Friday, 19 August 2005
|1234 - Egg creams: a view from a non-New Yorker|
Going back over the entries in the previous meme, I ran across a discussion of egg creams. Now that I've figured out how I like to make them, it only seems fair that I pass along this bit of minor wisdom.
I use a glass with...well...horizontal ridges. They're round, but the sides wave in and out. It looks like a stack of rings. I got them at IKEA a few years ago. I pour in two rings' worth of syrup, then three rings' worth of milk and stir thoroughly. This leaves the glass about a third full of chocolate milk. I then fill with seltzer. Total quantity is about 12-14 ounces, with about the top one-quarter to one-third being a head of foam (depending on how fresh the seltzer is). Seems to work.
Yes, the syrup does make a difference. The canonical syrup is Fox's u-Bet, and it's what you should use unless you just can't get it. A quick Google turned up several suppliers who sell over the net. Regular chocolate syrups, like Hershey's, are sweeter than Fox's, and this drink is sweet enough as it is. We've got a can of Hershey's Dark Chocolate that we'll try when we run out of Fox's.
I suspect the egg cream is an object of veneration for native New Yorkers because of its association with childhood there. I don't know of similar concoctions made in other places. It's not bad, but perhaps there's something about having one at Junior's or Katz's that doesn't quite translate to a kitchen in Fairmont.
current mood: full
A not inconsiderable part of the experience of drinking an "authentic" egg cream in the sentimental aspect. If you're a New Yorker of a certain age, it may evoke fond childhood memories, as you accurately state. Few places really make egg creams anymore. They've gone the way of stickball, a fondly evoked memory, but just a memory.
I, for one, believe that the folks who make Fox's U-Bet are still in business because of the sentimental ties to egg creams.
And what's the fun of ordering on line, when you can have it bought in New York, eh what?
I'm formulating a philosophy about egg creams and Philly cheesesteaks and other regional delicacies of sentimental value. My philosophy is as follows:
People who grew up in the particular regions may insist on the ingredients being exactly right (the syrup must be Fox's u-Bet, or the bread must be made in Philly) and they are perfectly right to do so.
But people who did not grow up with these things are well within their rights to use reasonable substitutes. I can use Hershey's syrup if I want, John Kerry can ask for Swiss cheese on his steak sandwich if he wants, and anybody who says different is a buttinsky. You can tell me it's not "authentic", but I don't gotta give a flip. :}
Same goes for things like ketchup on hamburgers.
While I agree with you about authenticity for its own sake, in this case, it really does make a difference in the way it tastes.