When I lived in Pennsylvania as a child, there was a pharmacy right by my house. This pharmacy was pretty standard for a local pharmacy: wizened pharmacist in the back along with medications, followed by rows of outdated perfumes, discount chapstick, hair products, and hand mirrors that were collecting a thin film of dust. But this pharmacy was also a pharmacy in the old-school sense: the front of the house boasted a small diner with a long formica counter, ’50s Coke advertisements, and shiny metal diner stools. To this nine year old, who could barely climb a stool by herself, the pharmacy was a place of wonder: it had all of the Americana foods, from the Wonder Bread grilled cheese (delicious, if a bit flat) to New York egg-creams. (It was a sad day indeed when I finally tried an egg cream only to realize it was not the custardy, creamy goodness I had imagined, but essentially chocolate syrup and soda water, with a splash of milk.) On the rare occasion we were allowed to get dessert, my sister and I knew exactly what to order: proper milkshakes, with whipped cream and a canned cherry on top. Out came the milkshake, and out came the silver blender cup. Ah, the silver blender cup. If you happened to finish your “official” milkshake, then there really was no being fancy about it – it was time to break into the reserves. The silver blender cup was my salvation. So what if it always put me a little too much past full, every time?
Alas, that pharmacy closed years ago. While I have almost broken my blender from use at college these past three years, I don’t buy many milkshakes these days. McDonalds? Perkins? It’s too disappointing.
Let it be known that chivalry is not yet dead. At The Malt Shop in south Minneapolis, they still do right by you and your shake. They have a veritable army of shake flavors, ranging from the common (vanilla, chocolate) to the intriguing (fig, cantelope, orange) to the outrageously rich (peanut butter, apple pie, butterscotch). You can combine flavors, but a single flavor will only set you back around $5 with tax. If this sounds a little expensive, let me remind you: it comes with the silver cup, no questions about it.Recently, my spoon scraped along the side of a mint milkshake, which has to be one of the most refreshing flavors there is. The Malt Shop lets you order your milkshakes with ice cream or frozen yogurt, and I found that my frozen yogurt shake seemed to be a little thicker and creamier than the ice cream version. The following is a recipe for a Malt Shop-inspired shake. Fig and banana is a beloved flavor of theirs, and I made my own Mediterranean-style treat.
Banana Date Milkshake
4 medjool dates, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 banana, sliced in small pieces
1/2 cup almond milk (lactose-free milk such as soy, coconut, or almond yields creamier shakes)
3/4 cup Greek frozen yogurt (try Ben & Jerry’s, Adonia or make your own)
Combine all ingredients in a blender, adding more fro-yo or milk to achieve shake consistency. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy.