We collectively groan, and me, the food writer has to squirm while I get singled out for denying Steve, once again, his beloved nog.
Not this year. My daughter, Eleanor, who loves tradition, emailed my sister-in-law, Ann Carrington, asking for the family eggnog recipe.
For nearly 25 years, we booked it up to Lexington, Virg., every Christmas for a family gathering with my husband Cabell’s parents. While Cabell claims Virginia is the heart of the South, it’s damn cold up there in December. So cold, that every year when we arrived, the eggnog had already been made and stored in Mason jars in the garage, where it aged properly in the frigid temperatures. Actually sometimes it got too cold and we had to haul the eggnog inside so it wouldn’t freeze.
Eggnog is serious stuff in Lexington. Every household has its own recipe and of course claims it is the best. We would make lots of Christmas stops over the course of the week, visiting all of Cabell’s childhood friends, their parents, grandparents, old teachers, neighbors — basically, everybody in the small town of Lexington. We drank a lot of nog.
My kids grew up getting tipsy on eggnog, they always though it was some sort of liquid dessert. Cabell would invariably put his cup on the floor by his chair and the dog would lap it up. Sometimes, during the many trips to the garage to get a jar, it would wind up on the roof of the car parked nearest to the kitchen door, and in the morning Cabell’s dad would drive off with a Mason jar precariously rolling around until it fell into a snowbank when he turned the corner onto Lee Avenue. (Right, General Robert E.) Someone would find it, unharmed, walking home from the post office, and bring it back.
After Cabell’s parents passed away, his sister moved to Maine and there was no more family house to return to. We started having Christmas here in Louisiana. We made eggnog once or twice, but it’s just not the same in our warm muggy climate. No need for the extra calories of eggs and cream, we drink our Christmas toasts the way my New Orleans parents have always done, with Sazaracs, the nice balance of rye whiskey, Pechaud bitters, absinthe and lemon peel is a zesty way to start off the evening’s festivities.
But Eleanor persists in imbibing her heritage. Here is Ann Carrington’s letter, and the family recipe:
Cousin Binnie was a wonderful old lady when I knew her, with white hair up in a bun and twinkly blue eyes. She had a great sense of humor and used to write me poems between visits to us in Lexington. I think I still have her letters, which were really delightful! She took the place of a mother for my mother, as her real mother died when she was only 10 or 11. That was a terribly hard time for the whole family. But Cousin Binnie and Mammy did their best to keep things going.
Egg Nog "Cousin Binnie" (Lavinia) Higginbotham
28 eggs, separated and beaten until yolks are light and whites firm
2 lb. powdered sugar
2 fifths French brandy
1 fifth Jamaica rum
3 pints whipping cream
Beat sugar and egg yolks together in a huge bowl. Add liquor very, very gradually at first to prevent curdling. Pour in whipped whipping cream. Lastly, fold in the beaten egg whites (You need an electric mixer, a big one, to do this! Be sure to wash and dry it thoroughly between beating the cream and the egg whites.)
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 qt. French brandy
1 pt. whisky
1½ pints whipping cream
Beat egg yolks until light. Add sugar. Add brandy gradually; then whisky. Add whipped cream, and fold in beaten egg whites.
I’m not sure why from the big batch to the smaller one the liquor changes from rum to whiskey. And there’s no directions for putting the eggnog out in the garage, which probably in Cousin Binnie’s day would have been the carriage house. Perhaps the coachman would have gotten too deep in his cups had he had that sort of temptation.
So here’s to Steve May, who wants the best for Lafayette, including the best eggnog. Now it’s up to you, dear readers, to ask Steve what recipe he drinks when the eggnog urge is upon him come Christmas Eve. That’s too deep a secret for me to reveal.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A ballpark snack topped with BBQ meat can be found cruising town on a food truck
Times Square impersonator crackdown; Israel shells Gaza school; Russia hit with sanctions and more national and international news for Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
Louisiana agriculture officials say prices for long-grain rice are projected to drop this year.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 19 decreased from the previous week's total.
A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
If President Barack Obama’s poll numbers, and those for his health care law, haven’t yet bottomed out in the Bayou State, then Democrats surely don’t want to know what the statistical floor actually looks like.
Midsouth Bank has released its second quarter earnings report, showing a year-over-year increase for shareholders.
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It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.
The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies.
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The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
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