Eggnog EggcessOn April 13, 2022 by Elyse
Ah, the sweet signs of spring: birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and eggnog consumption is soaring. As we learned last year, with this boozy beverage in hand, your Easter celebrations can be just as merry as your Christmas festivities.
Sadly, no matter what time of year you indulge, there’s always somebody out there trying to steal your joy:
Gone. . . is the happiness of the man who waits just for Easter that he may hit things up a bit and blame it all on the eggnog. . . The Philadelphia Retail Liquor Dealers Association, realizing that the eggs, sugar and milk used in eggnog should not be wasted in pleasing the palates of saloon customers, has decided to abandon the usual Easter practice.– The Evening Public Ledger, March 27, 1918
Likewise, decades earlier, an “anti-eggnog” movement sprung up in Baltimore in the winter of 1872:
There is no doubt that much of the drunkenness which too frequently disgraces Christmas Day is due to the free liquor and egg-nog of the bar rooms.– The New York Times, 1872
Many thanks to friend-of-the-blog Karen for alerting me to these killjoys! (Incidentally, Karen co-hosts the delightful “The Podcast at Dawn’s House,” which focuses on a historical era closer to our own time: the iconic Baby-Sitters Club books. You should check it out.)
Although I enjoy a holiday tipple as much as anyone, the newspapers might have had a point.
A Baltimore man who made calls Christmas day says that at one house the lady told him that, as her husband belonged to the church, it was their custom not to place the eggnog bowl upon the dining room table with the other good things, but to keep it in the kitchen, so that those of their friends who were fond of the mellow concoction could take it unobserved.
She meant do keg—egg—stands unobserved. Probably.
He declined her invitation to take a glass, but consented to go to the kitchen to see three beautiful Maltese kittens, of which she was very proud. When they entered the kitchen they were surprised to see that the eggnog bowl was empty. A second glance turned their surprise into amazement, for, lying prone upon the table, were the three kittens, dead drunk.
Fellow Millennials, let me introduce you to the newest stars of the D.A.R.E. campaign.
So very drunk were they that when the lady, in her indignation, threw them out of the back window, they fell upon the pavement without a sign of pain, and remained there until they slept off the effects of the eggnog, when they became as lively as ever.– The Ellsworth American, January 20, 1887
Further proof that cats have nine lives. I’m less concerned about the kittens’ drinking problem than that woman’s anger management issues. Hello, PETA? It’s me again.
Sleepy kittens aren’t eggnog’s only victim:
It appears that in company with several friends he had partaken extravagantly of egg-nog and other good things until that condition was produced which was so familiar to the lover of Christmas cheer. In this semi-conscious state, while endeavoring to partake of solid food, he swallowed six or seven false teeth, together with the plate to which they were attached. . .
I’ll spare you the newspaper’s detailed explanation of the mechanics of the mishap.
The unfortunate man did not seem to be aware of his condition until the following day, when the absence of his teeth and intense pain in the region of the stomach excited his apprehensions which were subsequently verified in all their frightful reality.
After several failed treatments:
. . . the only mode by which the patient could be relieved was by the operation known as “gastronomy,” or opening of the stomach. After the proper incisions had been made, to the great surprise of all present, a set of false teeth met their gaze. They were at once removed, and at the request of the patient restored to their former position.– The News and Herald, March 31, 1881
After that, who can blame him for avoiding a trip to the dentist and answering some very awkward questions?
Perhaps the best reason to ban eggnog is to never again see an ad like this one:
Please tell me I’m not the only one who will see that demonic rabbit in my dreams from now until Christmas. However, since there’s no erasing that image, eggnog can only help keep those nightmares away.
However and whatever holiday you’re celebrating this spring, ensure it’s a hoppy one by keeping your pets sober, keeping an eye—or a tongue—on your dentures and steering clear of whiskey-bottle-riding rabbits.
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Welcome to Second Glance History! This blog seeks to uncover the people and the stories forgotten by history and give them another read through a modern lens. Join me every week as we examine the differences that divide and the common threads that connect the then to the now.