1. Style

Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, 100 Thick and Creamy Shakes You Can Make at Home

How Much is There to Say About Milkshakes?

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes

Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, 100 Thick and Creamy Shakes You Can Make at Home by Adam Ried

W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Most of us have experienced a creamy, frosty milkshake at least once in our life. Maybe mom blended one for us as an after school snack. Or perhaps we've visited an old-fashioned soda fountain where milkshakes were on the menu. We've been able to select a flavor from the classic three, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and that seemed like enough choices. But until this cookbook, we never knew how many possibilities there could be for this childhood favorite. Especially when they've been updated to reflect our current, more adventurous tastes.

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.

My Wish List...

The photos in this book are as enticing as you might expect, but there aren't enough of them. My other issue is that I wish there was nutritional information included to help me calculate the correct portion size. As much as these shakes are delicious to sample, I fear that a steady diet of them all summer would force me to head to the bathing suit clearance racks by the end of August to score the next size up. Since I would prefer not to postpone these luscious treats for only special occasions, if I knew what I was getting myself into, I could make them a more regular occurrence by dividing a recipe among six servings instead of two or three. Alternatively, with nutritional information, I could decide to substitute reduced fat milk for the whole milk called for in most recipes, especially since Ried gives us permission to do that.

In Conclusion...

Although I may have to take chances with my diet and my bathing suit, this book is too tempting to leave on the shelf. These recipes will tempt young and old milkshake afficionados, and fans of both classic and modern blends.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.