homemade eggnog. Or nog-nog as an anonymous brother called it in his youth.

But that started the gears turning in my way-back machine.

There was a time well over a half-century ago I tried my untrained hand at making eggnog.

I got out the copper-bottomed pot Mom always used, put it on the stove over a low heat burner and cracked three eggs into it. As I fetched the milk and sugar, I began to hear the distinctive sound of breakfast eggs frying.

I quickly pulled the pot off the stove and poured in the milk and stirred it up.

I didn’t know you could fry eggs in a pot. In the logic and visual experience of an eight-year-old’s mind, I only thought they fried in a skillet.

I figured an egg is an egg whether it is boiled, fried, poached, or baked in cakes or cookies. (And knowing I would catch thunder for being wasteful if I threw it out.) So I continued with my novice Betty Crocker quest adding sugar and vanilla. And probably too much of each.

I cooked & stirred and stirred & cooked the concoction until steam began to roll up into the kitchen. At that point I guessed the process was done and the elixir needed to cool before it was truly eggnog. So I covered the pot and sat it on the back porch to cool as there was no room in the inn…I mean refrigerator.

I wasn’t too concerned about salmonella as, back then, I couldn’t pronounce it, spell it, or know what a bad thing it was in under cooked eggs

Of course, being youthful, inexperienced and impatient to taste my creation, I took my glass outside and poured off a generous sample. It was lukewarm, sweet and sort of like what my matriarchs made. However, the texture of chunks of partially fried eggs could still be felt dancing around my tongue.

I was content with my first venture of cooking hopefully with the passing of time, Mother has forgotten the mess I left in her kitchen.

It wasn’t until many years later that I became enlightened to the adult beverage amendments that could be added to eggnog to make the party merrier.

So as I leave you with a story of my culinary youth, let us hope that a more contemporary effort at homemade eggnog goes better. But if it doesn’t, we can always add more rum or bourbon until it does.