Those susceptible to brain freezes beware: June 20 is National Vanilla Milkshake Day!
The term “milkshake” has been around since the 1800s, though it originally referred to an entirely different drink altogether. It first appeared in print in 1885 and was described as a”sturdy, healthful eggnog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat.” I don’t know if your liver would necessarily agree about the “healthful” part, but whatever. By 1900 the alcohol had disappeared, and milkshakes were made with vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry syrups. It wasn’t until 1922 when the milkshake as we know it and love it was invented; a Walgreens employee named Ivar “Pop” Coulson added two scoops of ice cream to a malted milk (milk, chocolate, and malt powder) and, voila! A new creation was born. By the 1930s milkshakes were popular across the nation, and the invention of freon-cooled refrigerators during that decade provided a safe and reliable method of making and dispensing ice cream. Fancy stainless steel automatic milkshake mixing machines soon followed, and in the 1950s Ray Kroc bought exclusive rights to one of these automated milkshake makers to speed up production in his fledgling new chain of fast-food restaurants called McDonald’s. These machines folded air into the drinks, making them smooth and fluffy. Like a koala bear. Milkshakes have remained popular over the years, evoking nostalgia for a bygone era. They are an especially profitable source of revenue for restaurants since the fluffy drinks contain so much air; one market research study showed that 75% of the cost of an average milkshake is pure profit. Almost makes me want to not order a milkshake just out of spite, but come on…how could I do that? Milkshakes are delicious!
To celebrate, we stopped at McDonald’s. After all, it was Ray Kroc’s foresight that helped milkshakes become as widely popular and readily available as they are now.