Christmas Freak

The merriest corner of the Internet

Ersatz Nog


The problem with egg nog is that I want to drink it all time. I tried to do this a few years ago when I realized, to my dismay, that grocery stores only carry it in December (the audacity!). So on a dark day in February I decided to make my own. Big mistake. Did you know that egg nog primarily consists of–well, I won’t tell you. You don’t want to know how the sausage gets made. Then you’ll end up at the grocery store at seven in the morning on a Saturday in December, staring wistfully at the shelves of thick, hearty, sunshine-in-a-carton Egg Nog, before bending down and comparing the gellan and locust bean gums in Almond Milk Nog to the carrageenan and caramel coloring in Soy Nog, and wondering which is “healthier.”

The soy nog has this chemical nutmeg twinge that tastes like Christmas in a uniquely American way, sort of like how cheese dogs taste like Independence, and waxy candy corn tastes like Halloween. The almond nog is a little better. It actually has brown specks in it, which I’m assuming are bits of nutmeg, though it has this tongue-coating effect that I find distressing. Verdict: soy milk and almond milk to do not taste like egg yolks mixed with heavy cream. The search continues.


The Crappy Part of the Nutcracker


Blasphemy! I know, I know. I adore the Nutcracker so much that I always forget how much of a snoozer most of the first act is. Let’s pause for a moment, clear the marzipan from our heads, and think back to that nice nap we took during scenes one through six, you know–the scenes with all the lovely orchestra music playing in the background?

Somewhere in between the trumpet and the horn, I vaguely remember a long, uneventful Christmas party: 20 minutes of adults greeting each other and passing around hors d’oeuvres. I’m pretty sure one of the scenes is called “Dance of the Parents,” and another “Departure of the Guests,” two of the least exciting things to happen dramatically ever, and during which time most of the dancing consists of adults shaking hands and bowing to each other. Which, I’ll give them credit, is exactly how I imagine parents dancing. I know, they have to introduce the magical toymaker who gives Clara the nutcracker, etc, etc, but really–and maybe this is the New Yorker in me speaking–I would have been just as pleased to have rushed through that bit, and filled the following five scenes with the dancing rats. Who doesn’t like festive rodents?

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