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Peonies and Mrs. George H. Boyd's Frozen Eggnog

“Each Day Saginaw people are becoming more interested in the peony, Saginaw’s official flower, according to those in charge of the exhibit on display the Garber-Buick sales room for the past two days which has been viewed by hundreds of flower lovers.”

-The Saginaw News Courier, Wednesday, June 25, 1924.


Mrs. George H. Boyd was an avid passionate gardener. When she passed away her obituary noted:

“Long active in affairs of Saginaw Branch, Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association, she had been its president. The staid old Boyd home’s spacious yard in the Grove, across from Hoyt Park, was a verdant showplace. It attested her love for gardening. She was a member of the state board of Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan.” (The Saginaw News, July 13, 1961.)

Even before the founding of the Saginaw Branch, Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association, Mrs. Boyd was active in promoting gardening and civic beautification. She was a frequent exhibitor and prize winner at Saginaw’s annual peony show organized by the Garden Department of the Saginaw Woman’s Club. She also allowed her garden to be photographed for a Woman’s Club program.

Above: 2 Pictures. Images of 1923 Peony Show held at Garber Buick on North Washington. Mrs. Boyd entered this exhibit and won a prize.

We were going to share the story of how the members of the Saginaw Woman’s Club used their annual peony shows as a means of persuading city council members to designate the peony as Saginaw’s official city flower, but then we discovered an article about a play held in the garden of Mrs. Boyd’s home. It seems like a perfect introduction to her recipe for Frozen Eggnog. (Although, if you are making the frozen eggnog for children, the brandy might be optional.)

“Junior League Children’s Play Given for Enthusiastic Audience: Its Theme Deals With Making of Frozen Dessert; Entertainment Presented in Gardens of George Boyd Home.”

Many things are discovered by accident, and such was the case with the making of ice cream, the story of which was told in a delightful manner Monday when the Junior League’s Children’s Theater committee presented a children’s play, ‘How the First Ice Cream Was Made’, before an enthusiastic audience of children and grownups.

Given in the beautiful gardens of the George H. Boyd home, 1617 South Washington avenue, with the river as a background and colorful garden flowers to accent the setting, a group of children, under the assisting direction of Mrs. John A. Stewart, dramatized in their own way the playlet which told how ice was discovered.

Because the King (Lucy McCorkle) liked his cream cold and offered a reward each day if it were colder, the efforts of Ann Gaylord Morley was the cook, the under cooks, Molly Judd and Joan Miles, and the ingenuity of the cook’s children (Charlotte Toshach, Constance Brady, Marion Scott Remer and Josephine Symons), resulted in a plan which froze the cream and won the praise of his Majesty. Also taking their parts well in portraying the plot of the play were Helen Ann Symons, Sheila Symons, Martha Judd and Katharine O’Keefe.

Gifts of candy were distributed to the children attending the performance.

Mrs. J. Laurence Bleasdale and a committee were in charge of the costumes.(The Saginaw News, June 9, 1936.)

It seems quite unlikely that examples of Saginaw’s City flower, were not in bloom in the Boyd Garden.

Above: 2 Album Pages. Images of Boyd Garden, c. 1920

These links will take you to more information about Mrs. Boyd and additional recipes from her luncheon. They will be perfect to read while you are waiting for the eggnog to freeze:

The Recipe: Mrs. George H. Boyd’s Frozen Egg-Nog [sic.]

From: Twelve Menus: A Cook Book, published by The Young Woman’s Auxiliary to The Woman’s Hospital Association, Saginaw, Michigan, 1900.

The recipe as it appears in Twelve Menus:

“A pint and a half of cream or rich milk, twelve eggs, twelve spoons of powdered sugar and one pint of brandy. This makes enough for twelve people. Beat the egg yolks and the whites separately; add the sugar to the yolks, then stir in the brandy slowly; then add the cream little by little. Now put in the whites of the eggs, which have been beaten to a stiff froth. Freeze the same as ice-cream and serve glass cups.”

Our interpretation:

12 eggs

3 cups Heavy cream

12 Tablespoons powdered sugar 2 cups of brandy

Important health note: The CDC does not recommend the consumption of raw eggs and this recipe is based on raw eggs.

Separate eggs. Beat whites until stiff and frothy. Beat eggs yolks and then add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Slowly add cream to the beaten egg yolk and sugar mixture. Then slowly add brandy to mixture. Finally, add beaten egg whites. [The test kitchen staff combined the two parts by aggressively folding the white into the yolks – perhaps lightly whisking would be more accurate.)

While this could certainly be made using an ice cream freezer, the Castle test kitchen is not equipped with one and used the still method for freezing ice cream – freeze for two hours and then beat the mixture. Freeze again for two hours and beat again. It worked fine; however, an ice cream freezer would also work well, and almost certainly, Mrs. Morley’s kitchen would have been equipped with one.

NOTES: The title of this dish is honest and descriptive - it is simply frozen eggnog. It is wonderfully rich and quite literally intoxicating. In Mrs. Boyd’s menu, frozen egg-nog is served with fancy cakes and is the sixth course of a seven-course lunch menu – it would be followed by coffee, bonbons and salted nuts.


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