By Anne Rothfeld ~

“Miss Borrie welcomes her friends with cupfuls of egg-nogs.” In a scrapbook from Leek Island Navy Hospital, 1918
Nationwide Library of Medication #1153477824

Culinary historians have traced the origins of egg-nog to the medieval British punch referred to as “posset,” heat milk curdled with alcohol akin to wine or beer, flavored with spices.  In medieval Europe, monks added their very own twist by serving posset with figs and eggs.  By the seventeenth-century, the aristocracy drank their egg nogs with sherry as an indication of wealth.  For instance, the recipe for “My Lord of Carlisle’s Sack-Posset” consisted of a heated combination of cream, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, eighteen egg yolks, eight egg whites, and one pint of sherry.

Egg nog in colonial America was made with rum traded from the Caribbean Islands because it was inexpensive than most liquors shipped from England.  This wealthy brew developed into the important vacation drink throughout the colonies, and every space made a model of the drink distinctive to the area.  Whereas many colonists used rum, southern households most well-liked bourbon or whiskey.  When the western states had been settled, egg nog was served both sizzling or over ice, and included completely different spirits akin to Madeira wine, onerous cider, or tequila.

The cover of a hardback book, decorated with an image of a tea towel and the title in a handwriting font.
The Invalid’s Tea Tray, 1885
Nationwide Library of Medication #63830390R

Within the nineteenth century, Docs  believed the drink was a really perfect approach to ship prescriptions and vitamins for these on liquid diets.  Docs included egg nogs as a part of a convalescent eating regimen for sufferers recovering from typhoid fever, dysentery, diphtheria, operations, ulcers, and tuberculosis.  Eggs include proteins, fat, and important nutritional vitamins, and assist many important bodily capabilities.  “Warming spices,” together with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and cayenne have useful properties for well being, offering reduction to abdomen cramps, diarrhea, nausea and flatulence.  An 1884 hospital egg nog recipe for sufferers in A Nurses Journal runs: “To a tumblerful of milk add one egg, properly overwhelmed; sweeten to style. Tablespoonful of brandy, whisky or port wine.”

Egg nogs shaped a part of liquid diets for sufferers as these diets had been:

A page in typewriter font about liquid diet including lists and sample menus.” … simply digestible, … free from irritating condiments and mechanical irritants. … Such diets needs to be give in small parts, 60-400 cc, relying on the character of the case. The feedings needs to be repeated each two hours except there are contraindications. A minimum of six to eight feedings are required day by day.” —Food regimen Handbook, Fitzsimons Basic Hospital, 1941

In St. Louis, in 1883, Nurses administered the egg nog with two tablespoonfuls brandy at common intervals all through the day and night time.

A printed page headed Drinks with recipes for Eggnog and Milk-Punch“Egg-nogg. Break right into a bowl one egg, add to it a saltspoon of salt and two teaspoons of sugar; beat it till it’s gentle however not foamy; then add one cup of barely heat milk—that’s, milk from which the chilliness has been taken (for it’s not properly to make use of that which is ice-cold)—and one or two tablespoons of French brandy; combine and pressure it right into a tall slender glass, and serve without delay. Egg-nog shouldn’t be allowed to face after it’s made, for each the egg and the milk lose a few of their freshness by publicity to the air…”—A handbook of Invalid Cooking for the Use of Nurses…,1893

Eggs may also be an vital meals in youngsters’s diets.  Filled with vitamins, eggs may be eaten fried or boiled in addition to added to custards and truffles.  Within the early 1900s, for these youngsters who disliked eggs, mother and father had been inspired to make a non-alcoholic egg nog and to disguise the style by flavoring the drink with chocolate or fruit syrups.

As we speak, Egg nog is served all over the world, full with regional variations.  Mexican egg nog (“rompope”) has hints of Mexican cinnamon and vanilla, and rum or grain alcohol.  Puerto Rican egg nog has a tropical really feel to it: rum, contemporary coconut juice or coconut milk.  Peruvians make their egg nog (“biblia con pisco”) with pisco, a pomace brandy.  Germans improve egg nog with an egg liquor (eierlikör): made with evaporated milk and rum, eierlikör is creamy and thick with a custard style.  Different variations of German eggnog embrace drinks made with beer (“biersuppe”) or white wine (eierpunsch”), flavored with sugar, cloves, tea, lemon or lime juice, and cinnamon.

However the fundamental egg nog recipe has not modified for the reason that creation of posset: eggs are overwhelmed with sugar, milk or cream are stirred in, addition of a distilled spirit or fortified wine, and steeped with spices. Full-fat milk and cream stay the perfect base whereas almond and rice milks are scrumptious options.  And whereas some might discover them fortifying in sickness, for a lot of, egg nogs are nostalgic and embedded in vacation traditions and household recollections.

If you happen to take pleasure in eggnog this season and select to make your individual from scratch bear in mind by no means to make use of uncooked eggs to forestall meals poisoning!  The FDA recommends that you simply use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg merchandise, or powdered egg whites.

Anne Rothfeld, PhD, is a librarian and historian within the Historical past of Medication Division of the Nationwide Library of Medication.

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