Boiled Custard Holiday Divide

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
boiled custard

Boiled Custard and Ambrosia. Happy holidays, indeed.

Oscar Wilde famously divided people into two groups–charming or tedious. During the holidays in Nashville, we too can divide people into two groups–eggnog or boiled custard. According to Mark Ezell of Purity Dairies, the preference for the two eggy holiday nogs is about equal in Middle Tennessee.

If you are new to the party and don’t know which side you fall on, there is a distinct difference. Eggnog has a very bold nutmeg character, while the old style boiled custard offers a more gentle vanilla profile, the sipping version of the classic sauce crème Anglaise. Both are thick, rich and creamy and take well to a shot of rum or, of course, our favorite Tennessee whiskey.

While eggnog is traditional across the U.S., we’re lucky to have both available in area supermarkets, as Nashville seems to be the buckle of the boiled custard belt. Purity introduced it to Middle Tennessee back in the 1950s and sells more than 100,000 cartons every holiday season.

Ambrosia for the Holidays

While guests are sipping on boiled custard or eggnog, complete the tradition with a big cut glass bowl of ambrosia. Classic ambrosia is a minimalist’s dream come true (i.e., no recipe required), a refreshing sweetened mix of fresh orange chunks and grated coconut. Certainly not necessary, but try adding fresh pineapple bites, or a sprinkling of bright red pomegranate seeds for color.

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