Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, Daisy Martinez
And . . .
Around here we are getting into the holiday spirit lately with occasional quaffs of eggnog. If you like (as we most certainly do) a little “add in” then, of course, the go-to default would be a good full bodied cane sugar rum. Or, perhaps, brandy (but we don’t advise using the really good stuff for that) or bourbon. More creative, Grand Marnier, Benedictine, or Drambuie. That is definitely not the whole of it; you can put any tasty cordial or liqueur that you please.
We are quite satisfied with a good store-bought eggnog. Naturally, homemade is superior. The question will no doubt arise over whether using raw eggs in your own eggnog recipe is an egg-not. We will not make a recommendation here, suffice to say that there is enough information about the subject online to help you decide if this is an issue for you. (The evidence seems to suggest that there should be no worry.) Issue or not, if you do use raw eggs, select fresh, healthy eggs.
The last shoe to drop on the eggnog question (if you do drop a shoe in your eggnog [Don’t laugh, some of our parties have gotten a little out of hand and, let’s just say, things have been found in the punch bowl.] do what Dear Julia would do: don’t tell kitchen secrets. What goes on in the kitchen, let it stay in the kitchen. Don’t confess to your guests all the mistakes and missteps that may have occurred. “No one the wiser,” as dear mama used to say.)
The last item is the grating of fresh nutmeg. Please use fresh whole nutmeg. No need to get a special Martha Stewart approved nutmeg grater contraption. Just a scraping with a serrated knife or microplane will do it. But, please make that a good scraping of nutmeg. At least for the Cooky Cat. And, at least for eggnog. Other things, maybe not so much.
Speaking of Julia Child, our favorite memory from her peerless educational television show was her admonition on how much nutmeg to add in the recipe for Quiche Lorraine. That dish—which in these days even real men can enjoy—calls for a grating of fresh nutmeg. Dear Julia advised not to put in so much nutmeg that when your guests take one bite, they exclaim, “Nutmeg!” We don’t grate nutmeg but that every time we remember her succinct instruction.
If you are interested in cooking no doubt you are familiar with the profusion of television shows of all stripes on the subject. Nowadays, we have moved from the pioneering Ms. Child and her peerless educational approach to all manner of entertainments. It seems we like to watch people cooking; maybe to learn something, but mainly for entertainment. So it goes, as Mr. Vonnegut would say. Nevertheless, good culinary instruction is not the staple on the tube.
Julia Child is in our opinion unequalled, the gold standard for how to present the preparation of food. Mr. Jacques Pepin is also up there, in a class by himself. We never prep vegetables without him coming to mind and his scrupulous and adept methods. Also not to be overlooked as top tier presenters, authoritative and maternal Lidia Bastianich, that ubiquitron Mario Batali of the eponymous Molto Maria shows, and the always warm and welcoming Daisy Martinez. Pardon if we left out others, just that that list is our top picks. We do like to gaze at the preternaturally smiley Giada De Laurentiis with her obvious feminine charms, and the equally preternaturally endowed Nigella Lawson. But, that’s another story.
Cheers. Here’s looking at you.
Here's grandma and her eggnog recipe. She's no Julia Child, but she's a contender.
Finally, Feliz Navidad with the wonderful and spirited Ms. Daisy Martinez and her recipe for "Puerto Rican Eggnog" Coquito . . .