The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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What Even is Eggnog?

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There are so many unanswered questions about eggnog. Where did it originate? What is a nog? Are there actually eggs in it? Is that safe? 

Eggnog. It originated in Britain in the early 1200s and has lasted through the centuries. According to a YouGov survey, eggnog is 25% of America’s favorite holiday drink. Eggnog’s basic recipe consists of raw eggs, sugar, milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract and a hint of nutmeg. It is still confusing; how is this somewhat popular holiday drink safe? Don’t raw eggs have salmonella? In early eggnog history (AKA the medieval times in Europe) it was common to add alcohol (nog) to the beverage. People believed that the alcohol killed off the salmonella bacteria. This was NOT the case; a quick google search can set that straight. People were consuming high amounts of active bacteria with their Christmas cheer. Today, the eggnog sold in stores is pasteurized to eliminate the salmonella, and there’s no need to worry about the raw eggs in our eggnog unless it’s homemade. If so, you might want to chat with whoever’s making the eggnog this year…

Today, eggnog isn’t really as popular for being alcoholic. When asking my grandparents if eggnog was popular when they were growing up, they told me that it was a yearly tradition. My grandpa remembers just mixing raw eggs, milk and sugar. I turned to another source for more information. In the book Farmer Boy, part of the classic Little House on the Prairie series, eggnog is mentioned not as a holiday drink, but as a summer beverage. “Mother met him on the back porch with the milk-pail, brimming full of cold egg-nog…. Its foamy top was freckled with spices, and pieces of ice floated in it.” During Laura Ingalls Wilder’s time, eggnog had transformed to a refreshing iced beverage. Despite this, data given by the Tastewise website tells us that social conversations about eggnog go up by 84.33% each year around the holidays; people only drink it and talk about it in December. I never have a single thought about eggnog when I’m at the beach in June.

Overall, eggnog is really just part of the Christmas season, and it makes a comeback every year. I encourage all of us, whether you like eggnog or not, to stir up discussions about salmonella this season. 

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