Long Live the Egg Cream!

Though I haven’t lived in New York officially, I suppose, since 1988, I will forever be a New Yorker for one simple reason: my deep, abiding, and unequivocal love for the humble egg cream.

According to The Food Timeline, a website devoted to culinary research, egg creams were born in early-twentieth century Brooklyn, at a time when New York soda fountains outnumbered bars. Chocolate syrup, soda water, and milk are the three key, and only, ingredients.

Today, which chocolate syrup you use may depend on regional availability and taste preferences, but according to The Brooklyn Cookbook by Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy Jr ( Knopf, 1994), which The Foodie Timeline quotes, “Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup is a classic. You absolutely cannot make an egg cream without [it].” 

And I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. I have my own fond memories of U-Bet: my dad goes to the fridge, retrieves the weighty glass jar, and tips a generous pool of its contents into a waiting drinking vessel. My U-Bet memories revolve more around his "famous" chocolate milk than egg creams, but I certainly made my own share of syrup-soda-milk egg creams, whether he was around or not.

I made one today, in fact, 2010-style. Of course, the only syrup I had in my California fridge was Torani, and it was almond flavored at that, so I’m not sure my beverage officially qualified as an egg cream at all. 

I hope my New York peeps don’t disown me.

Have you ever tried a New York egg cream? Chime in below!

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Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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