Last night was my third night of class at NYU and I thought I would share my writing assignment and first egg cream experience. Each week my instructor, Marge Perry, assigns us a writing assignment to share with the class the next week. Last nights assignment was to describe an experience with a new food and I chose to write about the egg cream.
My biggest problem in this class is going to be my long and never-ending run-on sentences. Since I write like I talk, I need to edit myself which I do on the regular now. So this post is two-fold; you get to see my “homework” and hear about my first experience with the egg cream!
NYU Food Writing Assignment: The Egg Cream
It’s been said that anyone living in or traveling to New York City must consume the following whilst in the city: a Bagel, Black and White Cookie, Deli Sandwich of some sort, Cheesecake, and an Egg Cream. Having conquered the first four in the first month of living in New York, only the egg cream was left.
Dating back to the late 1800s in a Brooklyn candy shop, the Egg Cream has a storied history. After the creator of the beverage turned down a national ice cream chain’s offer to buy the rights to his formula for a fairly small sum, he swore to never sell it and
took the recipe to his grave. But despite his deathbed secrecy the immense popularity of the egg cream begat similar versions in soda fountains all across the city.
So in my quest to try a new food item I took to Twitter and got a consensus as to where I could find New York’s best Egg Cream. All tweets pointed to Gem Spa, a newspaper stand in the East Village. Nearly 140 years of history and the best one can be found inside an unassuming bodega? Skepticism aside I ventured in and found a sign with “egg cream at its best” pinned beside rows of cigarettes, over the counter medicines and batteries.
Hundreds of magazines lined the walls and I grew concerned when the entire soda fountain operation unfolded right next to the cash register. What sort of rogue beverage operation is this? Is this even safe? Surely inspectors from the New York State Department of Health would deem the inhospitable environment to be unsanitary at the very least right? Nevertheless I pushed through; tonight I would try my first Egg Cream.
This beverage masquerades as something it is not containing neither eggs nor cream. Despite my confusion, I stayed true to my mission and ordered one vanilla and one chocolate. I watched intently as the entire process went down; a few squirts of flavoring, a generous serving of cold milk poured halfway up the cup and a high pressurized jolt of seltzer from the siphon nozzle to just touch the rim. After a few aggressive stirs with a cocktail spoon the man delivered two plastic cups overflowing with a creamy head.
A self-proclaimed seltzer-holic, I no joke drink a liter or two a day. So imagine my surprise when I found that it bore little trace of the “bite” I crave when I imbibe my favorite non-alcoholic beverage. Neither an ice cream soda nor a milkshake, it was in its own little world.
Was an Egg Cream supposed to taste like carbonated, uber-watered-down chocolate milkshakes? YooHoo immediately came to mind but then left as I took another sip. There seemed to be an incorrect balance of flavor between the three components of the drink and I ingested it if only to keep up appearances with my friend who too was having his first Egg Cream experience.
I concluded almost immediately that this was more a poor man’s soda than anything else and I would not be having another one anytime soon. Gem Spa may be the place for authentic New York Egg Creams but I think I’ll stick to purchasing gum, magazines and
non-flavored seltzer on my next visit.