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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Gogol-Mogol a Chancy Fancy

Was it innocence or ignorance? Whatever the reason, there was a time not long ago when it was possible to eat eggs without worrying about salmonella. Now eating raw eggs is almost as dangerous as having sex with a stranger without a prophylactic -- but some people still do both.


These thoughts came to me recently as I downed a glass of thick, filling eggnog at a Western Christmas party. The drink gave me a flashback to my childhood because it tasted remarkably like a Russian drink known as a gogol-mogol.


As far as I know, this crazy-sounding drink doesn't have any specific meaning in Russian, but the name is rather evocative. It conjures up images of the writer Nikolai Gogol and makes me think about Kornei Chukovsky, a children's poet who was in the habit of creating unusual-sounding nonsense words. The word eggnog also lends itself to odd associations; the first time I heard the word I was sure I was being invited to drink some hedgehog.


Gogol-mogol's exact origins are unknown, but some say it was invented after World War I as a way to provide a cheap, nutritious meal. It consists of either egg whites or whole eggs which are then beaten together with sugar crystals. Some people also add cocoa powder.


If you make gogol-mogol with egg whites and refrain from beating the whites until they become stiff, the concoction remains liquid and can be consumed as a drink. If you keep beating the eggs, it turns into foam and can then be easily eaten with a spoon. This foam can also be used to bake light, airy cookies known as bises, whose name comes from the French word for kiss.


To make them, drop teaspoonfuls of gogol-mogol on a greased baking tray and cook at a high temperature until they become solid.


Adults sometimes add cream and either vodka or rum to a gogol-mogol made with the entire egg. This makes it taste a lot like eggnog.


When I was younger and suffered from an insatiable teenage hunger between meals, I created another variation. I broke three or four eggs in a mug, beat them with a fork, and added salt, black pepper, bits of bread and a dab of butter. Delicious.


Besides filling ravenous stomachs, raw eggs can also be a hangover cure. When you run out of pickle brine, which is renowned as the ultimate first aid for severe intoxication, you can always follow the advice of Anatoly Golovkov, the author of the cookbook "Cuisine Without Secrets."


Golovkov's first recipe is called "Police on the Threshold": Pour an egg yolk and 20 drops of vodka into a large glass coated with vegetable oil, season the mixture with a pinch of red and black pepper, then down the drink it in one gulp.