Are you being overserved?

I recently read Bob Newhart's memoirs, I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This, published in 2006.  If you like Bob Newhart, you'll like this book.  It goes over his career, from how he got into the comedy business to the movies and television shows he did.  He includes some of his early material that was on his comedy albums, as well.

The book is enjoyable, but there is one thing in it that kind of bothered me.  Not a big deal, really, just a nitpick on my part.  He tells an anecdote from when he was working in a movie.  He explains how he went out with some of the cast one night after filming and got drunk. The next day he was unexpectedly called in to shoot a scene, and he was feeling terrible with a hangover, but the director thought he nailed the scene the way he wanted him to. 

Now, actually, Bob doesn't say he got drunk.  Instead, he says that at some point he realized that he had been overserved.  "Overserved"?   He was the one who was ordering drinks and drinking them.  "Overserved" makes it sound like it wasn't his fault that he got drunk--it was the bartender's fault. 

 Now I realize that when one drinks, it's not hard to make bad judgements and drink too much, but that doesn't relieve one of the responsibility for getting or being drunk.  But it really wasn't the bartender's fault; it was Bob's fault.

Admittedly, this is a small part of the anecdote, and an even smaller part of the book as a whole.  I still recommend the book for anyone who likes Bob Newhart or good comedy.  That word just stuck in my mind even after I had read the book, and I thought I would comment on it.  After all, what's a blog for, if not for me to say what's on my mind?


Safe, Homemade Eggnog

Happy Holidays! I like eggnog, but it's expensive to buy. So, as I'm in the habit of doing, I looked up eggnog recipes on the internet, and instead of following any particular recipe, I took the general gist of them to make up my own eggnog.

Essentially, you want to mix one cup of milk, cream, or half-and-half (or some combination of these) with one egg. Of course, you add sugar (I like to use brown sugar instead of regular sugar), cinnamon and vanilla, and why not? Most recipes call for a bit of salt, although I'm not sure what the salt does for it. Stir it all up good, and let it sit in the refrigerator until chilled.

The problem with most eggnog recipes is that it calls for raw eggs. Raw eggs are generally safe to eat, but I have heard that there is a 1 in 100 chance of encountering bacteria in raw eggs that will make you sick. The solution is to this problem is to gently heat the eggnog mixture to kill the bacteria. From what I've read, it needs to reach 160 degrees to kill any possible bacteria. Be sure to stir occasionally to keep the sugar from settling and burning on the bottom of the pan. Burned eggnog isn't quite so tasty. Then chill it as before.

I had been mixing milk with cream and/or half-and-half, or evaporated milk to make the eggnog a bit thicker, but cooking it will make it thicker, too, and helps give it that yellowish color that commercial eggnogs have.

This will make a thick, rich eggnog, so go easy on it, for the sake of your waistline. Or have eggnog for breakfast instead of your normal fare.


For extra flavor, add in some bananas and/or strawberries into the mix. Strawberry Banana Eggnog is especially tasty, and the fruit makes it a bit healthier, too.

It's funny how eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon figure in a variety of foods. One simple variation to the eggnog recipe is to add corn starch to it to thicken it up even more, and viola! You've just made pudding instead of eggnog. Add the bananas and it's banana pudding instead of vanilla pudding.

Or use less milk in the mixture, and you can then dip bread in the mixture and fry it in a pan for french toast. Brown it on both sides, top it with powdered sugar and syrup. Or as before, top it with bananas or strawberries

Do you see what I mean? I'm no expert at cooking, but if you can get the general idea behind a recipe, then it's easy to eyeball the ingredients instead of scrupulously measuring everything, and you can work on different variations to the basic recipe. Just remember that if you do a lot of tasting while it's cooking, then cut down accordingly on the actual meal portion when it's done!