The 'Shroom:Issue 197/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Shroom2017 Anton.png

If you've made it this far without melting, congratulations! Your prize for making it through this nasty heat wave is some reviews, including a one-time Movie Review from Meta Knight (talk)!

Congratulations to A Report on the Effectiveness of Power-Ups for winning July's Critic Corner Section of the Month!! Be sure to give your love to all of our sections here, and give a shout out to our writers whether in chat or in their forum threads dedicated to their sections. Be sure to vote vote vote!

And now for my regular announcements: We've decided to implement in Critic Corner something similar to News Flush over in Fake News, where no formal sign-up application process is required for one-time or limited sections. From now on if you just want to send in a single review for something you just read, watched played, tried, whatever, you just have to send me your review privately either to me directly in chat, or in a message to me on the forum at least one week before each 'Shroom is to be released! There's no commitment or obligation to provide a full monthly section (although you absolutely can shift it into one if you so choose), just send us your thoughts on a thing and we'll feature it here! If you have any questions or curiosities about this, please feel free to ask!

As always, if you would like to help Critic Corner, we always have openings for more writers! You are free to write for sections such as Character Review and Movie Review, or really anything you'd like to do! There's no pressure to have a huge section; they can be shorter and concise! The application process is very simple, starting with reading the Sign Up page, and sending your application to Meta Knight on the forum. Any idea you have is welcome, and if you have any questions or need help signing up, please feel free to reach out to myself or other 'Shroom peeps!

Section of the Month

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st A Report on the Effectiveness of Power-Ups 11 47.83% Shoey (talk)
2nd The Shadow Prince's Episode of Episodes 4 17.39% The Shadow Prince (talk)
2nd 'Shroom FM 4 17.39% MrConcreteDonkey (talk)

Reviews / opinion pieces
Please see her as more than Call Me Maybe, PLEASE.
Lady Eboshi best character.

'Shroom FM

Written by: MrConcreteDonkey (talk)

Hello. Been very busy this month with awards etc. (thank you for voting me "Mr 'Shroom 2023" for the 13th year running, no that award was real you all just missed it) but here's a couple of albums I listened to. And an EP too!! That's like a small album.

Blur - The Ballad of Darren

The Ballad of Darren
Blur are back! After... 8 years? That's not very long. Not long compared to the gap between their last two albums, at least, as there were 12 years between Think Tank and The Magic Whip. The Ballad of Darren - Darren is their bodyguard - is unfortunately quite underwhelming. I listened to The Magic Whip a lot when it came out, and it's definitely not a perfect album, but it definitely shifted the band's sound in a few new directions, while still being faithful to their earlier work. The Ballad of Darren seems half like it's trying to evoke their earlier work - especially the cover art - and half like it's trying to fit in with wherever alt rock is now. A few songs here remind me of the songs I've heard from Arctic Monkeys' album The Car from last year - well-composed and mature, but overall meandering. It's definitely well-produced and you can't fault the band themselves or Damon Albarn's vocals, but as a whole it just passes by without feeling much more than "pleasant". This isn't really related to the music, but The Ballad of Darren feels like a bit of an afterthought. The reunion concerts were the main event - and they were apparently brilliant, to be fair - whereas this album just feels like a bonus CD. Wow, between this and Gorillaz I have really had it out for Damon Albarn this year. Better hope there's not another The Good, the Bad & the Queen album out soon.

George Clanton - Ooh Rap I Ya

I don't have too much to say about this. Right from the piercing opening note of "Everything I Want", this album is a gorgeous rush, full of rich chillwave-inspired pop. George Clanton's two previous solo albums are brilliant, and this one is no exception. Warm, dreamy and dense enough to sink right into.

Carly Rae Jepsen - The Loveliest Time

The Loveliest Time
This is a follow-up/companion album to last year's The Loneliest Time, featuring songs from that album's recording session. I though The Loneliest Time was good but it didn't do too much for me, so sort of expected the same from this. I was wrong, though. This is the best stuff Carly's put out since E·MO·TION. I may have just forgotten how the previous album sounded, but this one feels so much more bright and alive. She explores so many different styles here - the opener, "Anything to Be With You" is led by a really catchy drumbeat and a fun, sparse guitar line; "Kollage" is chilled and psychedelic; "Put It to Rest" layers a slow-building breakbeat over melancholic, jazzy piano. One of my favourite moments is when she interpolates "Midas Touch" by Midnight Star towards the end of "Shy Boy". Carly's performance over the whole album is superb too, never letting the energy down. By far one of the most fun and rewarding albums of the year.

Turnstile & BADBADNOTGOOD - New Heart Designs

On New Heart Designs, Turnstile have enlisted BADBADNOTGOOD to completely turn their style. The end result? ADEQUATEADEQUATENOTGREAT. This EP consists of three reimagined versions of songs from Turnstile's album Glow On, turning them from pop punk into... jazz pop punk. BBNG's psychedelic instrumentals are well-made and do sound nice, but do sometimes clash quite a bit with the vocals. "Mystery" in particular is very perplexing, with the instrumental feeling a bit non-present; "Underwater Boi" is better but has the opposite issue, the instrumental is so lively that the vocals feel pointless. The only place where they really strike the balance is the middle track, "Alien Love Call", working in tandem to great effect. I stand by my take in the original review that the pitched up/down vocals sound stupid.

Further listening

Movie Review

Written by: Meta Knight (talk)

Princess Mononoke
Genres Anime, Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release date December 19, 1997
Starring Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver
Runtime 2 hours, 13 minutes
Ratings PG-13 (12A)

Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫) is a 1997 film produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. This is without a doubt, my favorite Studio Ghibli movie. I’ve seen it before a while ago, but I had the chance to watch this movie in the theater recently and it was a breathtaking experience. All the different aspects that make a great film add up to something truly masterful.

The story starts off with prince Ashitaka. While defending his village from a vicious demon, he ends up cursed. Banished from his town shortly after, Ashitaka races against the clock for answers as to why the demon attacked his town, and hopefully a cure before his corrupted body kills him. What ensues is a fantasy epic as Ashitaka becomes caught in the crossfire of war between humans and nature. When I first watched this flick, the opening premise hooked me instantly and throughout the film I was thoroughly engaged. Additionally, the pacing is fine-tuned. While the run time is a little over two hours, the movie knows when to take time to breathe for its characters, and when to ramp things up.

The world that Miyazaki has created for this film looks incredible. There’s a lot of detailed animation as well, particularly with the wriggling movements in the demon, and several small creatures in the forest. This is not a movie for little kids however, as there is blood and other imagery that some younger folks might find disturbing. However, I am not a small kid, and I really appreciate how Princess Mononoke doesn’t shy away from violence when necessary to tell this story. The score really helps carry the weight too and is wonderfully done. I could see some people have an issue with dialogue. Specifically, I watched the dub and a character named Jigo had some one-liners that didn’t really do it for me. Still, they were my only real gripe, and even then it’s a bit of a nitpick. Every other major character in this movie is great to watch every time they show up on screen. Lady Eboshi of Iron Town, the titular Princess Mononoke (whose name is San by the way), Ashitaka, etc. They fit their roles superbly and are compelling in their own right.

Princess Mononoke is a tale about trying to find peace in a world where there is none. It feels more mature than some of Miyazaki’s other works, without being pretentious, and without being bleak just for the sake of it. I was a bit vague on specific plot elements, but this is the kind of movie you should just see for yourself. Give it a watch and I guarantee you’ll find a lot to enjoy. Thanks for reading!

Anton's Half-Baked Reviews

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Maybe it was just me, but I feel I have insight as someone who reviews food, shops in the dairy department basically every day, and ALSO works in a grocery store for most of my conscious life–I simply did not see much eggnog on the shelves this year. Not only were many varieties out-of-stock or not even produced at all, the season came and went in a flash due to our culture’s rigid idea that 12:01am December 26th is the end of winter. In the event that you have no creature to milk your eggnog from, you should know that making your own can be surprisingly easy, and the ingredients are all simple and available at any time.

Alton Brown’s Eggnog


Pretty much every recipe had this setup which made figuring out which picture belonged to which a chore.

I’m starting off with Alton Brown’s recipe as I’ve seen it often referred to as the best basic and traditional eggnog, and because I am a fan of his and respect his way of discussing food in fun and goofy scientifically educational ways. More celebrity chefs and food personalities should focus less on perfecting posh photo opportunities for Erewhon and PCC shoppers, working overtime to host low-budget copy-paste Food Network game shows to finance their latest biography cookbook to sit on the shelves at Williams-Sonoma, and instead focus on creating chances for high quality wholesome experiences that sate curiosities of culture in ways Bourdain did. I’ve had ENOUGH of Ree Drummond and Anne Burrell, not even to speak the names of the bad boy chefs littering Disney Springs, Restaurant Row, and International Drive here in Orlando with tourist trap garbage. With this classic eggnog recipe I aspire to bring the winds of winter to my 104F sun-scorched hellscape.

4 large eggs, separated

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 fluid ounces bourbon
1 1/4 fluid ounces dark rum
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon, rum, and nutmeg and stir to combine. Move mixture to a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

A pretty simple-looking set of directions, just kinda plop everything in, easy enough to put together, but a critical failure point is keeping the egg whites absolutely free of yolks or literally anything else, as any impurity will make it impossible to whip into thick and fluffy stiff peaks and instead just be a frothy soup. I know I’m capable of doing this, and have whipped egg whites to perfect stiff peaks with ease before while making homemade ice cream, but it’s just a stupid singular element in an otherwise painfully easy recipe to have to consider for such a make-or-break thing.

Once made it’s pretty foamy, with the spices easily sinking towards the bottom. After a couple days in the fridge the immense amount of foam has settled, either reintegrating with the rest of the liquid or hardening into a light froth collecting near the top that can be brought back in while shaking the bottle vigorously, an action that is required either way as all of the spices have settled to the bottom. With letting it cool down fully into a nice chilled drink, the first taste is pretty good! An enjoyable level of sweetness carries over what could’ve been a gut-churning raw egg taste, with the nutmeg doing all the work for that seasonal flavor with no need for the rest of its pumpkin spice brethren. The alcohol is apparent in it, a heavy contributor to the particular flavor so I do not think excluding it would render a similar drink, but if you want to avoid whatever illegal behavior or vice you think may come about from this I’m sure you can just use bourbon and rum extracts. Whatever brand you choose will shine through, as I can definitely discern that I used a different rum than what I normally have for other drinks I make. I cannot fully judge this recipe on the flavor of the alcohol I selected, but I can say that Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve Jamaica Rum carried with it an appropriate flavor of vanilla and spice that works very well in a wintery drink that reflects those, It was thick enough for me to consider it a specialty drink rather than just flavored milk; certainly could’ve been thicker, and I know it could’ve, and that is entirely dependent on your egg white whipping ability; but honestly it’s fine without that success, and wasn’t as make-or-break as I thought it might’ve been.


I need to invest in another fridge.

Satisfied with his initial recipe, I figured I’d move onto the aged eggnog, which by the ingredients looks pretttttty similar, but with the added step of letting it sit in the fridge for much longer which is right up my alley. Aging eggnog is kind of an eggnog enthusiasts thing, further polarizing themselves away from the people dropping eggnog entirely because of its high fat content and queasy feeling at the thought of chugging a dozen eggs, as aging it adds in the concept of letting that dozen of eggs slosh around in dairy in your fridge well beyond the expiration dates all for the promise of deeper flavor. It also has historical precedent, with its high alcohol content being the primary way to store it for longer periods of time pre-refrigeration.

I was also going to do his Easy Cooked Eggnog recipe, but it seems to be a much more complicated and higher-skill recipe for a payoff being peace of mind regarding the safety of the now not-raw eggs that I don’t need because I understand that eggs in this country are pasteurized (or otherwise labeled accordingly) and the risk is as low as about any other normal thing, not to speak of how the alcohol will sterilize the raw eggs within the eggnog relative to their percentage. As I learned trying this, and in a later recipe, cooking the eggs without scrambling them is a much more difficult and precarious task than it might seem, and with the expense of the ingredients involved, it’s not something I really care to get into and neither should you; just buy a jug in the 4th quarter of the year if you need to.

12 large eggs, pasteurized if you need peace of mind

1 pound sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pint half-and-half
1 pint whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup Jamaican rum
1 cup cognac
1 cup bourbon

  • Separate the eggs and store the whites for another application.
  • Beat the yolks with the sugar and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until the mixture lightens in color and falls off the whisk in a solid ribbon.
  • Combine dairy, booze, and salt in a second bowl or pitcher and then slowly beat into the egg mixture.
  • Move to a large glass jar (or a couple of smaller ones) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 weeks. A month would be better, and 2 better still. In fact, there’s nothing that says you couldn’t age it a year, but I’ve just never been able to wait that long. And yes, you can also drink it right away.
  • Serve in mugs or cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated on top.
I guess you can choose how flavorful your drink is by shaking this back into it or not.

As I made this I quickly realized just how much stuff is going into this, especially liquids, quickly exceeding the volume of my chosen glass containers and filling my fridge much more than I intended. With the booze in this being about 40% of the total volume in the mix (liquor scientists feel free to correct me), the whole thing should be sterilized beyond most barriers of concern after a day or two, and optimally three weeks.

Not wanting the 12 egg whites to go to waste I decided to fry and scramble them up as it’s the absolute most simplest thing to do when suggestions online say to make things like meringue, pavlova, soufflé, and even face masks. A little salt, pepper, lots of butter, other nonsense, and I can safely tell you that just egg whites has gotta be the least satisfying food option anyone can select, devoid of absolutely anything, and somehow leaving me more hungry than when I started despite getting most of the way through it.

Same Day

Yes, I drank this the same day that I made this on, April 11th, 2023, after I felt it had chilled enough in my fridge, as I know the eggs were pasteurized and the inherent risk of salmonella to begin with is 1 in 20,000, so I felt pretty safe and am still here months later to confirm I did not die. Smooth, rich, warm. Good flavor throughout, did not taste eggy at all and did not have any goopy thickness that made me overly aware that eggs were involved in its creation. An easy way to get drunk fast as the amount of liquor in this is substantial, but well-masked.

Two Weeks

Right up to the moment Alton’s recipe states as the minimum, definitely more of a punch with the alcohol, but still a comforting warmth that goes down easily. The spices are strikingly apparent which has me half-thinking to just let the particles settle a bit before sneaking a sip from the top.

One Month

Reddit science tells me that after 3 weeks any of the lightness and texture from the whipped egg whites, which are instead suggested to be added fresh upon serving, will have dissipated. As a result, it feels like it’s getting thicker, aided by the visuals of the surface layer leaving heavy residue stuck to the inside of the jug.

Three Months

A thick glob has plugged the top, unsure if it’s primarily the milk or the egg doing this, but is nonetheless slightly unsettling. Violently shaking the bottle merely dislodges it, and reintegration seems unlikely, so I chug some chunks to get a feel for it then purse my lips to get some liquid as a lactic slime beast gloms against my mustache.

Four Months

This is about the aging time Alton Brown prefers, and something has clicked for me here, too. All of the subtle changes I’ve been noticing have seemed to come together very nicely. The physical smoothness is so pleasing to just have coat my insides, the alcohol burn has mellowed out to the point that you can hardly tell except for the flavors, which have all integrated with each other in a wonderfully homogeneous way, starting to resemble a custard as Alton indicates eggnog basically is.

Macadamia with coconut milk

The macadamia nut milk separated much more rapidly and dramatically.

Eggnog is often seen as an overly indulgent treat that’s to be enjoyed sparingly at special times, and to that I say BOOOOOO, what is this life if not to enjoy our positive and pleasurable sensations for as often and as long as we can do so? But for the sake of things, how about a dairy-free eggnog? Only sweetened naturally with honey or syrup instead of a full bag of sugar?

6 egg yolks
⅓ c raw honey
⅓ c maple syrup
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ c macadamia nut milk, divided substitute any nut or non-dairy milk
14 oz coconut milk, canned approx 1 can
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ c spiced rum
½ c cognac
1 c whiskey

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, honey, maple syrup, and nutmeg and cinnamon until well combined and thickened slightly.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup macadamia nut milk and coconut milk over medium heat until steaming.
  • While whisking the egg mixture, slowly drizzle the steaming milk mixture into the egg mixture, tempering the eggs. Whisk until well combined.
  • Stir in the remaining macadamia nut milk. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Stir in all the liquors and vanilla extract.
  • Chill thoroughly (about 6 hours) and serve very chilled with fresh nutmeg sprinkled on top.
Genuinely a fun process.

So this recipe does say that you can swap in any other nut or non-dairy milk, but the one that is used here is macadamia nut milk and that is also the one I want to use. The unfortunate thing is that macadamia nut milk is…not exactly ‘difficult’ to find, but can be really expensive, and generally hard to find varieties of, and I refuse to buy Milkadamia again due to my frustrations with their CEO’s fallacious philosophies, so I was left with no other comfortable choice but to make my own. Macadamia nut milk is made exactly the same way as any other nut milk, and is fairly simple, requiring very few ingredients with whatever other complexity being your own choice. Basically, soak the nuts in water for a few hours (up to a day), drain the water, then add 1 part nuts into a blender with 4 parts water along with whatever other nonsense you may want to add (pinch of salt, honey, syrup, vanilla extract, whatever), blend it all together and dump that resultant clod onto thin fabric and squeeze the absolute life out of it to collect any liquid from within. For my purposes here I used about 2 cups of macadamia nuts with about 5 cups of water, as I wanted the nut milk to have a thicker consistency, and also added a pinch of salt, a couple drops of vanilla extract, and some maple syrup as I know that unsweetened nut milk is one of Hell’s creations to torment damned souls for eternity.

The immediate impression I’m getting from this is chunks, chunks, and more chunks, just absolutely not what I want to experience with what should be a smooth drink. From what I can tell, from plucking some bits out and rubbing it between my fingers, is that it’s macadamia nut debris that either somehow escaped the bag or was fine enough to get through the cheese cloth and then congeal back with each other. Perhaps the eggs scrambled, or the fat from the coconut milk separated, but I ran all of the liquid through a sieve again to pull everything out. After finally getting most of the irritating grit out, I was able to experience the flavor as being quite simply macadamia nut with the liquor in it. Incredibly thin, likely a sum of the parts being insufficient thickness from the macadamia nut milk and a lack of foamy stiff-peak eggs to contribute to the texture. Not very exciting, not worth all of the effort even discounting the homemade nut milk, just seems to be more a recipe that was created with base qualifying ingredients in mind behind satisfying diet and health requests, rather than performing as a custardy nog. Just seems like too many potential points of failure here for me, turning what should be a simple recipe into something that can break down with the slightest miscalculation, too heavy of a pour, or too few stirs of a whisk, unknown until too late.

Perhaps there’s some logic to additives and thickeners.

Eggnog with Oat Milk

On the right you can see all the egg pieces floating, which is more stomach-churning than if it was just raw goop.

An incredibly simple recipe that can have the oat milk swapped out for anything else, but with oat milk chosen as it tends to be thicker, and thus provides the higher chance of mimicking eggnog.

4 egg yolks (see notes for vegan option)

3 tablespoon maple syrup
3 cups unsweetened oat milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus extra for serving
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and maple syrup. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Then, in a large saucepan, pour in the oat milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
  • Heat the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Then, use a ladle or a serving spoon to transfer a few tablespoons of the warmed oat milk to the egg mixture. Stir or whisk the eggs as you slowly pour in the oat milk. This process is called tempering and helps keep the eggs from scrambling.
  • Continue adding a few more ladles of warmed oat milk to the egg mixture, stirring continuously.
  • Then, reduce the heat on the saucepan to low and slowly pour the egg mixture into the oat mixture, stirring the whole time to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
  • Let the mixture come to a gentle simmer and then turn off the heat.
  • Transfer the eggnog to a pitcher and serve warm or chilled, with a sprinkling of ground nutmeg on top (optional).
  • Store any leftover eggnog in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

I intended on following this recipe several times, using Planet Oat Extra Creamy Oatmilk Original and Malk Vanilla Oat, both of which I plan on including in future alternative dairy reviews. Interesting to see that the egg whites are not to be used here, either, if the implication is that the ingredients and properties of the oat milk will compensate. As I was making this it was pretty apparent how runny it was, deepening my suspicions of the recipe calling for just four egg yolks when other longstanding successful recipes used a dozen; but I held onto a note included in the recipe that stated it will thicken as it cools in the fridge and gave it all my hope that it ended up not deserving. Just absolutely did not perform on a scale even weakly approaching what eggnog should be. Incredibly thin, flavor incredibly offputting as it tasted so much more like oat than anything else, the spices existing in their original form in a nonhomogeneous and discomforting way. With how the Planet Oat versions just became thinner and weaker, I discounted the Malk right away before even trying it because it’s already thin and watery. Absolutely not even worth my time even trying it out. For this to be called eggnog is a shame, this whole thing is a shame, absolute disgrace and mockery, Carrie you are a fool selling to fools.

True horror.

One thing to note, and I’ll admit it’s my error, is that when they say to temper the egg mixture, they certainly do mean it, as I introduced the hot liquid too quickly and the eggs began to scramble. I was able to filter out most of the chunks that had formed, and it’s incredibly important to note for the validity of my review that I remade this in a smaller batch, but it left me scarred and apprehensive to take a sip knowing that it might be just a bit chunky in a way I, or the recipe, did not intend.

After the egg fiasco I tried the vegan version, following the note in the recipe that simply stated “If you want to make this recipe vegan, just leave out the eggs and simply combine the other ingredients in a jar and stir.” With it just being spices, flavors, and sweeteners added and mixed in with absolutely no other processing, the vegan version relies entirely on the thickness and quality of the base alt-milk you choose, which is why I used the Planet Oat Extra Creamy variety with hopes that it would be already thick enough to mimic eggnog if you close your eyes and try to trick your senses. Unfortunately that is not what happened, as somehow the original thickness of the oat milk has turned watery, perhaps with the addition of just a shot of rum. Furthermore, it’s just really flavorless, even after I shake it up to get all of the cinnamon and nutmeg that settled in the bottom back into the mix. Just not a successful imitation of eggnog at all and a complete deception of all that’s decent to imply it’s anything more than horchata-adjacent.

The more I do this, the more I come to an incredibly obvious conclusion that every version of these basically tastes the same, but takes on the base properties of whatever milk or dairy-alternative I use. One could read this and me like “yeah, how did you not already figure that would be the case?” but I had some hope and wonder in me that I’d make some discovery, that any of these would be greater than the sum of their parts.

Eggless with pudding mix or cornstarch


But what the vegan option has is a good point, has me thinking. With so much concern for safety, squeamishness, and potential for mishaps coming from the eggs, why not make an eggnog without eggs?

5 cups milk, divided
½ cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 ½ teaspoons rum-flavored extract
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Blend 2 cups milk, sugar, pudding mix, rum-flavored extract, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger in a blender on medium-high speed until smooth; pour into a pitcher. Stir remaining 3 cups milk into mixture. Refrigerate eggnog until thickened, at least 1 hour. Stir well before serving.

Yeah, that’s it, toss everything into a blender then refrigerate it, horrifically easy to make. It feels very dusty, as if none of the ingredients dissolved even a little bit, which I can totally see as there is an overwhelming amount of sediment that falls to the bottom very quickly that’s also pretty stubborn to come off and mix back in. I can feel the thickness from the pudding mix, but the fuzzy-feeling texture from the unintegrated spices is pretty off-putting. I commend the effort to use pudding mix to simulate eggy thickness, but what about this is preventing homogenization of any level? My theory is that the spices used are fat- or alcohol-soluble, and the whole milk and rum-flavored extract just don’t cut it. Making this again I would go right ahead and add in some heavy whipping cream and a genuine splash of alcohol, as suggested by this other recipe, which honestly guys I’m not going to make because I’ve had enough of this. If not truly dissolving and integrating the ingredients more fully, at the very least would add stronger creaminess and flavor that could help distract me from the chalkiness.

With this being the 8th month I’ve spent reviewing eggnog (Issues 117, 177, 178, 179, 189, 190, and now 197) I think I’m quite a bit over it. I’m over the unknowable thickness going into it, the expense of acquiring the product or the ingredients to make it, the lack of overall variety in the grand scheme, and most of all the lack of room I have in my fridge when I start working on one. I think it’s about time I move on to other things, perhaps mounds of candy that will take over all the space on my kitchen table, or boxed food that will clutter up my pantry, maybe even jarred nonsense that will clog up absolutely everywhere with just one scoop taken from them and then left to decay while I move onto the next.

There’s a ton of other variations out there, with some others I looked at being just using coconut milk, dairy-free with almond milk and coconut milk, just almond milk, raw cashews with coconut milk, the list can go on and on and on with every type of alternative milk there is, every combination of nut you can plop into a coconut milk base, absolutely any inclusion of exclusion of ingredients in this as long as it’s creamy and tastes like Fall. My only bit of wisdom to tell from this here is to start as thick as possible, and if you think it’s too thick just make the whole batch thicker, because you can always just cut it down to make it thinner later by adding more milk of liquor, but nothing you can do to salvage cinnamon water.

The 'Shroom: Issue 197
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