How to make good eggnog

Per fare bono zambaglione per farne una taza, piglia quatro ova zoè lo rossame, e [...] zucharo e canella a sufficienzia et de bono vino amabille, e sel fusse troppo fumoso mettili uno poco d'aqua o de brodo magro poi fale cocere amò se coce lo brodeto et sempre menace con lo cugiaro et quando se imbratta [ponilo in taza]. egg yolks
sweetish wine
To make a portion of good eggnog, get four eggs (just the yolks) and [...] a generous amount of sugar and cinnamon, and add some sweetish wine. If the mixture begins to smell like smoke, add a little water or lean broth. Cook in the same way as broth, stirring constantly with a spoon, and when it soils [the spoon, serve it in a cup].


This very antique recipe, which appears in Martino Rossi's manuscript preserved at Riva del Garda (but not contained in the Washington manuscript ), was often recommended for people who had to do strenuous work or who were debilitated. For example, in his book on obstetrics published in 1569, Girolamo Mercurio, a Roman physician, recommended eggnog for women in childbirth. Mercurio, who also included a recipe for eggnog in his book, defines it as a Milanese speciality and specifies the same ingredients as Martino. It is interesting to note the many attempts that have been made to indicate the precise moment when this brew is ready to serve: Marino says it is done when it "soils" (that is, when the mixture is so dense that it adheres to the wooden spoon and "soils" it), while Mercurio maintains that eggnog is ready when it assumes "the thickness of the top of milk" (that is, the consistency of cream). In any event, Nico Marin was the master of modern eggnog. Many restaurant owners, cooks, customers and friends in Italy and abroad remember him after the evening meal when, brandishing his inseparable copper sauce pot, he would delve into the art of creating the extraordinary, soft, smooth and light eggnogs which he happily served to anyone who happened to be dining at the time.

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