milk( )shakes

Like many in the UK these days, we do our weekly shop(ping: AmE) on-line and have our groceries delivered to us by a nice person in a van (that would be called a truck in the US) that's named after a fruit or vegetable.* It started out really well. The first order we got had a free, big Galaxy bar (which in the US would be a Dove bar) as a tie-in promotion for the Sex in the City (usual BrE) film/(usual AmE) movie. Score!

Our grocery supplier gives us a free copy of the Times with every delivery, so I suppose I shouldn't complain about the quality of other freebies since the Galaxy incident, but this week we got this stuff (photo swiped from Wikipedia):

On the back, it promises "the healthier milkshake that's packed full of flavour". But this is milkshake (or milk shake as most dictionaries would have it) in the BrE sense to mean what most AmE speakers would simply call chocolate milk. I'll give you here the OED definition of milk shake:
milk shake n. orig. U.S. a cold drink made of milk, a sweet flavouring, and typically ice cream, mixed together as by shaking or whisking until smooth and frothy.
Typically ice cream? No, definitely ice cream!** And not the piddly amount of ice cream that the shake shops in Brighton use. A LOT OF ICE CREAM. And some malt powder (or syrup), please! (Gourmet Burger Kitchen does ok, but lime is a rather odd flavo(u)r for a shake from an American perspective. But they're from New Zealand. Who knows what they do there?)

Some Americans will be quick to point out that they happily use milk shake to refer to milk mixed with some sweet flavo(u)ring and no ice cream. But they're from in/near Boston, where they use the term frappe (rhymes with cap) for proper (ice-creamful) milk shakes. So, they have an excuse. But the British have no such excuse for advertising milk shakes on café menus and then stirring a bit of Nesquik*** into a glass of (BrE) semi-skimmed and charging a (orig. AmE in this sense) premium for it.

I'm just grumpy, of course, because I'm on a diet and instead of having mostly-ice-cream malted milkshakes, I'm having water--with a slice of orange in it when I'm really treating myself. The upside, though, is that I did taste the low-fat Yazoo drink that I was sent, and I don't feel that I'm missing much. In fact, I'm glad to have an excuse to pour it down the drain, even though the perpetual student in me thinks: "FREE CALORIES MUST BE CONSUMED."

* I can't believe this hasn't caught on more in the US. No, not naming vehicles after produce--having your groceries delivered. It's wonderful. I suppose that in the land of cars, it's not as much of a service.

** Note that certain fast food establishments sell shakes. Not milk shakes, because they can't legally advertise them as containing milk. Those may not have ice cream in them, but they at least try to mimic a milk shake with ice cream.

*** Apparently, it's now called Nesquik in the US as well as the UK, but when I was a kid in the US, it was called Nestlé Quik.


  1. Lynne, if you add malt to a milkshake, then it ceases to be a milkshake, and instead becomes a malt. (Wikipedia says this was invented by a Chicago Walgreens in 1922. Which would explain it's popularity with my family).

  2. I could call that a malt, but I could also call it a malted milk shake. Do we think it's regional?

  3. For me, malts and shakes are two different critters. I would understand "malted milk shake" as malt, but be puzzled at the circumlocution. Must be regional.

  4. Actually, quite a few grocery stores are now offering delivery here in the US. Safeway and Giant come to mind off the top of my head, but I am sure there are others. I've used the service once or twice and I do like it, but I buy so much fresh produce that it makes me nervous to have someone else choose it for me... am I just a chicken? Hee hee! Because I really do like the service.

  5. My grandparents (from Acadiana) would refer to anything mixed with milk as a "milk shake" (their favorite, and mine, was banana+milk). We didn't eat out much as children, but I remember it being a shock to have a milk shake elsewhere and it had ice cream in it. However malt+milk(+whatever) was called "(a) malted." (Amusingly, these were always referred to in English, even when speaking French.)

    Here in HK, milk shakes are British-style (as I remember them as a child) -- there are many American expats who come down from the Mainland on visa runs who are very disappointed when they order one. ;) We also have grocery delivery, either from ordering online, by phone/fax, or by purchasing items over a certain price at the grocery and having it delivered later that day.

  6. In Australia the milkshake vs flavoured milk distinction is much like the US. (And Quick was renamed Nesquick there too, only about 10 years ago.)

    But in Oz there's also the frappé, a completely different animal. It's got something to do with crushed ice (hence the name) and fruit flavours but not milk.

    What are (Am) floats called in the UK? Wikipedia says that they're called "Coke floats" in West Scotland, is that true for all Britain?

  7. Plenty of stores in NYC, which is still technically part of the U.S., but definitely not part of Carlandia, deliver. The real trick is whether they take phone/online/fax orders; most don't. My corner store does, though! Pick up the phone, say what I want, it's here within 5-10 minutes, tops. About the only thing I can't get that way is fresh meat/poultry of any sort.

    (Yes, this is a brag.)

  8. An American 'milk shake' is liquidized ice-cream.

    A British one is milk with favoring.

    Get over it.

    1. I agree Stephen! It's quite odd that the author thinks American milk shakes are the thin ones. Growing up in Boston area our milk shakes (yes, we did use the word frappe, but milk shake means the same thing) were very thick and delicious. Some places have extra thick options which basically means you can't even suck it through a straw, you need a spoon. I've been in the Uk a couple of months and have ordered milk shakes from a few establishments and they have basically been flavored milk. I saw them scoop out some ice cream to mix in, but in the finished product you wouldn't have known it because it was the consistency of plain milk. At the second place I ordered a milk shake I asked the waitress ahead of time if they were thin or thick. She replied that they were thick, but when it came out it was as thin as plain milk. My daughter is not impressed either. I miss The Big One in Merrimack, NH! .

    2. Yep. I was so looking forward to what I thought was a traditional American milk shake I could stuck through a straw. Of course what I got was a very large tub of ice cream at 1500 cal. Of course I ate it but was disappointed. In my head it was American diner stuff with flavoured milk and some throth but that was my own fault.

  9. Some of our local foodshops provided home deliveries in the 1960s (Scotland). I remember that my mother stopped using them after a while. There was inevitably some overripe produce mixed in with the good stuff. I don't know whether it is any better nowadays.

    Thinking about it, grocer's boys and butcher's boys feature in old books, usually with over-sized panniers on their bicycles to make deliveries. Eg Granville in Open All Hours.

  10. We discovered these pitifully thin "milkshakes" years ago in Winnepeg, Canada. Ever since, we may murmur to each other, "These shakes are really Canadian, eh?" in disappointed tones. But I agree -- I haven't seen a stand-the-spoon-up shake since moving to the UK, unless we make 'em ourselves. (And ... no root beer for floats? It's very sad.)

  11. I've heard (Upstate NY) malted milkshake as the distinguished from milkshake. A malt in the '50s and '60s (and possibly earlier/later) you could get at a malt shop.
    I've had Nesquik (no c); it is chocolate milk, usually sweeted more than regular chocolate milk from the dairy, but it is NOT a milkshake.
    Do the McDonald's in the UK sell milkshakes? Those (and the ones sold in ice cream stores) are MILKSHAKES!
    We have floats. I've never heard the term Coke float, as it is generally understood, but I have heard of a root beet float, to distinguish it. Root beet floats are better, IMHO.

  12. When I (BrE) was a little girl, milk and bread were delivered as a matter of routine, and many grocers also delivered. Then came the supermarkets, and cars for all, and grocers went out of business, or in any event stopped delivering. Although milk deliveries continue to this day, and bread deliveries continued in Northern Ireland for many years after they were history on the mainland.

    And now the wheel has come full circle, and the supermarkets deliver again.

    I also remember when McDonald's first came to Europe (I was living in France at the time), what an extraordinary concoction their milkshakes seemed to us! Delicious, but odd. For us, as has already been stated, a "milkshake" was flavoured milk.

    Incidentally, malt? For me, that is added to hot milk and called Horlicks; as far as I know, it is never added to cold milk over here.

    (The security word is "mings", which may well say it all!)

  13. Lynne (or any other milkshakeless ex-pat marooned on our shores), if you are ever in Camden Town in London head down to a Cafe called Inhabition on Chalk Farm road. For £3.95 you could have a pint and a half of thick, icecream based milkshake in pretty much any flavour you could want.

    I don't work for them, I just discovered them when I was a student in the area and like to spread the word.

  14. Here in Oklahoma a shake is milk, ice cream and flavoring. A malt is the same thing plus a big spoon of malt powder all blended together. In a fast food joint the ice cream is the soft kind extruded from a machine. A nice ice cream shop might mix a malt or shake with the ice cream of that flavor rather than a squirt of flavored syrup.

  15. Yeah, the change from Quik to Nesquik happened in 1999. And the change from cartons to bottles for personal-sized portions changed soon after. I still miss my pint-sized cartons of Quik chocolate milk....

    But that has nothing to do with milkshakes. Which are also delicious.

  16. In Ireland:
    - we're not big into malted anything over here.
    - a McDonalds or American-style-diner will serve your melted-icecream "milk shake". I remember being struck by the misleading nature of the name on my first trip to McDonald's; but I don't recall ever having any competing definition of "milk shake".
    - Marks & Spencers etc. sell "chocolate/banana/strawberry flavoured milk", which I guess would be the same as the US "chocolate/etc milk; It might be illegal here to omit "flavo(u)red" in the name unless it is made with actual chocolate/banana/strawberry. [cf. "orange juice" vs "orange juice drink"] These products are quite new. I learnt about chocolate milk from "The Simpsons", as for so much Americana.
    - putting ice cream in Coke is used to be called an "ice-cream soda", but I haven't had one in years.

    To my ears, "weekly shop" is a set phrase; "shopping" works equally well in this phrase and is compulsory in any other context requiring a noun.

    PS what was the van named after a fruit or vegetable? A Nissan Cherry?

  17. I remember about 30 years ago on holiday in Italy my father tried to buy me a milk shake and was puzzled when they said they couldn't make one as their ice cream machine was broken.

    After that I encountered McDonalds milk shakes. However the shake that still sticks in my mind was on my first trip to Ameica. A friend of mine was moving from Austin to Michigan and I travelled with him as far as Chicago, taking the very scenic and very indirect route. One night, heading away from the north side of the Grand Canyon, we stopped to eat at a remote diner and the chocolate milk shake I had was so thick sucking it through the provided straw took a painful amount of effort. It felt like I'd ordered a drink and got a desert.

  18. @mollymooly: each van in the fleet is 'dressed' in the colo(u)rs of a particular fruit/vegetable and called by that name. So, I get a text the morning that my order is coming that says "Your order will be delivered today between 10.30 and 11.30 by Pat in Courgette van. You have no items missing." Or something like that.

    Search on Google Image for 'Ocado van' and you'll see some.

  19. "Frappe" seems to be on the way out in New England, thanks to the homogenizing influence of the fast food chains. Thirty years ago, when I arrived at college in rural New Hampshire, the upperclassmen warned us against ordering a milk shake at the local ice cream shop.

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  21. Actually things are more complicated in Australia than Nick made out. What would be an American milkshake is called a thick shake. And Australian milkshake has about half/third the ice cream of a thickshake. But the amount varies hugely between stores. And then we have flavoured milk too.

    Also I thought all of us Australians called floats spiders? Or is that you a regionalism I picked up?

    One thing I haven't seen much of here in the US is flavoured milk besides chocolate. Is it just not normal? Or am I not looking hard enough?

  22. @Christopher: True. I hadn't thought the difference between milkshakes and thickshakes significant enough to mention. But now that you raise the issue, there are some places (Wendy's, Donut King) that serve both milkshakes and thickshakes, charging more for the thick ones.

    And Wikipedia says that "spider" is also used in NZ. Any Kiwis care to confirm?

  23. But they're from New Zealand. Who knows what they do there?

    They put beets on their burgers there. These are trufax, yo! Beets! On their burgers! Nothing they do with milk can be weirder than beets on their burgers.

  24. @Jim Ancona

    You think so Jim? I'm in my mid twenties and everyone I knew growing up said frappe. Of course most of the ice cream chains around where I grew up were local and the only national chain was Ben and Jerry's and of course they're still NE based, so they all listed frappes on their menu. Though I always thought that one of the great things about being a New Englander was we had so much local ice cream, it's always been kinda our thing. Sadly my own hometown based ice cream company, Brighams, only exists as a name now. So I don't even know if I could get peppermint stick frappes all year round anymore if I moved back home.

    I have heard much tell my whole life about the fabled New England milk shake that's just milk and flavoring, but I've never actually encountered such a thing.

  25. I've always known it as a spider, but as I bounced back and forth between NZ and OZ, I'm not sure where I picked it up.

    I don't see anything odd about a lime flavoured milkshake, though. The corner dairy always had chocolate and strawberry flavours, but most had a range of about 5-8, which might include vanilla, banana, lime, raspberry etc. Then you get the less common ones - sarsaparilla, kiwifruit, blackcurrent. Then you could, if you asked nicely, get them to replace the standard ice-cream with any of the flavours on offer - and NZ dairies have always had a good range of great ice-cream.

    Here in Oz (currently) if a store offers both milkshakes and thick shakes, the milk shake will be watery - possibly no ice-cream at all. A thick shake will range from just a little thicker (one large scoop of ice cream) to so thick you have to keep stirring it to keep it liquid.

    Then there is the "do you use real ice-cream or soft-serve?" fight. Like many other things, we seem to have a mix of US and UK influences.

  26. @conuly: A burger is not a burger without beetroot!

    Yes, there is definitely a distinction between milkshake and thickshake in my part of the world (Sydney, Aus.).

    McDonald's shakes were known as thickshakes when I was growing up. I think they may now just be known as shakes.

    I do remember my husband ordering a chocolate milkshake in a diner in Boston, and ending up with a glass of chocolate milk (with which he was bitterly disappointed). Perhaps they were trying to be English-inspired?!

  27. Probably the reason lime seems like a weird milkshake flavo(u)r to me is that citrus should curdle milk. Of course, what they're probably using is lime cordial (i.e. a lime-flavo(u)red sweet syrup)--but you don't see that much in the US, so it's not the first thing I'd think of when I think of something with lime. To me, citrus and milk are just a weird combination--you'd expect citrus (AmE) sherbet (which is or is like sorbet, but may have a little dairy in it), not citrus in ice cream, usually. And one doesn't make AmE milk shakes with sherbet/sorbet.

    (BrE sherbet is discussed back here.)

  28. I just wanted to say thanks for showing the Village People clip! I'm not too ashamed to say my friends and I went to see the film that song comes from (Can't Stop the Music) when it came out in 1980. Would you believe I was just humming "Do the Milkshake" the other day?

    To get back to somewhere near the topic, in the US Midwest we used "ice cream soda" and "ice cream float" interchangeably to mean a fizzy pop of any flavour with ice cream in it.

    Many of the standard varieties of ice cream soda/float have special names. Coke and chocolate ice cream is a "brown cow"; Coke and vanilla is a "white cow"; root beer and vanilla is a "black cow". 7-Up or any similar clear drink and vanilla is a "snowman" or "Snow White".

  29. Incidentally, Lynne, you might know - do they have egg creams in England?

    I remember in the US a big fuss a while back about some soda company making carbonated milk (to boost their own profits, no doubt) that they wanted to sell in schools, leaving us New Yorkers very bemused going "You mean... an egg cream?" Which you can still get in the occasional place here in the city :)

    I've made it for my nieces (with soy milk). Club soda is a good way to get kids to drink more milk if this is what you want to encourage, or to get them to drink less juice if that's what you want to do - children complain if you water down their juice, but if you add seltzer all of a sudden it's *special* LOL!

  30. Carbonated milk?! That's disgusting. I can't say I've ever heard of 'egg cream' but it sounds equally rank.

    @Lynneguist: Yazoo is in fact a milkshake because it's thick, it isn't just chocolate milk (i.e. milk with Nesquik). I'd have to agree that I always thought lime was a disgusting flavour for a milkshake too.

    I first encountered milkshakes in American fast food chains, so expected them to be too thick to actually drink, but in a proper restaurant I would probably expect milk and maybe some cream blended with real chocolate/strawberry etc.

    My mother never tires of telling me how flavoured milk was called a milkshake when she was little and when the first US chains made their way to our shores they marketed their ice-cream drinks as 'thick shakes.'

    @mollymooly: I've heard of them as 'soda floats' and when I was little the only place where they were actually on the menu was a tiny outlet of some American ice cream and pancake type place on the Lakeside food court. I haven't seen them advertised since, I don't think the idea really caught on.

    Oddly, that place served English pancakes, which are nearer to crepes than the thick, stodgy things that resemble Scotch pancakes and are regularly served for breakfast across the pond.

    [Oh and incidentally, UK law states that an artifical strawberry product must be described as "strawberry flavour" and a product containing real strawberries is designated "strawberry flavoured". The 'ed' indicates presence of genuine ingredients, as opposed to synthetic.]

    To me a frappe( accent on the 'e') can be fruit juice, cream or coffee but the main ingredient is crushed ice, not ice cream.

    And that video clip has left me scarred. God knows what irreparable harm it did to a whole generation of children.

  31. Miscellaneous responses--mostly haven't kept track of what is responding to whom:

    Frappé and frappe are different animals with different pronunciations--see here on the possible origins of the former.

    I've never seen an actual egg cream in America, let alone the UK. I've heard the name and think of it as something 1950ish. I have to agree with Solo's reaction to the notion of 'carbonated milk'.

    Yazoo has some stabili{s/z}ers and such, but it isn't all that thick. It poured down the drain very easily! But I've been to plenty of (BrE) caffs in Brighton where there are no thickening agents in the 'milkshakes' other than the flavo(u)ring. It's also MUCH more chocolate-y than chocolate milk that one would get in the US--this is a general symptom of chocolate/dairy drink differences. When ordering in the UK, I have to ask for hot chocolate with 'half as much chocolate as you usually use, please'. Not that I get to have hot chocolate on my diet either...

    On whether one can get flavo(u)red milk in the US other than chocolate, the answer is definitely 'yes'--strawberry is the other big one, and you do see banana. But in the UK, where you see flavo(u)red milk there will generally be a variety, whereas in the US, chocolate is often the only option. Most(?) dairies sell chocolate milk alongside the white varieties. My father insists that (other than beer, which goes with anything) chocolate milk is the only drink that one can drink with pizza. Though he also puts strawberry jam on his macaroni (AmE and) cheese, so you can take what he says with a grain of salt. Or a spoonful of ketchup.

    When I was young, I was taught a distinction between a float and an ice cream soda. The latter had syrup in it, the former, just ice cream and whatever pop/soda/fizzy drink. But since old-time soda fountains would have been mixing their pop/soda/fizzy stuff on site, I don't suppose it was a meaningful distinction. Growing up, my favo(u)rite float was vanilla ice cream with (pale dry) ginger ale, which my mother called a Boston cooler.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the purple cow. It was part of a promotion by the dairy association (I think) when I was young, so advertised a lot: milk and (purple) grape juice (not a juice one sees a lot in the UK--gotta have those Concord grapes). The thought of a purple cow always disgusted me, so I can't say I've ever had one.

    @Solo: if you think American pancakes are stodgy, then you haven't had any well-made ones. It's very difficult to get good ones in the UK (they're often undercooked in the middle because they've poured them too thick/made the batter too thick/cooked them too quickly), but Better Half has finally mastered the light, fluffy blueberry pancake, I'm happy to say. Or I was happy to say, until the diet.

    1. The Purple Cow
      Gelett Burgess

      I never saw a Purple Cow,
      I never hope to see one,
      But I can tell you, anyhow,
      I'd rather see than be one!

  32. Well Lynneguist, I've only had American pancakes in America, but I'll take your word for it.

    I did find that nothing had enough flavour when I was in the US though: crisps, hot chocolate, 'chocolate'.

    On the topic of home delivery- my pop culture consumption had led me to believe that all groceries and delis in the US delivered. Though thinking about it, perhaps mostly in NYC.

    A purple cow sound utterly revolting too! I find purple grape juice quite unpleasant anyway- sort of dusty tasting- but the idea of putting juice in milk is all kinds of wrong.

    The American obsession with milk has always seemed kind of funny over here though. Likewise the peanut butter fixation.

  33. @Solo: I always wonder if the milk is the reason why I seem to tower above UK crowds (while I don't feel particularly tall in the US). Just checking average heights on Wikipedia, white Americans aged 25-35 are about 1.5cm taller on average than UKers (not race sub-divided) aged 25-39. Is it the milk? We could try to blame the genetics of tall northern European immigrants, but there's Viking blood in the UK and a lot of southern European immigration in the US. Oh, hell, it's irresponsible of me to suppose about this--but I like the milk explanation. It lets me hope that my daughter will be tall in spite of half of her genes.

    (Make your accusations of heightism if you wish, but in my defen{s/c}e I'll point out that I've married beneath myself. I mean, shorter than myself.)

  34. @Lynneguist: Hmmm, that could be a factor I'll agree. Personally I'm inclined to think it's because of all the growth hormones in your chicken.

    I don't find you to be of especially uncommon stature for what it's worth. Though BH could be described as a little challenged, vertically. Maybe it's the company you keep... have there been any studies into the respective heights of US/UK linguists or academics?

    I have to say I'm quite tickled by Galaxy being called Dove in the US. It's rather apt that American chocolate is named (BrE) after/ (AmE)for a bar of soap.

    P.S. I'm guessing your home internet has finally been reconnected?

  35. N.B. Not your personal chicken, the typical supermarket chicken retailed in North America.

  36. Americans are not just taller, they're bigger in every dimension. They eat more meat.

    Are there any regional differences in "smoothie"? Some places insist on nothing but freshly pureed fruit; others allow frozen fruit, pulpless juice, prepacked juice, natural sweetener, frogurt and/or ice-cream.

    And I don't really know what a "snowcone" is, though I do know what a "snowclone" is.

    1. I think a snowcone is what in the UK we'd call a Slush Puppie.

    2. Slush Puppies are an American invention, taken to the UK with the name intact. Sno-Cones are a different thing. You drink a slush puppie, but eat a sno-cone. (They are closer to what we regionally in US used to call 'Italian ice'. I've not seen similar in UK.)

  37. As if New England's use of frappe for the ice-creamy milkshake wasn't odd enough, in Rhode Island, one tiny corner of that region, they call it a "cabinet", presumably after where they kept the blender (cf. the recent discussion of cupboards), and they are typically found in coffee flavor. The coffee syrup is also added to milk alone, yielding a "coffee milk".

    As various companies in the Seattle area have tried to break into the online grocery business, their trucks have featured both large peach and large pea pod trademarks. But I gather that wasn't what you were referring to?

  38. Reduced height of UK people may be due to the abolition of the School Milk Act 1946 by Messrs Wilson and Thatcher. See

  39. It used to be more or less impossible to buy a malt(ed milkshake) in London. For several years now, however, you've been able to get a decent one at the upmarket chain that used to be called Hamburger Union. They've had a rebranding recently, but I think they still do the malts. Their burgers are very good for the price, too.

    As far as I know, floats are very rare in the UK - at least at retail. I'm sure some American-style diners do them, but you probably won't see them anywhere else. I call them coke floats, but then that's because a) that's what my parents call them, and b) I always have coke in them.

    1. You used to be able to get coke floats at Wimpy bars, when such things existed.

  40. Oh God. I've just discovered that Hamburger Union's restaurants in central London were bought by Aberdeen Angus Steakhouses, but are still operating as HU. Better enjoy them while you can.

  41. On my son's last day as a student (well, graduation day actually) he took his aged parents to a popular independent burger/fries/milkshake place in Bristol where he chose knowledgeably from a long menu of shakes, all made in what I now understand (see previous posts) is the authentic way - his included vanilla ice cream, full fat milk and peanut butter. I estimate it contained at least 800 calories!
    Can't remember the name of the the place, but it was across the road from Bristol Museum if anyone wants to have a go.

  42. Wimpy Bars used to sell Coke Floats on their dessert menu - don't know if they still do (although I go past one regularly, I haven't been inside it for years!).

  43. Mollymooly: A snow cone (or sno-cone) is shaved ice piled into a paper cone, with flavoured syrup poured on top. A very cheap treat for kids who can't afford an ice cream.

    Here's a 1950s/60s drive-in movie ad for them:

  44. Does Wimpy's still exist? I haven't seen one for at least a decade.

  45. Presumably the verse:
    I never saw a purple cow
    I never wish to see one
    But I can tell you anyhow
    I'd rather see than be one

    predates the drink of that name (which sounds weird to this Brit)?

    Kate, Derby

  46. I heard of a purple cow as an ice cream soda/float with grape soda and vanilla ice cream. Not any more appetising than with grape juice, given the powerfully artificial flavour, but at least more fizzy.

    "Float" may well be the type with syrup, as opposed to a plain "soda" without. I always thought of "float" as the fancier word. But we only ever had the things at home, never with syrup, so never made any particular distinction.

  47. @ Ginger Yellow - there's one in Streatham High Road in London, I was there this morning! Not in it, I hasten to add, but walked past it.

  48. Yes, I wrote the purple cow
    I'm sorry now I wrote it.
    But I will tell you even now
    I'll kill you if you quote it!

    Those of you scoffing at egg creams need to try one before you scoff. I've tasted beets on my burger (admittedly, I put them *in* the burger where they kept the patty nice and moist as it cooked, but anything to make my hamburgers a little healthy! Weirdest thing ever, though), you taste the egg creams. No egg, no cream, remember :P Just club soda, milk, and chocolate syrup.

  49. Wimpys are still going strong I'm pleased to say. They actually have a very nice line in Quorn-based burgers too. They haven't offered soda floats in my lifetime though (approximately the last two decades)

    It's funny how snowcones are a cheapy version in the US because I was at a festival this weekend and saw a stall selling little sundaes of crushed ice slathered in hideously bright flavoured syrups at some extortionate dollar.
    Afraid I didn't catch what they were marketing them as (I'd wager something along the lines of 'rainbow ice') but they cost significantly more than the overpriced ice creams on offer.

  50. Probably you don't need to know this if you're on a diet, Lynne, but you can get fabulous American-style milkshakes at Bean in Tunbridge Wells.

  51. Lynne, the height difference is almost certainly not the milk. Partly it will be genetic differences and partly it will be due to all the steroids in US livestock. Sorry.

  52. The steroids come through in the milk, do they not? So, even if you're right, then I'm right too! :)

  53. I'm a Kiwi. Where I grew up an ice cream soda was a drink made by pouring fizzy drink* over ice-cream.
    Cousins from another part of the country called the same type of dink a spider, so we also have regional differences (actually we have a quite a few names in the food and drink departement that vary with region.

    *Fizzy drink is now rather old fashioned term I think here in NZ; soft drink is more generic.

  54. Lime milkshake is fantastic.

    I'm pretty certain that the Lime flavour in GBK is courtesy of 'Crusha' who sell milkshake/flavoured milk syrups in more conventional flavours in supermarkets.

    Sadly, the lime flavour is usually only found in wholesalers, and it's a lot of hassle to fake one's way into them just for lime milkshake (and cheap tubs of penny-sweets...). So I have to make do with restaurant priced lime milkshakes until I can find a new dealer of the pure ingredient.

    The GBK Oreo milkshake is also gooooood.

    Weirdly, as far as definitions go, I consider both to be milkshakes. I just asked my UK flatmate and he agreed. We just consider some 'easy cheating rubbishy milkshakes' and some 'really nice thick milkshakes'.

    The trend for flavoured milks being sold alongside regular milk has boomed here in recent years. Amusingly Waitrose sells banana and chocolate milks under it's 'Essentials' product range, as if we just couldn't live without them.

    There's an America-style cafe in Canterbury called Chambers that does pretty amazing milkshakes. Pretty much pick whatever confectionary item you want it they'll whizz it around with cream and ice-cream. I took an American there last year, and they agreed it was as good top-notch US shakes.

    Solo- the Wimpy's round my parent's offered coke floats up until they all became Star Negriz about ten years ago. Perhaps there is regional variation. On which note, I suppose I should warn that depening on location (motorway service station Wimpy's are particularly guilty of this), the Quorn burgers are cooked in the same fryers as the beef ones- check the sign for small print if concerned. (Also, the Clackett Lane signs at least, warn of possible bones in the children's veggie nuggets, which is just creepy).

  55. @Aoife: Oh thanks so much for imparting that knowledge to me. Especially the bones thing.

    Why go all the way to Cantebury for bespoke milkshakes when there's a Shakeaway on Brighton Bond Street that does exactly that?

    @WithoutIssue: I'm pretty sure 'fizzy drink' is still contemporaneous in Blighty. Carbonation isn't seen as a necessary requirement of soft drinks- they just have to not contain alcohol. Or only contain something like Archers or Malibu, which is a soft drink in my opinion.

    Oh and Lynneguist- Lick on Gardner Street does fat free frozen yoghurt milkshakes with fresh fruit and the like if that's of any use to you. With quite a competitive loyalty scheme too.

  56. In my boyhood in Glasgow I had great fondness (as we all did) for "ice drinks", which were basically (as memory serves) Irn Bru or coke or whatever, with a dollop of ice cream in it. Certainly not the milkshakes you've all been talking about, but at least with the ice cream ingredient. And in Munich a few years ago I was very fond of a drink I used to buy at a particular place on Marienplatz, which had the name Asia (pronounced Azzya) and consisted of fresh orange juice with ice cream. Don't think I've ever had one of those thick shakes. They sound wonderful though.

  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. (Removed comment because realised I wanted to edit it, and there isn't that option!)

    @ Cameron - you could try your local McDonald's - they do something that I imagine vaguely resembles what people are talking about!

    Incidentally, nobody has mentioned Slush Puppies, which are chips of ice smothered in virulently-coloured and flavoured syrups - would these be the same as the "Sno-cones" some of the American commenters have mentioned?

    Another drink - thinking of Cameron's "Asia", which I loved, was something called a Banana Julius that I bought in Hong Kong some 25 years ago - I thought it might taste of fake banana, like Nesquik (a taste I actually rather like, in small quantities), but this was fresh banana, and delicious. Sadly, when I found an Orange Julius stand in Kansas a few years ago (I think taken over by Dairy Queen?), they didn't do them!

  59. Incidentally, nobody has mentioned Slush Puppies, which are chips of ice smothered in virulently-coloured and flavoured syrups - would these be the same as the "Sno-cones" some of the American commenters have mentioned?

    No, snow cones are less slushy and more frozen.

    There's also Italian ice, which is another category altogether.

  60. @Solo: Shakeaway was who I was thinking of when I alluded to substandard shakes in Bton. You can add all the jelly babies you like (some of their add-ons are just weird), but substandard base ingredients will out you as a bad shakemaker.

    Went to Lick once--was so shocked by the price that I never went back! Was not impressed that all the stuff they had there was used as topping, rather than mixed in.

  61. Shocked? Really? I would have thought 'resigned' was more apt. But they're only toppings when you have it as an 'ice cream', if you have it as a shake they blend it all together.

    They also do 'Tailor made crepes' which makes me laugh, because if I'm going to pay £4 for a pancake I want it made by a chef, not a tailor.

    I recognise I may be going off topic. Sorry.

  62. Mmm, Orange Julius. In the '70s they were delicious things made to a secret recipe -- lots of orange juice, chipped ice, milk, egg (or so the rumour went), and blended together to make a slightly thick and creamy, frothy drink. Then in the '80s they must have come under new management because they became essentially watery orange juice blended with ice.

    I never tried an ice cream "soda" made with orange juice. Must give it a whirl.

  63. This reminds me of a iced chocolate vs. chocolate milkshake discussion back in 2007. I emailed you about it too.

    (I sent those photos to my online friends and asked them what they called the drinks in the photos. The result was that my friends in the US called the "iced chocolate" a "chocolate milkshake" and they called the "chocolate milkshake" "chocolate milk". Someone didn't know what an iced chocolate is, and thought that I was talking about a frozen chocolate bar.)

  64. In the Boston maybe greater New England, not sure) a milk shake is flavored milk and a frappe is a traditional milk shake. This is a very common dialectal miscommunication.

  65. "Your order will be delivered today between 10.30 and 11.30 by Pat in Courgette van."

    Surely that should be "(BrE) Courgette van/(AmE) Eggplant truck"? ;-]

    I must look to see if the question of non-milky soft drinks, fizzy and otherwise, has been treated heer already. There seems to be lot sof interesting regional variation within the UK and US as well as between them; there's a fascinating map of them on the excellent Strange Maps blog:
    I wonder if anyone has done one for the UK.

  66. No, because a courgette is a zucchini, not an eggplant. Search the food label for the big post on vegetables.

  67. Gah! I knew that of course, slip of the brain, sorry. "Zucchini truck" trips off the tongue a lot better than the leaden "Courgette van", I reckon.

  68. Another thought came to me today whilst eating a cake/pie.

    How is lime milkshake such a bizarre idea, when America has plenty of key lime pie?

  69. Well, first, Key Lime Pie is a regional dish--though it has spread out considerably during my lifetime. I've never tasted it myself, and never had any desire to.

    But the description of it at Wikipedia has firmed up my belief that I wouldn't want lime in a milkshake:

    "During mixing, a reaction between the condensed milk and the acidic lime juice occurs which causes the filling to thicken on its own without requiring baking. Many early recipes for key lime pie did not instruct the cook to ever bake the pie, relying on this chemical reaction (called souring) to produce the proper consistency of the filling."

    So, unless you want your milkshake pseudo-baked, you're better off not putting lime juice in it!

  70. For all this discussion, no one has mentioned (for those unfamiliar) how to make one:

    For best results, use a blender. You can do it with a spoon, but the texture will be different. Real ice cream shops have special blenders for this.

    Half fill your blender (loosely) with scoops of ice cream. Put about an inch of milk in the bottom.

    Flavorings are optional, since the ice cream is flavored, but can be anything that won't curdle the milk. Pineapple chunks work. Fresh strawberries are wonderful. Chocolate syrup is always a good choice. Blend just till smooth.

    Add milk a little at a time, pulsing the blender off and on, as needed to adjust the texture should be thick but drinkable.

    It should NOT taste like the stuff at McDonald's.

  71. On egg creams and Key lime pies:

    The trick with eggcreams is in the preparation, which as important to the result as it is for a martini.

    1) Drink them in a glass, not a "to go" waxed paper container. Even if it costs the same and you don't get as much. It really does affect the flavor.

    2) Make sure that the preparer mixes the ingredients properly. The milk goes in first. Then the glass is placed under the seltzer machine and (MOST IMPORTANT) a spoon is inserted between the two, so that as the seltzer comes out it strikes the back of the glass before reaching the milk. Otherwise the result is over-carbonated. Only then is the syrup added and THOROUGHLY mixed in with the spoon. Most people prefer chocolate egg creams, though vanilla ones are my delight (or were, pre-diabetes).

    The trick with Key lime pie, on the other hand, is to get actual Key limes for it. Most people use common limes, which spoil the texture, so you end up with something resembling sour shaving cream. If buying your own, Key limes are yellow.

  72. Solo said: Carbonated milk?! That's disgusting.

    Would this be related to Rivella, which is ubiquitous in Switzerland but as far as I can tell, nowhere else? It's made from milk whey with sugar and flavouring and I believe it originated as a scheme to use up a surfeit of milk whey, possibly a by-product of the cheese industry. Non-Swiss are supposed to find it gross but I'm generally first in the queue to try the things that others find unappealing, and I rather like it. If it was available in Britain I'd buy it.

  73. They did introduce Rivella here at one stage, you could get it in Tesco's, but I don't think it sold well and was withdrawn. A pity, really - it's about the only soft drink I really like!

  74. I had some Rivella on my trip to Switzerland a couple of months back. It's bloody delicious, though it doesn't taste hugely different from any other coke. Only affirms my belief that I'd rather live in Switzerland.

  75. Many years later.... but this thread revived because someone commented on it. I remember that when I was little, my mother occasionally gave us "milkshakes" for pudding, which was milk with either Nesquik (which came in flavours like strawberry and banana, to serve with cold milk) or Camp coffee in it, and a scoop of ice-cream. Not blended together.

  76. BrE (Scot, 60+) As Cameron says, in Scotland ice (iced?) drinks were popular: fizzy pop with an added dollop of ice cream. Except in my family, we stirred the drink until the ice cream melted, rather than just letting it float on top. It worked best with Scottish Italian-style ice cream. I don’t know if this is the sane as American Italian-style ice cream.

    In England, carbonated drunks usually seem to me called fizzy pop, or just pop. On another post, someone noted that in Glasgow, all flavours of pop are called ginger. In my part of Scotland (South Ayrshire), the generic term for fizzy pop was lemonade. And “lemonade” came in a wide range of flavours: lemonade, cloudy lemonade, orangeade limeade, dark cola, red cola (more raspberry than cherry), cream soda, golden lemonade, ginger beer, dandelion and burdock, and I’ve probably forgot some. I left that as forgot, as it’s what I would say, but would usually write forgotten.

  77. Super late to the party, but I just wanted to agree with @lynneguist that Boston Coolers are the best. Growing up in Michigan, they were made with the local ginger ale, Vernors, which is a bit more sharp than the standard version. The best ones were at Saunder's soda fountains in Detroit, but you could occasionally convince a Dairy Queen to make one for you.


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AmE = American English
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OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)