Every Christmas that I remember well while growing up was celebrated with my grandmas. Now that they are gone, I think it’s during this season that I miss them most. It was with this in mind that we called home and asked for a look at Grandpa Knapp’s Tom and Jerry recipe.
A classic tipple whose warmth is only matched by its charm, the Tom and Jerry is Christmas. Its history goes back almost 200 years to a British journalist named Pierce Egan who promoted his book, Life in London, or The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom, by plying would-be buyers with the eggnog variant. Celebrity barman, Jerry Thomas, however, made the drink popular, despite refusing to pour them at his bar until after the season’s first snowfall.
Like everything worthwhile, the Tom and Jerry takes time, work, and love. For an extra set of hands, I called on Paula to help. We set out a few bowls, a whisk, and a copy of the handwritten recipe on the counter. I began to separate eggs while Paula pondered the twists and curls her great-grandpa’s hand, attempting to discover the next step. She put her head in her palm and said, “you know, Dad, I can’t read this.” “It’s ok,” I said, “we’ll figure it out together."
It was a distinct pleasure to carefully reconstruct Grandpa Knapp’s Tom and Jerry. I hope we did right by him, though I’m sure he’d have had a few pointers. All I know is that when we were done, it tasted like Christmas, so we must have followed the twists and curls all right.
For those of you that still can, give your grandparents an extra hug this Christmas; let them know the holiday was made for them. As for us, we’ll raise a glass of Tom and Jerry in their memory. Where’s the recipe for this entry, you ask? I hope you’ll understand it’s a gift we’re not yet old enough to give; after all, it’s a family secret...
Cindy, Jason, Paula and Quinn at the Firewater Lounge