Posted by: Jack Henry | August 5, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Shake it Up

It’s summer, and we’re all looking for ways to cool down. And nothing does it better than a milk shake, right?

But wait a minute…according to a book I’ve been reading (Wicked Good Words by Mim Harrison), we might not all be talking about the same thing.

Here in California, we usually just use the term shake rather than milk shake when we’re refering to a thick drink made by blending ice cream, milk, and flavorings. But across the country, folks use different terms.

In the Northeast, a milk shake does not include ice cream; it is simply milk that is shaken up with some flavor of syrup. If ice cream is involved, the blended drink is called a number of different things.

In Rhode Island, it’s sometimes called a cabinet (so named because the pharmacist who first blended one up kept either the ice cream or the mixer in a cabinet).

In Massachusets, they call it a frappe (from the French work frapper, meaning to ice).

In other parts of New England, it’s called a velvet. And to be more specific, if you want a shake made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, it’s called a black and white. If you use chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup (now we’re talking!), it’s called an all black.

And I learned one more interesting tidbit while researching: McDonald’s does not use the term milk shake because dairy regulations vary from state to state on what can officially be called a milk shake—it depends on the percentage of milk fat—so they stick with the term shake.

I think Shakespeare said, “A shake by any other name, would taste as sweet.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure he said that. 😊

Keep cool and enjoy this summer day.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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