Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Mother's Recipe for New Year's Celebration

I remember my mother's New Year's Eve party.  I must have been eight years old.  I am sure it was tame by today's standards, but I felt very mature to be allowed to attend and stay up until midnight.  I assume that there was some alcohol, but I don't actually remember it; after all a child was present. 

I got pretty bored after standing around for a while since I was the only child, and grown people didn't talk about anything I was interested in.  There was music from the record player, but not many people danced.  There was food, but so what? 

The things I remember were Boiled Custard and Auld Lang Syne.
Auld Lang Syne  is the song traditionally associated with New Year Eve.  It means "for the sake of old times."  It is intended to fix in the mind the joys of times past.  It was the theme song of a band that was popular with my family--Guy Lombardo.  If you are reading this, you may have figured out that I like to remember the good times and I value the memories.  When I hear that song, my eyes often well with tears of joy for good times.

Boiled Custard is one of those memories.  You can buy a poor imitation of Boiled Custard in the grocery store around Christmas and New Years, but it is not nearly as good as the homemade stuff.  Egg Nog is spiked with some kind of liquor, rum or whiskey, and Boiled Custard can be, but it is a stand alone delicacy. 

In the summertime, it is topped with whipped cream accompanied by a fine sugar cookie and  eaten with a spoon from a lovely glass custard cup.  At my mother's party it was drunk from a punch cup, perhaps with the alcohol mentioned above.  As an adult I came to appreciate the addition of a small amount of rum or brandy, but it was not necessary.  

The custard and the song still come with the memories, and I still enjoy them even with the tears.  

Boild Custard Recipe

1 quart of whole milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (you may substitute  brandy or rum flavoring)

Beat the eggs very well with 1/2 cup of the milk.  Heat the rest of the milk in a pan over medium heat.  Add the sugar and stir well.  When the mixture is scalding and ready to boil, stir in the eggs and remove the pan from the heat.  Stir well.  Add vanilla or other flavoring.  Stir well.  Cover the pan with a lid and allow to cool.  When cool, chill in refrigerator.  Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

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