One year I hosted a Holiday party at my house. It was a while ago, a lifetime long before I ever dreamed of blogging about food (was there really ever such a time?) so I've forgotten much of what I made and served to my guests.
However, I do remember that it was the first (and last?) time I ever made eggnog.
It wasn't the first time I had consumed eggnog. I had imbibed the sweet, creamy, bourbon-spiked stuff many times before in blissful ignorance because either someone else had concocted it and served it to me, or it was store-bought.
However, it was after that first time of making eggnog in my own kitchen with pints upon pints of whole milk and heavy cream, cupfuls of sugar and more than a dozen raw eggs, that I realized that eggnog is kind of totally nasty. There is nothing wrong with eggs, but the eggs in eggnog are raw.
Raw. I know there is very little chance of complication from raw eggs, but despite the statistics, the fact is that I have been brainwashed in multiple cycles about the danger of consuming raw eggs. Of course, there are ways to avoid the problem by “cooking” eggnog which itself is a different problem entirely because it immediately turns my imagination to liquid scrambled eggs, but there is still the weighty issue of full fat cream and sugar.
And by "weighty," I mean, "Wait. Weight."
In slightly modified proportions, eggs, cream and sugar become ice cream. There's a reason we don't stand around the fireplace in fur bikinis and leg warmers doing mug-sized shots of melted ice cream. And yet, we will gulp down glass after glass of eggnog, in one evening consuming the calorie equivalent of a half-gallon tub of Ben & Jerry's, which doesn't exist, because if it did, people actually would stand in front of their freezers with the door open in the only pair of sweatpants that fit because the elastic shredded three years ago, eating that whole half gallon of delicious horror. With the only clean eating utensil in the drawer, a pair of chopsticks.
(I have never done that.)
Besides, doesn't the thought of eating melted ice cream gross you out?!?!
That is, if you can get the visual of a unpleasantly plump, pasty white food blogger in a fur bikini and horizontally striped leg warmers out of your head first.
So eggnog is something I don't-love. In fact, I completely swore it off after that Holiday party so many diets ago, and not a single drop of eggnog has crossed my lips since.
Then I met Granny.
"Sarah. Isn't that a Biblical name?"
Yes, Ma'am, it is.
Fifteen minutes later, I met Granny again.
"Sarah? Isn't that a Biblical name?"
Last we checked.
I met Granny for the first time, for the third time, last night.
Somewhere into the conversation about wearing her new Crocs because of "bunions," she stopped.
Nodding in my direction, she said to Aunt M, "She doesn't know what a bunion is. She doesn't speak our language."
She looked at me and enunciated every Southern syllable, "Do. You. Know. What. A. Bun-ee-yun. Is?"
I squoze the mug of eggnog that I had politely notdeclined in my lap with both hands.
I gulped down the entire glass.
[eggnog with Jameson at Christmas Dinner 2010, Charlottesville, CA]
The eggnog in the photo above was made by Uncle M for Christmas dinner last night. It is delicious. His recipe is a guarded family secret, though I do know that the liquor of choice is Jameson. The recipe below is the one I multiplied all those years ago, and also use to make Eggnog French Toast.
serves anywhere from 1 to 4, depending on, you know, how long you weight, recipe can be multiplied, obviously
½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup rum or whiskey (up to 3 cups)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling
Separate eggs into two bowls.
Beat the egg yolks until pale. Gradually add the sugar and beat until dissolved. Stir in milk, cream, alcohol and nutmeg. Chill until serving.
Just before serving, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add tablespoon of sugar and beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Whisk the egg whites into chilled eggnog, sprinkle with grated nutmeg, and serve.