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01 September 2007 @ 05:41 pm
The Irish do not understand milkshakes.

The first time I was in Ireland (in the UK, in fact, because this problem was endemic to England and Wales as well) I ordered milkshakes several times, and was always presented with this rather nasty concoction that was more like shaken milk than a milkshake. Sometimes it was lumpy. Other times it was bubbly, but not like soda bubbles, but rather, like shaken milk bubbles. It was never cold enough, or chocolatey enough, and it clearly never had any acquaintance with ice cream. After about the third one, I gave up and stopped ordering them. In the two years I've lived in Ireland now, I haven't ordered a milkshake, because I figured it was too risky. But today I was out and I was thirsty and I thought, "Well, hell, I'll give it a try," and went to a Butlers Chocolate Cafe, because they have the best hot chocolate I've had in Ireland, and ordered a milkshake.

I received a--in their defense, sufficiently chocolatey--mildly cold somewhat bitter-flavored drink that was thicker than milk but which clearly had no acquaintance with ice cream. It wasn't *bad*, but it was in no way a milkshake.

Honestly, what's the difficulty here? Milkshakes aren't that hard of a concept. You take ice cream. You take milk. (In an ideal world, you take vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup and milk, rather than chocolate ice cream and milk.) You blend them together and you have a tasty treat.

It can't be that the shakes are being pureed to the point of no longer having any recognizeable ice cream content. They're just not thick or cold enough to have ever *had* any ice cream, not even soft serve ice cream, and this one wasn't *sweet* enough to have ice cream. There is some fundamental disconnect about what a milkshake _is_, and I'm bewildered by it.

*pauses for Wikipedia*

Well, that does in fact explain it. According to the history of milkshakes page, "Several decades ago, milkshakes were made without ice cream1, a practice which is still continued in some parts of the UK, Australia and New England."

1"A milk shake might be milk, shaken up, with or without flavorings-if that's how it was when you were growing up. For most people, it's synonymous with a frappe: mik, syrup, and ice cream." (p.668-669) - How to Cook Evertything. Mark Bittman. Wiley Publishing Inc. 1998 ISBN-13: 978-0-4717-8918-5"


On other topics, kateelliott has a great little essay/query thing about writers and insecurities. Everybody's got 'em. :)

I finished chapter 14 today. Only 1300 or so words of forward motion, but it's done, and page 200 is finally within reach. Sadly, that's not the halfway point in this book, but since I've revised the first part three times now and haven't yet reached page 200, it's this huge haunting milestone there in front of me. But now--because my shoulder's been achy since I got up--I'm going to trundle downstairs and read the rest of FIFTY DEGREES BELOW, which I'm trusting is eventually going to come to some sort of great crescendo, instead of continuing to be this sort of mildly bemusing introspective examination of humanity's place, past, present and future, on the planet.

Then again, that might be the point.

ytd wordcount: 155,600
miles to Minas Tirith: 270
Current Mood: grumpygrumbly
Mary Annepers1stence on September 1st, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
If by "FIFTY DEGREES BELOW" you are referencing the Kim Stanley Robinson novel, I recently connected the dots -- of his books a bunch of seemingly disconnected books are actually connected.

Antarctica is the first of the ones I've read, the the 40 Days of Rain trilogy, and then the Red Mars books. The connection between them is not overt, and mostly it's Senator Chase that's the giveaway (he's referenced very briefly in one of the Mars books as a historical figure).
kitmizkit on September 1st, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
I'm not at all surprised they're connected, and now that you mention it I remember Chase being referenced, I think. Cool.

Anyway, I just finished the book and did get the payoff for the whole bit that I was wondering if it was going anywhere, so that's good.

I loved the North Pole regatta scene.