The Jew And The Carrot

The Great Egg Cream Debate

By Barry Joseph

  • Print
  • Share Share
Flickr: ShellyS

There’s something about an egg cream that can bring out the debate in some people. “There is egg cream on your face,” wrote one reader, “if you fall for those explanations of the egg cream.” Another simply wrote “Hogwash!” Luckily these were letters not to us but the New York Times, throughout the 1970s, in response to articles making one claim or another about the correct way to mix the drink. No egg cream article comes without a slew of detractors. Luckily our readers were more polite in response to Leah Koenig’s recent article, “Egg Creams Make a Comeback”, but were no less contentious. When Koenig described the delicious drink re-imagined to include maple, coffee, and even olive oil, some readers cried foul.

Arguments over the correct way to make an egg cream are nothing new. Disagreements can arise about the ingredients (most traditionalists say nothing will do but Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup, milk and seltzer), the order they’re placed in the glass, or the proper length of the mixing spoon. As a publication of record, the Forward might not be able to settle this historic debate, but we can at least contribute to the latest round. We want to hear from you on the new breed of egg creams, from the return to classic to the provocative nouveau. To get it started, we asked a range of experts for their take on the topic, inquiring, “What do you think of non-traditional egg creams?” Check out their positions below and add your own.

Daniel Humm is the executive chef of the rarefied Eleven Madison Park, which now serves every table an egg cream composed of vanilla-malt syrup, organic milk, olive oil, sea salt and seltzer.

New York is a constantly evolving city, and with that, its cuisine evolves as well. I certainly love the traditional egg cream — it is almost an art form — but what I love more is that this city allows us to re-create our own versions of the original. And that’s what cooking is all about finding inspiration from somewhere and then using your creativity to make it your own. I know that it is hard to accept change, but in a city of constant forward movement, we must embrace it!

Josh Konecky is the owner of New York City’s Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop which opened in 1929.

Would I drink one? No. Our restaurant is not going to branch out into anything other than chocolate, vanilla, and coffee (when I can find it). Eisenberg’s is a very traditional place so I stick with the traditional way to make an egg cream.

Jeremiah Moss writes the blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York a.k.a. “The Book of Lamentations: A Bitterly Nostalgic Look at a City in the Process of Going Extinct.”

This trend of dressing up the egg cream and slapping a big price tag on it is part of a larger trend in which foodies take the ordinary food of ordinary New Yorkers, like hot dogs and pizza, and upscale them for a more affluent and “discerning” clientele. It’s not unlike the movement of the wealthy into poor and working class neighborhoods. The new egg cream becomes “artisanal” and “exclusive,” just like the new real estate across the Lower East Side. So you could call this the gentrification of the egg cream. It’s a hostile takeover. Leave the egg cream alone — it’s perfect just the way it is.

Amelia “Madame Bubbles” Nahman runs her “Egg Cream Cart” in San Francisco’s municipal parks, in front of bakeries, and at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

I think non-traditional egg creams are great. I’m a traditionalist with a broad world-view. I make vegan egg creams with dark chocolate syrup, and I try to use biodegradable cups and paper straws because my audience demands it. I have seen egg creams in bottles, and can’t bring myself to drink one. The food universe is an evolving place, and our tastes fall in and out of fashion.

Barry Joseph, recently profiled David Fox, the owner of Fox’s and Co, the manufacturer of u-bet’s Chocolate Syrup, as part of his upcoming book on seltzer.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Seltzer, Fox's U-Bet, Eleven Madison Park, Egg Creams, Chocolate

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.