Making egg nog for the British


Did you know you can enjoy raw eggs relatively fearlessly in the UK? As an American often found hiding out in England, I was surprised to learn that they don't have egg nog here.

It sounds like they should have egg nog here; it's one of those slightly silly words people assume is inherently British, and separating 12 eggs is a culinary task just grotesque enough to pass, I'd think.

When I found out I would be in charge of introducing my friends to the holiday beverage, I felt a sort of giddy thrill at the idea of not having to cook the yolks to avoid salmonella (how do you cook yolks? In a double-boiler, ideally, or stir over very low heat just til the color gets a little lighter). You can just eat raw egg yolks, here— the risk is much less.

This is because US farming practices rely on a chemical power-wash to keep diseases off of eggs. In the UK they have been vaccinating hens since 1997, and focus on cleaner farming practices.

This is also the reason Americans put their eggs in the fridge and the British don't: The US power-washing method can damage the cuticle of an egg, which means bacteria can spread if the egg isn't kept cold. Eggs do not inherently need refrigeration to stay 'fresh'.

Torn between Martha Stewart's and Jamie Oliver's egg nog recipes (the best eggnog in the world, boasts the latter), I fudged a compromise between both—and added brandy cream, because I'd never heard of brandy cream 'til I came here, and who can resist something called 'brandy cream'?

"It's like boozy custard," reported my UK friends, on having their first egg nog.