Chunky Nog: A Holiday Love Story
Ann ladled herself a drink and took a big sip.
Something was not right. Mainly, that there appeared to be soft yet solid bits floating in her egg nog.
But she was used to the non-alcoholic store-bought egg nog. She had never had the real thing, so she decided to be a good party guest and smile, choke it down, and give Tom and Lisa the benefit of the doubt that made-from-scratch egg nog was supposed to have that texture.
Later that night, though, Ann’s curiosity got the best of her. Mainly, she was curious about whether or not she needed to drive herself to the hospital to have her stomach pumped once it occurred to her that egg nog contained dairy and that the solid bits in Tom and Lisa’s egg nog may have been solid bits of spoiled milk.
She approached Lisa. They hugged.
“Merry Christmas! Thank you for inviting us, this is wonderful. So, I have to ask you about the egg nog. It’s so…interesting. I must have the recipe!”
“Absolutely! Come with me–I’ll write it down for you right now before I forget.”
Lisa led Ann to the kitchen. She found the recipe card in her file, then pulled out a blank card and a pen and started writing.
“OK, FYI: This recipe makes enough for our big punch bowl out there, so just keep in mind you probably want to halve or quarter the amounts if you’re not making it for a big group. Sooo…basically, you start by hard-boiling a dozen eggs, and–”
“Wait, I–I’ve never made egg nog before, but I thought the eggs or yolks or whatever were just mixed in raw.”
“Oh, yeah–normally they are, but this recipe is different. This is the old Sutton family recipe for chunky-style egg nog. So–you boil the eggs, then peel off the shells–obviously–then you start dicing…”
Lisa’s voice faded away as Ann stopped listening in order to devote all her attention to willing away the nausea she felt welling up inside her.
And a moment later, Tom appeared in the entryway to the kitchen, beaming.
“Babe, the chunky-style nog’s a hit! Nice job!”
Lisa and Ann looked up and, unfortunately for Ann, saw Tom standing there holding a cup of the egg nog and sporting a big chunky-style egg nog mustache. Next to him was Ann’s husband Ron, in the middle of chugging down his cup of egg nog.
As Ann doubled over and let loose her Sutton family recipe chunky-style vomit, she realized she didn’t really know her friends.
She also realized that Lisa and Tom’s First Annual Holiday Hootenanny would likely be the last one she’d ever attend. She would just claim embarrassment over getting sick at this party, but the real reason would be that–while she was still all for peace on Earth, goodwill towards men and all that–she wanted nothing to do with people who drank beverages with egg chunks suspended in them. She’d send them a card offering warm season’s greetings, and that would be as close as she’d get to these weirdos from now on.
Amidst profuse apologies after getting sick as she helped clean up the mess, Ann realized the avoidance of future get-togethers would be a problem on at least one front: Ron seemed to love the newfangled egg nog, to the point where he’d probably want to make a batch of it himself the minute they got home. She knew him, knew his various levels of enthusiasm and,well, he was very stoked about the chunky nog.
Stoked to the point that he seemed genuinely disappointed that Ann’s vomiting meant they had to leave the party. They left in a flurry of hugs and well-wishes and even more apologies, Ron taking a cup of egg nog for the road, Ann doing everything in her power to not look at it.
Tom and Lisa’s front door shut behind them. They took a few steps down the front path, and then Ron stopped. He looked around to make sure they were far enough into darkness that they couldn’t be seen, dropped his to-go egg nog cup next to him into the snow, thrust the car keys in Ann’s direction and said to her in an ominous tone “If you’re OK enough to drive, I’ll need you to do so and get me home as soon as possible, please.”
Ann entered the kitchen from the garage and could hear Ron violently heaving in the upstairs bathroom. He’d bolted from the car and sprinted into the house the second the vehicle had come to a complete stop at home.
Ann approached the bathroom door. “Honey? You OK?”
“Yes” he called out weakly between heaves. “I’m just getting this God-forsaken egg nog out of my system.”
She entered the bathroom. Ron was hunched over the toilet, convulsing.
“But…you seemed to like it at the party…”
Ron turned to her. “I was being nice–way too nice. When I took the first sip of it back at the party I was ready to make a break for it to spit it out into the nearest sink but then Tom came up and clapped me on the back and was all, “Hey, how you like the nog?”…Excuse me.”
He turned and retched into the toilet bowl again, then continued. “So like an idiot I decide to be nice and I force it down and tell Tom, “Oh, it’s great!”, and then Tom was all excited that I liked it so I just went overboard pretending to like it, and then when you got sick from it, I didn’t want to get sick at the party too and offend them so I figured if I could keep it down they’d just think you had a stomach bug or something and we’d have a good excuse to leave so I could be sick elsewhere, and…well, and here we are. I’m an idiot.”
Ann knelt next to him and rubbed his back. “Aw, you’re not an idiot. You’re a sweetheart. You know who’s an idiot? Someone who makes egg nog with hard-boiled eggs, that’s who.”
Ron pulled his head out of the toilet bowl. “I know, right? In what world does that make ANY sense?”
“In a world where you have a china cabinet full of Precious Moments figurines in your living room, I guess.”
Ron laughed. “Oh, man! I was hoping you noticed that. Classy, huh?”
“Indeed.” Ann got to her feet. “All right, then, if you’ve about emptied your stomach, Puky McGee, I’m gonna brush my teeth and go to bed. See ya there–and flush, please.”
“Of course. See you there.”
They slept well that night, with empty but settled stomachs. They held each other, content in the knowledge of both their shared love for one another and their shared hatred of chunky-style egg nog.
And their shared distaste for Precious Moments figurines–but that’s not unique to this story. We can all agree on that one, right?