Eggnog

If unicorns are the source of rainbows (see previous post) then eggnog must come from ferrets. If not ferrets then some other sort of small insidious mammal. (Minks, for instance. I hear they smell, too, although I may be confusing them with skunks). Ferrets are small, cute, furry, and bad tempered. I can personally attest to the fact that they bite. They are possibly also lazy, but this may be pure fiction on my part.

Eggnog has the viscosity of oil; thick enough that you could almost pinch it off
midstream, but then what would you do with the handful? Miniature Franz West replicas perhaps?  Or maybe replacement teeth  . . .

Teeth made from eggnog sounds conceptually engaging: a twist on the idea of the box filled with the sound of its own making: teeth formed from the material of their own destruction. There used to be a dentist’s office in downtown Boston with a giant plaster tooth in the front window. The tooth actually looked like a lesser West at an earlier transitional phase. The first ingredient listed on a carton of Garlelick Farms Egg Nog is “high fructose corn syrup”.

Eggnog is not the same as the (in my opinion) coyly named “milk punch”*. No eggs for one thing, or cream (but, yes, still booze). And you can’t buy it pre-made. I hear backbar has a nice version and I had a yummy one this summer at the bar at HIX. Milk punch has been around for several hundred years, as documented in recipes such as the one from the 1785 edition of  Mrs.Elizabeth Price’s The new, universal, and complete confectioner; being the whole art of confectionary made perfectly plain and easy. The frontespiece promises directions for “milk punch that will keep twenty years” but the actual recipes (one for “milk punch” and another for “milk punch for present drinking”) guarantee potability for only “ a fortnight’s time”. Both recipes call for large amounts of water, milk, lemon juice, brandy, and some sugar. I am not sure whether the 20 year promise is a mis-print or a case of false advertising.

The Germans have a variant of eggnog made with beer. I find this repellent but not surprising. Germans make very good cameras and bridges, but food: eh, not so much, to paraphrase Borat. Their drink is called Biersuppe and it apparently contains beer, cinnamon, egg yolks, sugar, milk and bits of bread. The proud Germans have made a number of videos detailing its fabrication (including the addition of liverwurst!!!) revealing it to be slightly less horrifying in appearance than pruno (prison wine). Even weasels shudder at the burden of association.

* Other relatives include possets and syllabubs

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Dindons, or, a nation eats itself

I’ve never really gotten Thanksgiving. I attribute this in part to my status as a first generation American. And to the fact that I hate turkey.

Oddly, I think many people do.

I also don’t particularly care for (American) football or parades, although with a bit of adventurous re-tooling of the latter I could probably be convinced. Gladiator-style balloon battles might be catchy or perhaps sharpshooters positioned to take out the inflatables as they progressed down 5th Avenue (last one floating gets some sort of prize).  No doubt I am digging for Quetzalcoatl analogies: the rituals that would accompany celebration in this new land.

But no, the latex membrane of Big Bird shall not be laid down in sacrifice.

Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey declared our national bird.

I can’t help, in considering the annual feast at which the turkey is consumed, but equate the act with the ingestion of the Host *: the national bird devoured by the people of the land as the trees lose their leaves and the skies darken. At Thanksgiving America eats itself in an act of nationalistic self-consumption.  Surely this is a rejuvinative act. Or is it one of penance?

“Just follow the instructions and wait til the button pops out”. **

How can the national dish be prepared with such cavalier indifference?? Is this what constitutes celebration and the rationale for massive annual carbon footprint deposition? Where are the figs, the minstrels from those Bruegels’s feasts, the truffled oils, or the puddings cooked months in advance?

I  made a turkey once. Last year W. and I bought a “bird”, brined it in a large pot like a mutant pickle and then cooked it. As everybody says, its all about the sides. Or the goose. I think its time for an upgrade. Why couldn’t the good citizens of Plimmoth have eaten a salmon that first chilled November day??

* complete with surrogate idols: (tofurkey????).  Also that’s “Host” as in communion, not as in the kindly person who invited you over for a meal. I do no wish to imply that Americans are cannibals.

** Spoken by the care-free intelligent man at the table next to mine at lunch; he was probably an MIT professor.