20 December 2009


Who makes eggnog anymore?

Well, if you never have and do, you will never be satisfied with the store-bought concoctions again. The richness and flavor will win you over forever -- and it's not hard to make. Of the many recipes out there, here is one that recently appeared in The New York Times:


Adapted from "The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking" (Scribner)

Time: 20 minutes plus one hour's chilling


6 fresh egg yolks

1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 cups good quality bourbon

1 cup cream

1 1/2 cups milk

6 fresh egg whites

Pinch sea salt

1 nutmeg.


1. In an electric mixer or by hand, whisk together egg yolks and  3/8 cup confectioners' sugar until light, dense, and mixture forms a ribbon trail when whisk is lifted. While whisking, very slowly add 1 cup bourbon. Cover this mixture, and refrigerate for one hour.

2. Whisk in remaining bourbon, then beat in cream and milk. Add  1/2 cup more milk if it is too thick. In another bowl, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt, until fluffy. Slowly add remaining confectioners' sugar while whisking; keep whisking until whites are shiny and hold firm but not stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.

3. To serve, ladle eggnog into small cups — demitasse cups would work well — making sure to get some foam on each. Grate a little nutmeg on top of each.

(I prefer allspice to nutmeg.)

Yield: 8 servings.

* * *

History [from Wikipedia]:

The origins, etymology, and even the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog, or a very similar drink, may have originated in East Anglia, England, though it may also have been developed from posset (a medieval European beverage made with hot milk). An article by Nanna Rögnvaldsdóttir, an Icelandic food expert, states that the drink adopted the "nog" part of its name from the word "noggin", a Middle English term used to describe a small, wooden, carved mug used to serve alcohol. Another name for this British drink was Egg Flip. Yet another story is that the term derived from the name "egg-and-grog", a common Colonial term used to describe rum. Eventually the term was shortened to "egg'n'grog", then "eggnog".

The ingredients for the drink were too expensive and uncommon for the lower classes, but it was popular among the aristocracy. "You have to remember, the average Londoner rarely saw a glass of milk," says author and historian James Humes (To Humes It May Concern, July 1997). "There was no refrigeration, and the farms belonged to the big estates. Those who could get milk and eggs to make eggnog mixed it with brandy or Madeira or even sherry."

The drink crossed the Atlantic to the English colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products helped the drink become very popular in America. When the supply of rum to the newly-founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey—and eventually bourbon in particular—as a substitute.

06 December 2009

Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe

Recently published, Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe, is both a food and travel book, beautifully produced by National Geographic:

"Every cuisine tells a unique story about its countryside, climate, and culture, and in these pages you'll meet the men and women who transform nature's bounty into a thousand gustatory delights."

From Barnes & Noble:

"This appetizing dish is the latest installment in the popular National Geographic series that includes Journeys of a Lifetime and Sacred Places of a Lifetime. Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe might be the ultimate self-indulgence for an armchair traveler with culinary inclinations. This profusely illustrated, holiday-sized pictorial takes you a far-ranging, fancy-free tour of the best destinations on earth to find individual cuisines. True to expectations, the National Geographic editors don't target just five-star restaurants and world-renowned chefs; they also pinpoint off-the-beaten path cafés and eateries."

Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe
by  National Geographic
320 pages, 350 color photographs
8 7/8" x 11 3/4"
Pub. Date: October 2009

Available at bookstores and online at Barnes and Noble

World's Most Extravagant Meals

Want to treat someone special to an extraordinary repast for the holidays? Money no object of course.
Here are a few suggestions from a recent article, "World's Most Extravagant Meals", in Forbes. Tough choices.

"To create our list of the world's 11 most extravagant and lavish dining experiences, we tapped luxury experts such as concierges and travel consultants, and culled luxury blogs and newspaper headlines to come up with a list of dining experiences deemed exclusive by virtue of their exorbitant price or their limited access."

Read the entire article at Forbes.