The Egg Cream

February 8, 2008

I was born on a small island where people take food very seriously. Manhattan was then, and still is, the heart of America's melting pot, a fact perhaps most reflected in the variety and diversity of foods. Many dishes came with immigrants from somewhere else, like the hot dog, cheesecake, and bagels. However, some seem to be true New York creations and the Egg Cream is one such item. Not particularly well known outside of the Big Apple, it was one of my favorite drinks growing up. Though the name would imply otherwise, the Egg Cream contains neither eggs, nor cream. There is some debate about the whos and whens of it's creation and whys of its name, but everyone seems to agree that it's made up of 3 key ingredients:

  1. Milk
  2. Seltzer Water

We used to make them at home, in fact my father got regular deliveries of cases of soda siphons well into the 1980's. However, my favorite place to drink Egg Creams was from a tiny little stand down on Canal Street near the Subway station. We often went there weekends to shop in Chinatown and see what oddities we could pick up on Canal Street. Better known today as a place for knockoff Rolex watches and Gucci handbags, in the 1970s Canal street was a place to find cheap surplus electronic parts, which I used to solder together into all sorts of experiments. Boxes of electric motors, switches and flashlight bulbs, all bought for a dime, made the best toys! However, getting there could be an ordeal since we lived on the Upper West Side about 125 blocks north. Only 6 miles away in reality, it felt like going to a far off land for me, especially since air conditioned subway cars were almost non-existent back then. So an ice-cold Egg Cream was the perfect refreshing treat when we came up out of the hot tunnels during those sweltering summer months. Now you may think the combo of milk, soda, and chocolate syrup sounds strange, but give it a try...I bet you'll love it! Check out post on Roots and Grubs for extensive detail on how properly to prepare and consume an Egg Cream. I'd love to know what you think. Click the Comments link below and share your thoughts.

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Tina's picture

Does it matter what type of Chocolate syrup you use? It would seem this type of drink would be like fuzzy chocolate milk - which would go over with just about anyone.

bdorfman's picture

Hershey's works fine too :-)

Vicky's picture

I have to say, I would never have considered consuming ANYTHING called an "egg cream" (ick!) until I read your blog explaining what was IN one! I am heading to New York in a week, and now I intend to seek one out! Thanks for the enlightenment!