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Eggnog (and other holiday memories)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical, short

The other day, I opened a bottle of pre-made eggnog. (Eggnog with alcohol, in case you were wondering.) Strangely enough, it brought back memories of my childhood. What memories? Well, when I was young, my parents regularly threw a party which they to which they assigned the politically incorrect name [1] of Jews eat and drink; Christians decorate the tree; choose your religion for the evening. So many aspects of that party flit through my brain, from the attendees who believed that you should hang tinsel one strand at a time to my father’s tendency to purchase the tree at the last possible moment. I also recall the struggles mom and I had after dad died, dealing with a few too-tall trees, particularly getting them in the stand. And, of course, there were the times that one of the dogs [2] knocked over the tree. Mom had some beautiful goose egg ornaments that seemed to decrease in number each year because of damage [3].

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. Eggnog. One of the long-time attendees at the party, Michael S, always brought eggnog that he made. This was the days before people worried about salmonella [4], and he generally let the eggnog mellow for two weeks before the party. I expect that the quantities of bourbon and whiskey that were in the eggnog also kept down the dangers. When I think of eggnog, I think of Michael S’s eggnog. My memories of the taste are not exact, but I look for the smooth mixture of whipped cream and eggs along with the bite of the alcohol.

Middle Son is talking about making real eggnog again this year. He’s decided that he can use his sous vide device to pasteurize the eggs while keeping them liquid. We’ll see. I suppose we could also try to get local eggs, which I think are less likely to have salmonella. I expect that we’ll use the eggnog recipe in our family’s favorite cookbook, a late 1950’s edition of Fannie Farmer. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with.

Postscript: I wonder what Michael S. is doing these days. What I remember most about him, other than the eggnog, is that he drove a Lotus [6] and that he was in a motorcycle gang of DEC [7] engineers who called themselves the roving gonads [9] and regularly went out as a group for Chinese food. I had some great dinners with them [10].

[1] Description?

[2] Sax was an Airedale-mutt mix; the shape and coloring of an Airedale, but with straight hair and perhaps a bit larger than the typical Airedale. Phoenix was a Tibetan terrier: small, black and stupid.

[3] The last one got broken last year. Michelle and the kids worked really hard to glue it back together. It’s back on the tree this year.

[4] Or Sam and Ella [5].

[5] Or Sam and Janet evening.

[6] At least when it was working. Lotus-brand sports cars are notably finicky.

[7] Digital Equipment Corporation [8].

[8] It was DEC, now it’s RIP.

[9] Yes, they had women in the group. As the party name suggests, it was a time when people were less worried about the language they used.

[10] At times, I look back at parts of my childhood and ask myself, What were my parents thinking?

Version 1.0 of 2019-12-09.