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Ben and Jerry vs. 
Fran and Izzy

by Jim Fetter

Many displaced Gerritsen Beachers probably have had the opportunity in recent years to purchase ice cream at a Ben and Jerry’s establishment. If you have not, I highly recommend you do so. Their ice cream is arguably the best available today.

I recently took my family to my local Ben and Jerry’s in Old Town Alexandria Virginia. As they each ordered from the many wonderful exotic flavors on the menu, I opted for the advertised egg cream. The story begins here.

When I asked the sales person for an egg cream, I received this blank stare in return. The salespersons are typically high school or college students and haven’t got a clue what I was talking about. I might as well have asked for a copy of the Brooklyn Eagle.

After repeating the foreign term "egg cream" and pointing to the menu, the staff huddled and pulled the company recipe book from the shelf. I guess common sense should have prevailed at this point, but I was inquisitive to see the results. It was worth the price of admission.

It started out with a paper cup, which didn’t help. The ingredients were all included, but the proportions were far from accurate. The coup de grace however was putting the cup and the ingredients onto an electric mixer. As we left the store my kids were trading tastes of pistachio, coconut-almond-chocolate-chip and cherry garcia. My wife Susan asked if I was enjoying my egg cream. I smiled and replied how the memories are better than the drink could ever be.

I remember how Fran or Izzy could make a wonderfully concocted egg cream for a dime in less time than it took me to browse through the candy counter. A squirt of chocolate or vanilla syrup, a splash of milk, add seltzer water and stir - in a real glass yet. It was wonderful!

Recipe #1

2 tbs chocolate syrup
6 oz. whole milk
6 oz. seltzer
Mix syrup and milk in a fountain glass. Add seltzer, serve with a straw.

Recipe #2

1 cup milk
1/4 cup seltzer
1/8 cup chocolate syrup, such as Fox's U-Bet Syrup

Pour 1 cup of milk into a 12-ounce glass. Top with a spritz of seltzer so that the white foam reaches the top of the glass. Place a spoon in the glass. Pour 2 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup into the glass, and stir to blend the syrup into the milk.

In the early 1970s, Stuart Grunther and Ron Roth owned a  siphon seltzer distributing company in NYC. They were  responsible for creating the world's largest egg cream in Central Park, NY. It was 110 gallons large and each and every drop was given away. It was covered by all the news media including AP wire services

As an aside, the research that they did on the egg cream provided the following:

The original egg cream was made from a paste that was made from cream, chocolate syrup, and eggs. This was deposited in a glass, 1/3 and then filled with Seltzer water. This produced the foamy head that was and is synonymous with the perfect egg cream. It was during World War II, when food stuffs were scarce, that the egg and cream was removed from the recipe

Last changed: December 19, 2002

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