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Letters: Eggnog, Raw Eggs and Alton Brown

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Letters: Eggnog, Raw Eggs and Alton Brown

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Letters: Eggnog, Raw Eggs and Alton Brown

Letters: Eggnog, Raw Eggs and Alton Brown

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6637832/6637674" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Andrea Seabrook reads letters from listeners, and responds to several queries about last week's piece about eggnog with Alton Brown. Many were concerned about the dangers of salmonella poisoning due to using raw eggs, and luckily, Alton Brown has a solution.

ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

Time now to reach into that virtual mailbag. Several of you wrote in to correct Diane Roberts's report of the report of the study of cosmic dust analysis at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. In her piece she said that a mass spectrometer, quote, "can tell you what anything's made of, down to the last proton and electron."

Well, Joseph Childs from Golden, Colorado explains that a mass spectrometer can tell you what elements are in a compound. It does this by destroying a sample of material, breaking it into its component parts. It provides information that allows trained scientists and technicians to determine the compounds in a sample. It does not tell you what you are made of down to the last electron and proton.

A listener who identified himself as Wayne Figuremodel responded to Gloria Hillard's report on actors who play corpses for film and television. He says, Working nude in uncomfortable positions for hours on end and wearing a robe when on break sounded like just another day at the office for those of us who are figure life models. Working as figure life models, we often work for hours in uncomfortable poses without moving, and being completely nude is the norm. In cases where artists are creating paintings or sculptures of the human form, the uncomfortable poses can last for days and even weeks.

But most of our e-mail was about something we left out of a story last week on making eggnog in Alton Brown's test kitchen. Many of you asked: Can you use raw eggs in eggnog? We should've mentioned that Alton Brown uses pasteurized eggs so there's no danger of salmonella from drinking his nog. But we did ask him: If you don't use pasteurized eggs in your eggnog, will you get sick?

Mr. ALTON BROWN (Chef): I'll put it this way. Most of the eggs here in Atlanta come from a few farms that I've visited a couple of, and they move very quickly through the stores, and the stores I buy them from store them correctly. In my household - and I have a 7-year-old daughter - let's answer this way. We eat the chocolate chip cookie dough. Okay? I'm not going to tell anybody else to do that unless they use pasteurized eggs, which are available now in the shell in a lot of stores.

SEABROOK: And are they different from regular eggs?

Mr. BROWN: They've been very, very, very, very, very carefully heated and cooled so that all the bugs are dead. The only thing you really notice on the inside is that the egg white, the albumen, is slightly smoky-looking, slightly ghosted because of the slight coagulation of proteins. But they work very well. I probably wouldn't use them except in an application where I was going to use raw eggs.

SEABROOK: Seattle's Michael Rodak(ph) has this sci-fi message. Andrea Seabrook's story about eggnog brought back so many childhood memories. As a child, I would help grandma run the cyclotron to make the stuffing for the bird grandpa killed with his ray gun. We kids would wait to see if there was liquid nitrogen left over for a game of real freeze tag. It also works great on Momma Standberg's cranberry relish.

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