An Unorthodox Egg Cream

A woman I’ve never met, to whom I’m connected on Facebook, posted a thing about egg creams a couple weeks ago. Her reading audience read the post and went, “Huh?” It was around ten o’clock in the evening my time, and I was getting ready for bed, but when I read her post (it was only about 7 p.m., her time, out in California), I thought, “ok, I gotta go make an egg cream.”

Fortunately for everyone concerned, we had Fox’s U-Bet, milk, and plain seltzer on hand. I ran down to the kitchen, made an egg cream, guzzled it down, burped heroically, and went back upstairs to fall into bed.

A few days ago, after school one very hot day, I said to my daughter “how would you like an egg cream?” and she said, “YESSSSSS” so we hustled home and I used up the last of the Fox’s U-Bet to make two little egg creams, which we shared. (I managed to eke the most I could out of the syrup bottle by pouring milk into the syrup bottle, and shaking it like crazy; the pre-mixed chocolate milk went into the glasses, and the egg creams were, I have to say, particularly good.)

Today, it hit 95° outside, and the walk home from school was — well, not brutal, because we’re only talking about five blocks or so, but: it was hot. My child’s face was bright pink. I said, “I would offer you an egg cream but we’re out of syrup, I haven’t bought more yet. BUT.” I turned and looked at her. “WHAT IF,” I said. “What?” she asked tentatively.
“I know this will sound weird, but: WHAT IF we used Ovaltine to make egg creams with?”
My daughter’s eyes got very big and she said, “WE MUST DO THIS.”
“It could be gross,” I said.
“It could be delicious,” she said.

So we got home. I took out the recycling, waiting by the door, while my daughter ran inside, washed her hands, and got out the jar of Ovaltine (Rich Chocolate Flavor). I came inside, washed my hands (hard, fast rule: you always wash your hands after taking out trash or recycling), and assembled the drinks. We stood silently next to each other while we watched the foam develop and crest and calm down at the rims of the two glasses. “It could be gross,” I reminded her.
“It won’t be gross,” she said. She shoved a straw into her glass, and started to drink. I took a sip of mine (no straw).

“You know,” I said, “this is surprisingly not so gross.” My daughter stopped drinking to gasp, “I think it’s better than the syrup kind.”
“Now, listen,” I said, “I won’t have that kind of talk in my house, that’s blasphemy.” I finished my drink. I stood there by the sink for a moment or two — neither of us had even bothered to sit down to sample these heretical egg creams — and waited for the burp. It came, right on time. My daughter finished her drink more slowly and burped a little burp. “I had a nose burp,” she told me.

We put our glasses in the sink. A lesson has been learned. An Ovaltine egg cream is probably not to everyone’s liking, but, on the other hand, in this day and age, almost no one thinks an egg cream is a good idea to begin with. So, fine. If you’ve not got any Fox’s U-Bet around, but you do have Ovaltine, mix up your egg cream with a clear conscience. Not only will you be downing a refreshing beverage but you will be getting a few good synthetic vitamins and minerals in the bargain. What’s not to love?

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