Adam Ried Knows a Thing or Two About Soda Fountain Drinks
Author Adam Ried clearly has a passion for this frosty treat. He's the equipment specialist on the PBS show "America's Test Kitchen," and he knows about putting blenders through their paces. He begins by introducing us to a topic that has slipped a bit in our collective memories, namely, the once popular hangouts, the ice cream parlor and soda fountain. They were most popular in the 1940s and 1950s, which may explain why today's younger generation don't quite remember the phenomenon, unless they attend a 1950s theme party or see an old episode of the popular sitcom "Happy Days".
Next, he details the process of creating a milkshake, which is well worth the read for the instructive nuances shared by Ried. Naturally, Ried gives a general overview of the necessary equipment, his particular area of expertise. The final background tip is Ried's recommendations for making your basic ingredient choices, items that are used across most of the recipes, such as ice cream, vanilla, and other spices.
Included with the background introduction, Ried also includes a description of all of the soda fountain beverage variations. Some have recipes in this book, others, such as slushes, don't have a place in this collection. Happily for me, Ried includes a recipe for one of my personal favorite soda fountain drinks, the Egg Cream. I was raised in the Bronx, and my mom always whipped up Egg Creams, the unique Bronx beverage, for us when we were kids. Although it's not a milkshake, it holds fond memories for Ried of his dad, explaining its inclusion in this book.
And Now, the Possibilities
The recipes in "Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes" are divided into seven different categories. Although this book is all about "modern" milkshakes, he slowly takes us in that direction by giving us the building blocks of the classic recipes with variations on vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry milkshakes, with coffee and peach closing out the chapter. You can just tell he's anxious to move on to the creative, new combinations.
After the basics, things become much more interesting. The next section takes Vanilla Shakes in a whole new direction. There's the Lavender Honey-Vanilla; Vanilla, Rum, and Salted Cashew; and VanBan (banana) Black and White among other tantalizing combinations. While creative, many of these flavor combinations are familiar and can be friendly options to serve at your next children's birthday party.
In the next chapter, Chocolate Shakes, recipes become more appealing to older, sophisticated taste buds. These are nothing like the basic chocolate milkshake, not with recipes like Chocolate-Guiness or Spicy Chocolate Ginger. One or two of these recipes would make an interesting addition to a Dessert Party.
The recipes in the following chapter would certainly add a surprise to the traditional tea party, since it covers Tea and Coffee Shakes with recipes like Chocolate-Earl Grey and Ginger-Chai Shakes.
Ried's bias for fruit shines through the recipes in the chapter on Fruity Shakes, with recipes that include strawberries, cantaloupes, tamarind, mangoes and many more.
The book wraps up with two very modern chapters, Unconventional Shakes and Shakes and Other Frosty Favorites from Afar. These recipes are ideal for the foodie adventurer with recipes including Concretes - a super thick variation that originated in St. Louis; Maple Bacon; Sweet Lassi; and Watermelon Agua Fresca.