What is Kogel Mogel?

Amanda R. Bell

Kogel mogel, sometimes referred to as Polish eggnog or Gogl-Mogl, is an egg-based desert popular in eastern Europe. When served warm or hot, it is also considered a home remedy for sore throats, colds, and the flu. It is also used as a food for babies in some cultures. The history of Gogl-Mogl dates back to biblical times in ancient Israel.

Honey is a popular addition to kogel mogel.
Honey is a popular addition to kogel mogel.

This custard desert, while close in flavor to eggnog, is considered a food rather than a drink. In its basic form, raw egg yolks are beat until very fluffy. Milk and sugar are then folded in, along with other flavorings. Popular additions are honey, coco, and rum. As a desert, it is served at either room temperature or slightly chilled.

Egg yolks are used to make kogel mogel.
Egg yolks are used to make kogel mogel.

In many countries and cultures, this dish is used to treat many common ailments, especially sore throats. In this form, it is typically only a mix of egg yolk, milk, and honey and is served very warm to piping hot. The warmth is believed to cure chills and aches common with colds and flu, while the thickness from the egg and honey coats and moisturizes the throat, thus eliminating itching and pain. In Jewish culture, it is commonly consumed on Shabbat, the day of rest in Judaism, to make one's voice sound sweet. This custom is in line with the principal of Shabbat, which is viewed as a holy day of rest in which festiveness and pleasant activities and encounters are required.

In eastern Europe, kogel mogel is often used as a transition food for young babies who are almost ready to start solids. The sweetness of the dish, similar to the flavor of breast milk, is believed to be pleasing to infants' relatively limited palate, while the thickness helps them learn to move different textures in their mouths. While this use of the dish is common in some areas, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) highly discourage giving cow's milk, eggs, and honey to children under one year of age. Before giving a baby kogel mogel, it is important to discuss the risks with the child's pediatrician.

Kogel mogel is believed to be the root of the term “land of milk and honey,” which is commonly used to describe Israel in biblical times. The Bible references the dish as a description of Israel in both the Old and New Testament. In the Talmud, the main text of modern Judaism, kogel mogel is referenced to describe the wonders of Israel, and many participate in a ritual where the desert is held under the tongue for a short time as a reminder of God's promise to the Jewish people. In modern times, kogel mogel became popular again during the Communist era in eastern Europe, when sweets where hard to come by, and the dish could be easily made with every day staples.

Kogel Mogel is a custard dessert with an eggnog-like flavor.
Kogel Mogel is a custard dessert with an eggnog-like flavor.

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