Junk Food Sunday: Egg Cream

There is nothing as satisfying than the old-time luncheonette treat of an egg cream. While not traditionally thought of as a crap food it securely holds its place in the category with other quenching treats.

While the egg cream is easily made at home, there is something to be said for having the treat made in a New York Jewish delicatessen.

For the home version recipes and preferences differ, most will agree on the ingredients. milk, seltzer and as true New Yorker will insist, Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup.

It is important to use seltzer water over soda water, since seltzer does not contain salt.

Because a traditional fountain egg cream relied upon seltzer under high pressure being delivered via a siphon nozzle rather than poured from a bottle, modern preparation has been slightly altered to preserve the traditional layer effect.

Pour one part very cold whole milk, optionally froth with handheld frother. Pour two or three parts seltzer from a just-opened bottle for maximum fizz, add a quarter to half-inch of chocolate syrup, and froth just a second or two at the very bottom of the glass to mix, this is to preserve the distinct layers.

Then you must drink immediately, preferably gulping down the contents. Remember, an egg cream will lose its head and become flat if it is not enjoyed immediately. 

Eggcream History

For many years, you could only find an egg cream in a NY soda shoppe. Bottled versions had a tendency to separate and to go bad after a couple days, and pasteurization ruined the taste. Today, egg cream drinks are bottled by a few small companies.

The origin of the name "egg cream" is constantly debated. Stanley Auster, the grandson of the beverage’s alleged inventor, has been quoted as saying that the origins of the name are lost in time.

One commonly accepted origin is that "Egg" is a corruption of the Yiddish word echt ("genuine" or "real") and this was a "good cream". It may also have been called an "Egg Cream" because in the late 1800s, there were already many chocolate fountain/dessert drinks using actual eggs, and Auster wanted to capitalize on the name.

Like many other treats fondly remembered the egg cream has had its time to shine on television and the movies. In one episode of ‘The West Wing’ President Bartlet describes the drink to his Communications Director Toby Ziegler. Toby then responds by saying the drink is called an egg cream, and that it was in fact invented in his hometown of Brooklyn.

The preparation of an egg cream is also demonstrated in an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine is shown preparing egg creams in Jerry’s apartment using soda from an old-fashioned soda syphon.

Want to try one for yourself or awake your nostalgic taste buds? This lin will show you where you can still get an egg cream in New York:vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com

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