When I was a kid, the night before my parents' annual eggnog party, my dad and uncle would disappear to the basement for hours of eggnog concocting. I could hear the thrum of the electric mixer knit with their voices and would poke my head downstairs to watch. It was always a night of chemistry, as they tweaked the recipe and jotted notes on the index card my dad kept in his yellow plastic recipe box.
When I was in high school and college, I began sitting in on the sessions a little longer, learning how to beat the yolks to death, to pour the liquor in a tiny steady stream. After Ben and I lived in California a few years, we decided to throw our own eggnog party; making my own frothy batch felt a palpable rite of passage. Each time we make it (this year was our 5th time), I have a wow-ed sense of accomplishment, that I have invoked my father, his mother, his mother's mother, and on back, in my own kitchen.
Last year I was clever enough to jot myself a note: 4 dozen eggs for eggnog this year -- perfect! Long story short, my note was faulty; 4 dozen eggs was a larger amount than I had EVER made before. So large, that it overflowed both of my biggest pots and left me at 11PM with no container big enough to combine the halves:
to be combined with egg whites/whipped cream:
I stood in the kitchen staring at my two largest pots, filled, and at more egg whites and whipped cream than I'd ever seen. Ben breezed in and out holding various pliers and announcing he was turning off the water. After looking between the pots, I finally got in my car; we had nothing large enough. Thankfully, a friend was awake and met me in her driveway with a cooler that we swapped for a bigger cooler. At home, I stood in the dark cold scrubbing it in the hose and then went about the work of combining:
In the end, it all worked. I did have to dump some eggnog residue down the drain of the complex, which I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to do, but at the party there was eggnog for all. I will note for next year that 4 dozen (though unprecedented) was the perfect amount but to be sure I have large buckets on hand.