Chocolat et Crème
The aggregation of matter as it undergoes any transformation into emergent molecules, crystals of varying design, a complex of ingredients based on converging atomic structures, releasing energy and heat, here, there and everywhere, certainly falls within the realm of Chemistry.
The presence or absence of Carbon defines the distinction between organic and inorganic catalytic reactions occurring among various elements. All part of the play of the “Cosmic Mother.”
Composition, also the basis for perspective, a musical sense, movement, art and of course vibration and heat, all clash to form identifiable products quantified by the scientific method. A basis that forms reality as we know it.
One of the first concepts taught in high school chemistry is the simple mixture, first illustrated by the teacher with the glass of chocolate milk, a simple co-mingling of sweet chocolate syrup and mother’s nurturing nibble milk, to illustrate this overly simplistic concept. However in New York, a different transformation occurs as we add seltzer and create the delicious beverage of choice: The Egg Cream.
Steeped in the city’s history that tells a story older than The Statue Of Liberty, The Empire State Building, Macy’s or the NYC Subway System, its origins unknown and yet the Egg Cream remains a memorable curiosity, part of New York’s fascinating blend, a cultural mix which dates to the early 1600’s.
Myth and stories surround this legend, as does the tales of The Seltzer Bottle of Blue, Green or Crystal, now just a remnant of distant decades, found only at a Flea Market or a random fair held as the cement bakes in the summer months in neighborhoods of a modern day Alexandria, a major crossroad of diverse cultures.
Rumored to have its origins in the Nineteenth Century in Brooklyn, before it merged with greater New York, although the Lower East Side contends it was discovered in Manhattan. One of the debates involve Louis Auster, although Stanley, his grandson was quoted as saying, “the origins of the name are lost in time.” One theory he proposed is that the term “Egg” is a corruption of the Yiddish “echt“, which means genuine or real, hence the notion that an Egg Cream included yolk and whites. In actuality it’s more like an ice cream soda without the ice cream.
Another version claims its origin in Paris, France, under the name “Chocolat et Crème”, with an accent grave over the first e. Hence, phonetically, it sounds like Chocolate Egg Cream, although evidence presented in a work from 1859, Domestic And Rural Affairs: The Family, Farm And Gardens, And The Domestic Animals, does include a recipe that consists of barely more than these ingredients with a bit of Cinnamon for medicinal purposes.
The landscape of ingredients is not the only factor that validates its flavor, as most who understand that the taste of any good egg cream is reflected by the way the elements are combined to produce a head. The consensus is that U-BET, a unique and tasteful chocolate syrup, is the only way to begin, preferably using a Coca Cola glass commonly found in any candy store. An inch of the syrup and of cow’s milk kept in separate layers until the seltzer is squirted while tilting the glass as the flow of carbonated water hits the milk, mixing the contents using a spoon to grow the head. Some in The Bronx claim the seltzer must hit the spoon to yield the best head, while others swear that a fork is even better to get a head, which appears as it does on a frosted mug filled with beer creating a white mustache on the upper lip as the egg cream is drunk.
Perhaps the French have a better way to give “Chocolat et Crème” the head it deserves, since they claim it first originated in Paris, a frothy thought.