Everybody knows what a milk shake is, but not everybody’s idea is the same. Most of America sees the milk shake as a blend of ice cream, milk, and flavored syrup. But in Rhode Island, that combination of ingredients is known as a cabinet; and Yankees farther Downeast know it as a frappe or velvet. If you order a milk shake in Rhode Island, you get milk mixed with flavored syrup, but no ice cream. A classic milk shake, presented in the silver beaker in which it was mixed, is thin enough to be sucked up through a straw, but several variations are too thick for that. The “concrete,” an invention of Ted Drewes custard stand in St. Louis, is a milk shake that is so thick it is presented to the customer upside-down, demonstrating that it won’t even drip. A similar concoction, known as a Bittner after the customer who first requested it, is made at Taggart’s Ice Cream parlor in Canton, Ohio. A Bittner forgoes milk altogether. It is three-fourths of a pound of ice cream swirled with chocolate syrup and heaped with roasted pecans. The pie shake, a crazy invention of Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, Minnesota, has gained popularity at soda fountains around the country. As its name suggests, it is all the ingredients of a milk shake plus a slice of pie all whirled together. Any kind of pie is available in any flavor shake, but connoisseurs tend to avoid fruit pies, which yield too grainy a texture. On the other hand, cream pies are an ideal addition. Whatever kind of pie is included, there is no doubt that it will clog the straw, making this a milk shake to be gulped or spooned.

Restaurants With This Dish

Jax Truckee Diner


Giannamore’s Pizza


Mickey Lu Bar-B-Q


Sand Creek Cafe - Sam Browns
Sand Creek Cafe




Mr. Dave’s



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