KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Nog
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Monterey Market: Always Worth A Visit!
Cook by the Book: Let's Cook Japanese!
Bliss at Golden Gate Bakery
Vocal Local: Jen Maiser
Kitchen Vogue: A Taste of Luxury
What Else You Can Do with Leftovers
gobble gobble: what to do with your thanksgiving l...
Meet Amy Kaneko
The Cost of the Average American Thanksgiving
Eating Family Style
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Friday, November 30, 2007

It's getting to be that special time of year again. I will leave the reasons behind its specialness open to interpretation. Holiday party invitations start showing up in one's mailbox the moment the turkey baster has been dried and tucked away in a drawer. Concurrently, this is the time of year when egg nog starts to muscle its way into your local supermarket's dairy case.

Egg Nog. It's a heart-stopping, cholesterol-laden, alcohol-spiked, phlegm-producing cup of Holiday goodness. And I'm a huge fan. I always have been.

As a child, the appeal was obvious; what eight year-old is going to say no to a sweet, creamy dairy product? I imagined I was drinking melted nutmeg ice cream. Given the ingredients, I didn't know how close to the mark I was. I would drink several glasses at holiday gatherings. If I accidentally got into the rum-spiked nog for adults (which was understandable since the crystal punch bowl full of alcoholic nog looked exactly like the cardboard carton that contained the booze-free liquid), so much the better. Open a container, pour out its contents, mix in a little rum, and get the party started. Egg nog punch is that simple. Or was, until I had my first taste of the real stuff.

It wasn't until I was well into adulthood that my family would pay a call on my stepmother's friend Charlene and her family, who had a sort of open house party every Christmas Eve. The house was always dressed to the teeth in holiday drag, complete with a sort of Christmas-on- Main-Street, U.S.A. recreation in miniature spread out over the tables in the living room and onto the grand piano. I'd peek into the tiny cellophane windows looking for any signs of domestic unhappiness or violence, but was invariably disappointed in my search. Booze-spiked cocktail wieners, prawns, and every kind of dip imaginable were there for the taking, and our hosts were always warm and in a festive mood, which is just the thing my family needs during the holidays. For me, the two main attractions of the party were the Presentation of the Egg Nog, and the Wheeling-in of Grandpa. This quiet old gentleman was missing one of his legs and an eye. At least, I assume he was missing an eye since he wore an eye patch. This in itself is nothing unusual, since it it very likely that he suffered from diabetes, though I never asked. What I always found interesting was the fact that he was always parked against the wall near the center of the main room, slightly to the right of a parrot cage, which hung near (but wisely not over) the dessert table. He was, to me, a sort of pirate centerpiece to the party.

The Presentation of the Egg Nog was not a heralded event, but one I always watched with interest. Charlene and her husband Bill would be in the kitchen fussing over the bowl, stirring in something here, adding a little nutmeg there. They'd do a little tasting, adjust favoring, do a little more tasting, add more booze, then Charlene would pick up the enormous bowl and walk it to the buffet table very carefully, the whitecaps of stiffened egg white gently rising and falling against the sides. When her mission had been successfully accomplished, people would grab their cups and huddle around the bowl, waiting their turn to dip in. It was a revelation, in terms of my nog-drinking experience. It was fresh and frothy. I finally understood where the egg part of egg nog came in-- the subtle yellow coloring from yolks beaten without mercy, the foam of egg whites folded in for body. It ruined my enjoyment of store-bought nog forever.

I won't assume that all three of you reading this have ever tried homemade egg nog. If you haven't, and you don't have problems consuming dairy, cholesterol or alcohol, I say go ahead and try it. It's really, really good. And you only get it once a year, so drink up.

Egg Nog

The rumor behind the word "nog" is that it derived from the English word "noggin"; a small, carved, wooden mug used to serve drinks in various taverns. The full name of this beverage might have been "egg and grog in a noggin", which does not sound especially appetizing. There also seems to be some disagreement as to whether the beverage is spelled as one word or two. I like two, it sounds more important that way.


4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rum, bourbon, or whatever poison you prefer
4 egg whites


1. Beat egg yolks until pale yellow in color. Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar until it is totally dissolved.

2. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine milk, cream, and nutmeg and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and temper the hot milk mixture into the eggs and sugar. Return everything to the pot and cook until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat, stir in alcohol and extract, pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl and chill in your refrigerator.

3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add one tablespoon of sugar as you beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk egg whites into chilled mixture.

4. Put your now fresh and somewhat safe beverage in the noggin or vessel of your choice and drink up.

Labels: , , ,



Blogger shuna fish lydon said...


I LOVE that photo! Zow, really nice.

ps I hear through an inside source that Ici (ice cream shop on the Berkeley/Oakland border) will be making Egg Nog ice cream soon... !

11/30/2007 9:40 AM

Anonymous weegee said...

I am not a big egg nog fan but that may be due to the fact that I never had the real thing...I usually think of it as sickly sweet and nauseating...I am curious to see if I would like it using this recipe. btw...I really laughed hard at the Wheeling-in of Grandpa to showcase him as a Pirate centerpiece...conjured up Munsters memories...

11/30/2007 10:19 AM

Blogger Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic said...

Mitchell's Ice Cream (my eternal choice of the frozen and creamy) has egg nog ice cream every year at this time. We always have to invest in a half gallon at this time of year.

Delicious piece, Michael.

11/30/2007 10:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm...I agree, fresh home made egg nog is the best, however, I like to cool my custard mixture first before adding the booze. Then fold in whites. Cheers!

11/30/2007 12:46 PM

Blogger cmrosa said...

Gorgeous photo, must try the recipe. The little letters remind me of those valentine's day hearts. Inspired!

11/30/2007 6:56 PM

Blogger Kelli of FoodieBytes.com said...

I love egg nog, even the grocery store variety (well, a GOOD grocery store variety, that is. Ahem.)

Now, I am very jealous that I have never had a "proper" egg nog.

12/01/2007 1:45 PM

Blogger Michael Procopio said...

Shuna-- Thanks! I had fun taking that photo...

Ice Cream? Mmmmm Ici or Mitchell's, I'd love to try then both!

WeeGee-- Give the real stuff a try. The beauty of it is that you can make it as sweet as you like, or do not like. Musters... well, if there was a Musters episode where everyone looked like Marilyn Munster (which might induce it's own form of horror)... Actually, the group of folks at those Christmas Eve parties could not have been nicer or better hosts.

Anonymous-- I like your idea of adding the booze AFTER cooling. I will do that next time.

CMR-- I'm glad you liked the photo, too!

Kelli-- I still occasionally take of tipple of the store-bought stuff, too, if it is within my reach. I remember actually pouring the stuff over my Cheerios as a child when left unattended (which was quite often).

12/06/2007 1:21 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.