Growing up my family had a tradition of Friday night dinners at my grandparents’ house. My parents, sisters and I would relish in the excitement leading up to what we knew would be the best meal of the week – every week. My sisters and I would always spend the night and know we’d be well fed, well cared for, and well fed again come breakfast time.
In addition to the standard Jewish fare of chicken soup and challah, the table was always graced with Hungarian cuisine, pickles, and large glass bottles with an unusual nozzle. These glass bottles contained still water, but when poured became carbonated – like magic. Long before my sisters and I were allowed to drink soda, we were drinking seltzer. Delivered every other week, it was about as close as my family got to what I imagine my mom and grandparents must have experienced in the Jewish community of 1960s Brooklyn, New York.
Common in Jewish American communities in the 1960s, seltzer delivery continues today. In Toronto, Magda Soda Water has been delivering the product since 1957. Cari and I were excited to add it to our culinary indulgences. Now that she’s pregnant, she’s been eager for more interesting beverages that aren’t overloaded with chemicals and caffeine. A little bit of juice and seltzer goes a long way at satisfying these cravings. And it’s a good alternative for her when I want my beer or glass of wine.
Another common use for seltzer is a tasty, carbonated chocolate drink called an Egg Cream. There seem to be many strong differing opinions about how to make one, but here’s what works best for us: Fill a tall glass with about an inch of chocolate syrup, an additional inch of milk, and the rest with seltzer. Common legend states that Egg Creams must be consumed right away for best effect. Who are we to argue with that?
And now for a first-time-ever video component to our blog, featuring my mom demonstrating the true Brooklyn Egg Cream:
The authentic Egg Cream chocolate syrup she refers to is U-Bet, found here.