Egg Cream

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An egg cream is a cold beverage consisting of milk, carbonated water, and flavored syrup (typically chocolate or vanilla). Despite the name, the drink contains neither eggs nor cream.

The egg cream is almost exclusively a fountain drink. Although there have been several attempts to bottle it, none have been wholly successful, as its refreshing taste and characteristic head require mixing of the ingredients just before drinking.

Most writing on the egg cream assumes that it originated among Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New York City. This has led to a variety of theories to explain the widely noted paradox that the New York City egg cream is made with neither eggs nor cream.

Stanley Auster, the grandson of the beverage’s alleged inventor, has been quoted as saying that the origins of the name are lost in time. One commonly accepted origin is that egg is a corruption of the German word ‘echt’ — also found in Yiddish, meaning ‘genuine’ or ‘real’ — and this was a ‘good cream.’

Food historian Andrew Smith writes: ‘During the 1880s, a popular specialty was made with chocolate syrup, cream, and raw eggs mixed into soda water. In poorer neighborhoods, a less expensive version of this treat was created, called the Egg Cream (made without the eggs or cream).’

Another explanation comes from reports that it grew out of a request for ‘chocolat et crème’ from someone, possibly the actor Boris Thomashefsky who had experienced a similar drink in Paris, which according to his heavy accent morphed the name into something like ‘egg cream,’ which then developed into the current term.

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