It starts in November, I never know exactly when but always before Thanksgiving. My anticipation is great; the window of indulgence always too small, it lasts only till New Years. I know it’s best that way; to extend it in any way would put me in program. I have trouble maintaining for the holiday season as it is without a lot of compensating. And these days I am compensating all the time.
This year it was earlier than last, I started checking the store shelves in anticipation the first week of November and got nadda. So you can imagine my surprise that same week going into a Starbucks and seeing the sign that the read the eggnog lattes were back. Yes! I have a nog problem, I am a nogaholic. Not my term, a friend coined about me a few years ago when he had heard me order one too many times.
“I’ll have a Grande eggnog latte, heavy on the nog”.
I don’t know when my love affair began with the nog but I believe because of my love of all products of the cow, maybe forever. Please, a woman who picks milk as one of her three desert island foods, need I say more? As with all folks who have a deep thirst I can take it any which way as long as I get it. I try to start the season slowly so I am not running 5 miles a day to compensate for its gut spreading goodness. I start the season with soy, yes there is soy nog, and a light version at that. The purest will say this is a bastardization of all that is pure and merry and they would be right. They also are people who know what moderation is, the middle of the road sort of speak, I do not. I have a passing recognition of moderation as I careen from one side of the road to the other. That being the case I start with light soy nog for the first week or two and try to limit my lattes to once a week, though not always successfully. There have been times in my past when I didn’t limit my trips to Starbucks at all and gave the barista a nasty stalker scare. He didn’t know I was just there for the nog, poor lamb. So one eggnog latte a week keeps money in my pocket and me out of the court system, really a win-win my attorney assures me.
Typically I start my days with a little nog in my coffee, just as a pick me up. The nog helps smooth out the morning and get me in the right frame of mind for the day. Sometimes I might have a latte on the go or have a nog at lunch to celebrate the season. I don’t do this every day but there are so many holiday lunches, parties and pot lucks. Someone always has a little nog stowed away, and no it is not always me, sometimes there are more of us. It’s not like I don’t have rules about these things, I am in total control. What is important is I always wait till it gets dark for the nutmeg to come out. I use a whole nutmeg and grate it fresh every time, I got the nutmeg from a guy I know with a small set up in midtown Manhattan. It cost a fortune but hey last time a friend bought it for me, granted he was the one to coin the phrase “nogaholic”. Yea, he thinks he is a funny guy but he’s a writer and you know how they are. Once in a blue moon I might add brandy or rum but really why use a mixer? It just dilutes the nog, that’s strictly “armature hour” my dad would say
By the 2nd week of the season I am no longer satisfied with the soy, what was delicious for its novelty and newness at the kick off no longer meets my needs. I am ready for the light eggnog. For the love of the cow I am satisfied for at least 2 to 3 weeks with light eggnog and try all the brands on the market in search for the perfect light. I do notice during this time my pants are getting tight, I am drinking a lot of coffee to get going in the morning and it is always very light from the nog. On the weekends I might add a little nutmeg to the coffee grounds to kick it up a notch. What can a bump hurt to the brew? I know the fully leaded is coming, the full fat nog with its creamy rich velvety sweetness that coats everything in its path with Christmas cheer. I stall as long as I can because I don’t ever go full fat till Christmas week. Leading up to that week I am wearing a lot more forgiving fabrics and styles. I have Omar the tent maker on speed dial for holiday party situations that might arise.
I was getting close to Christmas week and looking forward to the full splendor of my holiday cheer when I noticed what might be a fly in the ointment. I started walking past bakery windows and perusing stollen. As per Wikipedia for those of you who are not familiar with this seasonal treat.
“Stollen is a traditional German cake, usually eaten during the Christmas season, when called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. A similar cake from the Dutch cuisine is called a Kerststol in Dutch while in Italian cuisine the Panettone also shows a likeness.”
I finally got my nerve up and went in and placed an order for one. It was a 3 day wait but it was a good bakery and I was sure it would be pretty high end stuff. Plus I was two weeks out from full fat nog and this would be nice with the light version till then. I picked up the stollen and had them cut it for me so I could individually wrap each slice in saran and double bag it to freeze it. I did this in hopes that I could go slow, just a little here and there. I wanted the cake to get me to the holiday. It was an attempt at staying to the middle of the road. I never had a chance. This stuff was full of butter, sugar, nuts and nirvana. I was working my microwave hard to keep up on the demand. I was even caught once or twice in public with powered sugar on my clothes and upper lip. But thankfully always by those close to me, people with discretion. I didn’t think a little stollen would hurt, what I have learned is like nog there is never enough.
As I sit here and write this my freezer is bare of baked goods. I have two jugs of Hungry Girl’s, a diet maven and recipe genius’s, lean rendition of eggnog in my refrigerator. I just needed a week to clean up before Christmas, to pull it together and get out of my sweat pants. I might have to reconsider my priorities during the holidays and choice of celebratory accoutrement. I started talking to some people; they are pretty nice and very supportive. They are the ones that turned me onto the homemade light version recipes and resources. It’s a weekly group who made me take a hard look at things, things from my past, my choices, and my denial. What I know now is when I made that jump from nog to stollen, the hard stuff; it was a cry for help. With their guidance I saw my beloved nog for what it truly was, a crutch. I am not going to get on a soap box here; I know how that can be. I just wanted to own that I might have a problem, and more importantly that nog is a gateway drug.
The topic is near to me so I will respond based on my strong bias rather than even pretend to make it prosaic. As a kid, I made nog as a snack year round. Just an egg with milk, vanilla, & sugar in the blender. Now I would use coconut milk & stevia & maybe a touch of cream instead. I say, go for the full fat for best health. Get the body to burn the fat by restricting the carbs- this is a real thing. Soy is just bad news. The establishment (big agri, FDA, etc.) may never buy into the new findings and revelations of the twisted logic that got us into this fix (rampant obesity, diabetes, etc.), but it is worth investigating. Everything we have been told since the sixties is suspect. So skip the stollen & drink the nog, with extra cream!