Tags: Egg Cream, First Love, Milk, Raspberry Egg Cream, Raspberry Syrup, Seltzer, Soda
Have you ever tried an Egg Cream? I’m guessing most of you have if you live in the Northeast, but for those who have not, and possibly have not even heard of one, I’ll start by saying it has neither eggs nor cream in it. The best way to describe one would be an ice cream soda minus the ice cream. Believe it or not, this is not a bad thing, it’s a really good thing, because it’s much lower in calories and fat, although I don’t think that was the original intent when it was first created.
Since this post is Part 8 of Bad Boy First Love, I’m going to send you HERE to read about it. They did a great job tracing the history and describing it, along with a recipe for an authentic chocolate egg cream.
I made two egg creams, one to taste and one for photos then taste. Of course I forgot to stir the one for photos while pouring the seltzer. It should be creamy and uniform, not mottled like that, although it does look kind of cool.
Here’s the difference between mine and that one. Remember that awesome, vibrant pink, fresh raspberry buttercream, made using a raspberry reduction syrup I filled a Valentine’s cake with in February? The raspberry reduction syrup is exactly like chocolate syrup in texture and viscosity, so I could not stop thinking about how well it might work if I used some of that syrup to make a Raspberry Egg Cream. The only change I made to the original syrup recipe was the addition of sugar, since there’s nothing else that’s sweet in an egg cream.
It worked, except for the fact that I forgot to stir the milk/raspberry syrup combination as I poured in the seltzer, so the mottled look you see in some of the photos is because of that. The key to a perfect egg cream is rapid stirring as you pour the seltzer. I’d planned this one for a while and I forgot the most important part – go figure!
I did cheat a little and added a bit of light whipped cream and shaved chocolate on top - but trust me, it doesn’t need it, it was mainly for photos.
Finally, before I get to Part 8, the first time I ever had an egg cream was not when we lived in the city..it was when we first moved to the town I grew up in NJ. One of my first new friends was a brilliant girl, a brilliant girl who looked 9-years old, but had the maturity and intelligence of someone much older. I loved going to her house after school because there was always something new and exciting to experience – her mind was an ocean of creativity and adventure.
Well, one of the ‘adventures’ was something we shouldn’t have done. Her mother worked, so we were on our own until 6pm. That gave us plenty of time to do this something we shouldn’t do – walk 3 miles to another town, a dangerous part of that town no less, where she wanted me to try the ‘best egg cream ever’. This ‘best egg cream ever’ lived in a small luncheonette/candy store that had an old-fashioned soda fountain counter with swivel stools, and it WAS the best egg cream I ever had, even though it was my first. It remains the best to this day, and I thank W for introducing me to the egg cream.
By the way, our egg cream venture became a regular trek when I went to her house after school, and we never got caught.
Now to Bad Boy First Love Part 8. I kind of had a hard time posting this one, for various reasons, but after much thought, it felt okay. If you’re just tuning in; Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE and Part Seven is HERE.
No way was I tossing my cookies all over the boardwalk. The last thing I needed was to be known as the ‘throw-up girl’ for the rest of my vacation, I wanted to go back to the luxury pad immediately.
I started to turn to leave, but my friends tried to convince me otherwise..
“Lisa, don’t jump to conclusions, maybe it’s his sister, or a relative – chill out!” one friend said, but I wasn’t buying it.
If she was actually his sister, he must come from a really close family. I had yet to see a sister touching and looking at her brother like she wanted to Rumba with him. Maybe they still took baths together?
I was already moving, my stomach in knots. I needed to be somewhere private to untie and eject those knots if need be. Then I felt two warm hands on my arms, gently pulling me back and turning me around. It was him.
“Whoa – where are you going? Are you okay?” He asked, looking concerned, which, although it was hard to believe, made him even hotter.
“I saw you with that blonde girl, and I thought she might be your girlfriend, so I didn’t want to get in the way” I said as I felt my eyes well up a tiny bit. *Don’t cry, Don’t cry, Don’t cry – think of something funny*
He rubbed the side of my arm to comfort me. DAMN, this was not the time to tingle and shiver. Well..at least it took the urge to cry away.
“Why would I ask you to meet me after work if she was my girlfriend?” he asked with a confused look in those killer baby blues.
Then the words I needed to hear..
“I wanna be with you, Lisa.”
I loved that he added ‘Lisa’ at the end, it somehow sealed the deal..made it true.
“I hooked up with her a few times back in July..I stopped it, she wasn’t for me, but she keeps coming around every so often. I can’t tell her where she can and can’t be.” He reasoned.
No, but you can stop talking to her every time she hangs around waiting for you to get off work.
I desperately wanted to blurt that out, but I had no right to. I disappeared on him last summer and he had every right to handle it any way he wanted – not that I liked being my own voice of reason.
“Oh, okay, as long as she’s not waiting for you at the car.” I said, trying to be funny.
UGH, why did I say that?
He laughed, his smile sending cascades of ripples through my entire body..goosebumps were popping all over the place. I inadvertently smacked at them like mosquitoes.
“You get bit?” He asked
“Sort of” I responded. *By the love bug* I thought.
“Let’s go, silly” he said with a touch of humor, but an underlying tenderness that turned my guts into hot, molten lava. I said goodbye to my friends and off we went..walking close together, but no hand holding or touching yet. It had been a year of nothingness, I guess it needed to be worked up to.
He took my hand in his and smiled. Ooops..guess I was wrong! I LOVED being wrong – I wanted to be wrong for the rest of my life!
It was like we were never separated for a year – we just sort of continued where we left off, and it felt incredible, it felt right, it felt like every holiday, birthday and a huge lotto win rolled into one.
He started talking about how he never thought he’d see me again and how he nearly busted the DJ booth door when he pushed it open to come to me at the ride. I loved how he wasn’t afraid to open up like that.
I just looked at him adoringly as we walked and talked. Well, he talked. I was in such a stupor, I could barely converse outside of..
“I know, me too.”
I was pathetically smitten.
When we approached the parking lot behind the Casino Pier arcade, there she was, the navy blue Beetle, shining like a hansom cab waiting to whisk us away – as long as she didn’t go all Christine on my ass.
He opened the passenger door for me. I was still in a drunken love stupor, but suddenly a horrid thought busted through all the goo. What if this was all a dream and I was going to wake up at home in my bedroom soon, like I did SO many times when he made appearances in my dreams during my awful junior year?
I had to make sure, nip it in the bud now.
I turned toward him and tentatively moved closer..wrapping my arms around his waist, but not yet resting my head, chin or cheek anywhere for a complete hug because I was worried he would think I was weird . ‘Please let him hug me back’ I pleaded inwardly and repeatedly.
He fell right into it, pulling me tight to him and wrapping me up in his arms. ‘Whew! Thank You!
A huge wave of relief washed over me. I felt so insanely happy, I could detonate into a million rainbows, sprinkles and unicorns at any second, but at the same time, warm and safe. He pressed his mouth to my ear and whispered..
“I thought you were a ghost, I thought I had imagined it all.”
You know that feeling when someone whispers right into your ear? That really cool tickle, tingly feeling? Multiply that by 20. I wanted to jump out of my skin – in a good way.
I hugged him tighter, the side of my face now pressed into his upper chest, then back up a little to his neck..my eyes closed, just taking all of him in, I dug my fingers into his lower back, then gripped the back waistband of his shorts. If I was waking up from a dream any time soon, he was coming with me! A colossal wedgie wasn’t of concern.
Soon I was burying my face deeper into his neck, inhaling him. No chicken soup here, just 100% Dreamboat and his amazing scent wasn’t going away. I wondered what kind of soap he used? Shampoo? Cologne? Whatever they were, I wanted to buy cases of them so I could smell ‘him’ when we weren’t together. If the TV show, Hoarders, existed back then, they would have had a field day with me. I was already planning on never washing my t-shirt again because it was going to smell like him.
I continued to hug him tight. I wanted to kiss him, but it had been a year, it needed to be worked up to.
Geez. could this guy read my mind or what? He backed up a bit and took my face in my hands. He stared into my eyes for a few seconds..
Here it comes, I’ve waited a year for this.
..then slowly laid one soft kiss on my lips. Wrong again! Oh, being wrong was the ultimate jackpot that evening! For a moment, I wondered if we should hit Atlantic City with this streak of ‘wrong’ I was on.
After that sweet kiss, I actually had to step back a bit and take a deep breath. My body and soul were in some serious flames and it was almost too much to handle. He caressed my cheek, then opened the door again so I could get in. The cup holder was still there. I couldn’t help smiling and I mentioned it to him.
“I dunno, was hoping keeping it up would bring you back, and it did,” He said as he turned the key in the ignition. The radio instantly blared the opening to Stairway to Heaven, the song of our first kiss ever. Fate, I thought.
OK, back to planning our wedding.
He asked me where I wanted to go and I told him it didn’t matter, as long as I was with him. Yep, I actually said it this time. Amazing how brazen I’d become in one year. The truth is, there was no need to play it cool, the feeling was mutual, and after a year of missing him, crying over him, I wanted to express as many feelings as I had the guts to.
He leaned over, kissed me on the cheek and said, “You’re so sweet.”
You make me that way. Now kiss me more!
No, I didn’t say that.
He stopped at a liquor store and picked up some beers, little nips, in case I wanted one, plus a few bottles of lemonade since the stand with the lemonade I dumped all over his lap the year before, was already closed. I hadn’t even asked, he just remembered with a wink and a nod to the cup holder. There was no way I was going to open one in the car tonight. No hot moments cooled off this time. Well, it didn’t really matter since we were headed to a beautiful, moonlit, starry, beach in Seaside Park, the one we’d been to the year before.
Holy mackerel, I couldn’t believe I was with him again! What were the chances? I’d never felt so happy and alive in my life. I instantly bottled up that feeling up for future daydreaming, then actually pinched my arm next to the passenger door just to make sure, again, that this wasn’t a dream.
We stopped at a red light. He looked over at me, breaking my magnificent moment of realization, and brushed my hair with the side of his hand..
“I like your hair like that.” He said.
WRONG again. Oh, the money I could make him tonight if we hit Atlantic City. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be alone with him, but just imagining him at a Blackjack table, the stacks of chips in his favor, with me standing on the other side of the red velvet rope (because I wasn’t legal), signaling him to take another card so he’d do the opposite and stay, was kind of fun.
Looks like there’d be one less blow dryer and outlet needed at the penthouse. 20-30 minutes had just been deducted from my ‘get ready’ time.
When we got to the beach, he opened the trunk and started taking out all of our ‘romantic’ necessities. A big blanket, the cooler with the nips and lemonade, and a small radio – boombox like contraption. There was a gravelly area we had to walk over to get to the beach, so I took the blanket from him and started walking through it. The sky was loaded with stars. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t help looking up at them as I walked, because I wanted to soak up every detail of this night and keep it in my vault forever. Twinkle twinkle little star..how I wonder…
Suddenly I was flat on my face. My sneaker had caught on some gravel and with my other foot, I tripped over that foot, landing face down, the gravel scraping hard against one of my knees. Thankfully, the blanket had stopped the gravel from scraping my face off and possibly breaking my nose or knocking out a tooth. I wondered if he’d still kiss me with a gaping hole? The odds were probably not in my favor.
I remained like that for a few seconds because I was beyond mortified. How do you explain tripping over your own feet? He’d never marry a klutz! I took a deep breath and slowly righted myself, sitting up with my legs splayed, surveying the damage.
I really hope he didn’t see me land like that. OMG.
I didn’t even care about the pain as the blood started to seep out because I had just ruined what was turning out to be the best.night.of.my.life. I was also embarrassed as hell, more embarrassed than I’d ever been in my life, even more so than the time I called the color turquoise ‘turkey’ when painting a mural on local TV in 5th grade. I remember my friends kept rewinding that moment, the show recorded by one of their Dads, while I cringed, repeatedly.
He came running over as I sat in the gravel..a sad sight to behold.
“Are you okay?” He asked, as he crouched down to inspect my knee.
NO, I’m mortified!
“I’m fine, just a little stumble.” I said, trying to quell my shaky voice, saturated with embarrassment.
He looked closer at my knee under the one of the tall lights lining the gravelly area.
“It looks like you just skinned it”, he said, but gently pressed around it to make sure I didn’t feel any other pain. Even if there was pain, the sheer embarrassment was like a double pump of morphine. I was blushing again, but not in a good way.
Then came my stupidest question ever. I need a freakin’ muzzle at times.
“Do you have any hydrogen peroxide and ointment?”
He just looked at me and smiled.
You see, that’s how my father always tended to my boo-boo’s when I was a child. He’d pour on the hydrogen peroxide – let it foam, then rub on some kind of anti-bacterial healing ointment like neosporin, then cover it with a band-aid and a kiss. As a teen, I fixed my own boo-boo’s using the same method (and I still do to this day), minus the kiss.
RIGHT, I’m sure he kept a well-stocked first-aid kit in his car. Then again, he might have to get one if he wanted to stay with me - la klutz extraordinaire. A splinter, a bloody hangnail, and a skinned knee so far. Was that chunk of meteorite to the head coming? At this rate, I’d be a walking, talking mass of scabs come the end of this vacation.
He wrapped one arm around my waist and one under my knees, and lifted me up effortlessly. He was going to carry me. I was so glad the only thing I’d eaten all day, due to nerves about seeing him again, was one slice of pizza. I felt lighter than ever, which was rare considering the way I usually I eat.
Best.night.of.my.life. back on.
“You don’t need ointment, you’ve got the best medicine right in front of you..miles and miles of it.” he said, as he walked us to the beach.
“Where?” I asked, sounding stupid again.
He gestured straight ahead…”The Atlantic Ocean - It’s just some scrapes, so the salt water will clean it out and start to heal it.”
Hmmm, this was from a guy who duct taped a gaping knife wound in his leg and left it at that.
“Aren’t there creepy, crawly bacteria things in the ocean?” I asked. then immediately wished I could take it back. OMG, shut up!! I thought. Everything that was coming out of my mouth was stupid.
He laughed, “Looks like you have a pretty good immune system and it’s not a large, open wound, it’ll be fine.” He responded, with the confidence and expertise of a real MD.
Dr. Dreamboat? My parents would be overjoyed.
He was awesome. “No, it’s okay, I trust you”, I whispered as I melted in his arms while he carried me. To think, a little over 8 hours earlier I was learning he was back working on the pier, and now I was in his arms, my legs swinging, arms around his strong shoulders, smelling his hair and neck…dying, in a good way. I felt no pain at all. Even the blood dripping down my leg didn’t take away from this moment.
Dripping, bloody knee love, how Goth. Now we just needed thick black eyeliner, tears and The Cure.
He pulled my sneakers off my dangling feet and dropped them on the crumpled blanket he placed down by the dunes – then his own, using a foot for each, all without dropping me. He was so damn strong.
When we got to the edge of the water, he put me down gently, then got down on one knee to operate.
“This is gonna sting, sweetheart” he said as he stuck his hands in the small tides of ocean water washing over our feet.
Oh, I loved when he called me that – he was so self-assured, so mature.
He started gathering up water in his cupped hands to clean it and wash the blood off. It stung like crazy, but my passion for him was so intense, it diluted the pain. Even if some ocean microbe stuck to my skinned knee and moved in, at least I’d die a happy woman.
The way he continued to tend to my knee was so gentle that the JELLO legs kicked in, and I almost keeled over (just what I needed, another face plant). When he was done, I decided maybe I should walk into the ocean up to my knees since it was low tide, to really make sure it was cleaned out.
He walked in with me, holding me around the waist. We walked until a small wave washed over my knee. Then he gently turned me toward him, the moon shining like a spotlight on us. I remember how clear his eyes looked in that moonlight as he placed his hand on my waist. Everything was glistening, silvery and neon blue, as he pulled me close and started to kiss me – soft, then passionate, a years worth of longing and desire in that kiss. It was the hottest kiss I had ever had in my life. He could have done anything to me or with me at that moment, and I probably and happily would have acquiesced. I was putty with him, a sure thing, easier than apple pie.
As my legs jellied, I could feel a Here to Eternity moment, night version, coming on. With my luck, a school of jellyfish would wash over us..stinging only me. Then he’d have to pee on me. No, I’m not a freak, that was what you were supposed to do back then to take away the sting and pain, if you didn’t have fresh, hot water, vinegar or baking soda on hand, and I could pretty much guarantee he didn’t have any of those in his glove compartment.
SO, that would have been one hell of romance killer. Well, at least he could say he marked his territory.
That thought only lasted a second as I melted into his amazing kiss, the feel of his amazing hands running up and down my back and through my hair, his amazing smell….and, well, just his all ’round amazing-ness.
Yeah, this guy was pretty freakin’ amazing!
I can’t remember how long we kissed, but when I felt a wave hit my thighs, it broke the spell a bit. I knew that maybe we needed to get out of the ocean. Of course, he said exactly that the moment I thought it.
We walked slowly back to the blanket, his arm around my shoulder and neck, my arm around his waist. He kept me so close to him and that’s exactly what I wanted. When I settled onto the blanket, he went to get the cooler and radio boombox thingamahjig.
Just like the summer before, I’d never felt as alive as I did with him. Everything was in technicolor blue and silver, the sand creamy white. Every sense was dialed up to 100, the smell of the air being the best briny perfume in the world, and the warm breeze brushing my skin like soft fingers. The stars were a mass of glitter, and I could see every twinkle clearly. He returned and immediately turned the radio boombox to that classic rock station he loved. Even music was better with him. Songs I didn’t like were amazing with him. He held up a lemonade and a nip. I chose the nip because even beer tasted good with him. My senses were exposed nerves, but all pleasure – no pain.
Even the knee.
Before settling down, he kissed my knee. Okay, if he doesn’t propose, I will..maybe even tonight.
We laid down on our sides facing each other, his hand resting on my waist as I told him the whole story about the night we left. I sipped more of the nip, finishing it, then asking for another. I was too excited, nervous and emotional, I needed this liquid relaxant badly. He ran his hand back and forth from my waist, over my hips and down my leg, tracing me, as I continued to tell him the story. Now I understood why cats purred when you stroked their backs.
“Your legs are so smooth.” he whispered sexily.
I KNEW shaving my legs with 10 minutes to go as a smart idea. Hmm, I was actually right about something that night. Forget Atlantic City, the streak had just ended, but I was still loaded with chips, for keeps.
Then he told me his story; how he thought I may have fallen asleep the next night when he came to get me..but then knew something was really off when I didn’t stop by the pier the night after that, and again, no me when he came by after work.
“I stopped by before work the next day, after the second night I didn’t see you. I could see the house was empty, so I asked some guy next door. He said he didn’t even remember seeing anyone staying there.” He said softly, while he played with my hair.
I recalled the people next door had left earlier that day, so this guy and his family probably moved in after we left. I told him that.
“Well, that’s why I thought you might have been a ghost, I thought I was going crazy.” He said with a slight chuckle.
I couldn’t take it..I stuck my beer in the sand and pressed myself against him, hugging him as tight as I could. I didn’t even care how he took it. That was the first time I had ever heard him sound vulnerable. Wait, this was technically our fourth date, a year between dates three and four, there were loads of sides of him I hadn’t experienced yet. I couldn’t wait for more.
We continued to discuss, in soft voices, our year apart. We both couldn’t stop thinking about each other throughout the year.
I couldn’t believe this beautiful, strong, sexy, amazing guy couldn’t get me out of his mind either. I almost wanted to ask if he propped pillows up on his window sill and cried like I did. Glad I didn’t.
“I kept thinking..Wow, if she isn’t a ghost, she’s graduating high school and probably going to her prom. I wonder what lucky guy is taking her?” He said as he twirled a strand of my hair around one finger.
I unconsciously or instinctively pulled away just a little bit..the guilt rushing in and flooding our little moment. I felt the hard pull of that strand of hair, still wrapped around his finger, so I carefully eased myself back to him with a small smile, hoping he didn’t think it odd.
Shit..I’d forgotten that I added a year and a half to my age so he wouldn’t think I was too young. He thought I was a high school grad and now was NOT the time to tell him the truth. This was already the best night of my life. I wanted it to stay that way.
I didn’t answer him because I didn’t want to lie to him anymore. I pressed my lips against his and soon we were back to the steamy kissing that took place in the ocean. I needed at least this night with him before I dropped the bomb.
Part 9 coming soon!
Now to the Winner of the $50 Visa card and Peanut Butter! Random.Org chose…
Susan Smith, who loves Peanut Butter on an English Muffin for Breakfast. Congrats, Susan, you will be receiving an email ASAP. If I don’t hear back from Susan within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen, so stay tuned!
Raspberry Egg Cream
Recipe adapted from What’s Cooking America via Bonni Lee Brown, with my revisions and a different technique
Yields: One Egg Cream
About a scant 1/2 cup cold whole milk*
2 to 3 tablespoons raspberry syrup (recipe follows)
* skim or low -fat milk doesn’t as foam well, but will still taste good. Try soy or almond milk, if you like.
Fresh Raspberry Reduction Syrup
Adapted from Making Life Delicious
Makes enough syrup for about 4 egg creams
24 ounces fresh raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
1. Make Fresh Raspberry Reduction Syrup. In a medium to large saucepan, cook down the raspberries with sugar until they’ve broken down and released their juices..they will be floating in their own liquid – super saucy. If you use frozen, this will take longer. Strain cooked down, sweetened raspberries in a fine meshed sieve into a bowl, pressing down on them to get every bit of liquid out. You should have about 1 cup raspberry juice. Place this back in a clean saucepan, and cook down until reduced to 1/2 cup. It should be thick – like chocolate syrup, and will be dark blood red. Set aside until completely cool.
2. Make Raspberry Egg Cream. Pour the whole milk into a tall soda fountain like glass (about 16 oz). Stir in 2 tablespoons of raspberry syrup until uniform. IMPORTANT PART – keep stirring the raspberry syrup – milk mixture, rapidly, as you pour in the seltzer. A perfect egg cream should have 1 to 2 inches of foam on top. Add an extra tablespoon of raspberry syrup, if not sweet enough.
Optional – Top with a little whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream for healthy), raspberries and chocolate, but it’s really not needed. Stick in a straw and enjoy!