Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nog is my Co-Pilot

"Old Fezziwig laid down his pen, and looked up at the clock, which pointed to the hour of seven. He rubbed his hands; adjusted his capacious waistcoat; laughed all over himself, from his shoes to his organ of benevolence [snicker!-ed.]; and called out in a comfortable, oily, rich, fat, jovial voice: Oi! You there! Ebenezer! Dick! Bring me some soy nog with rum in it! Then put away those dusty ledgers and have the band strike up 'Sir Roger de Coverley' cuz Ima cut me a rug with Mrs. Fezziwig!"

Okay, so Dickens didn't transcribe all of this speech. The Fezziwig estate didn't want any overt mention of the patriarch's veganism in the published text (although, rather puzzlingly, they had no problems with the reference to his "organ of benevolence" - go figure!), since they felt it might alienate/scare away the "roast goose and joints of beef and gross suet puddings" hipsters - *yawn* - whose gullible pockets were even then so easily emptied by the latest artery-clogging foodie gimmick. But now it can be told. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig were so blithe and jolly on that long ago Christmas Eve because "there was Raspberry Blackout Cake With Ganache-Y Frosting, almond-milk negus, and great pieces of Cold Roast Seitan, and vegan mince-pies, and plenty of beer."

Of course, in Victorian London, there was no commercially produced soy nog, so every housewife had to make her own from scratch according to a cherished family recipe. In fact, "Bob Cratchit always said, and calmly too, that he regarded his wife's nog as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage." (Which, when you think about it, isn't entirely surprising in light of the whole Tiny Tim thing.) But I digress. Nowadays, there is a plethora of non-dairy nogs available, and in our house we have historically been devotees of VitaSoy's Holly Nog during the festive season, typically laced rather generously with dark rum. Alas and alack, however, in the past year it's stopped being available in the US - yet another area in which our neighbo(u)rs to the north have a clear advantage. I mean, national health care AND Holly Nog? Damn.

Anyway, we tried a few alternatives, but one recent freezing evening we returned from buying our Christmas tree to realize were fresh out, and nobody felt like going to the store. Thus it was that necessity once more became the mother of invention (Freak Out!), and it occurred to me that making our own was probably not rocket science; how hard could it be, right? So it was that while my partner and my middle son grunted and sweated under the weary load of a Fraser fir, I headed into the kitchen and produced a pitcher of delicious frothy seasonal goodness. It's yummy, it's creamy, it has way fewer things you can't pronounce, it's an excellent vehicle for rum, and - best of all - it's vegan! Somewhere, Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig are smiling.

~ 4 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1/2 cup Mimicreme or soy creamer
~ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
~ 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp. each: nutmeg, cardamom, ground cloves, allspice

~ Combine all ingredients in a large pyrex beaker or pitcher and whisk thoroughly for about 2 minutes, until well-combined and frothy.
~ Pour into your favorite nog-drinking vessels and add about 2-3 ounces of dark rum to each (optional, but come on!).
~ Garnish with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg and serve.
~ "And God bless us, every one!"~

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