In 1936, a man by the name of Earl Prince invented a machine that could make five milkshakes simultaneously. Made possible by the newfangled freon-cooled refrigerator systems, his “Multimixer” represented the greatest leap forward in milkshake-making since Steven Poplawski’s 1922 invention of the blender. Eleven years before that, Hamilton Beach made a drink mixer, which was soon put to good use making milkshakes at soda fountains everywhere.
But Prince’s machine was a welcome leap forward because what the American public had come to realize in the forty-seven years since the word “milkshake” first slipped into the English language, was that this thick, chilly beverage was awfully tasty.
Late nineteenth century milkshakes were similar to eggnog in texture and usually contained alcohol. In the early 1900s they received a family friendly facelift with the exchange of whiskey for ice cream and malted milk.
By the time Earl Prince created a way to produce a lot of milkshakes in short order, lending the ability of the then barely emerging fast food industry to get in on the trend, the public was clamoring for them.
I prefer the hand-dipped variety created in a trusty blender. Preferably made with chocolate. Still, I can appreciate the innovation that allows for speed because sometimes you just gotta have a milkshake.
And that’s why I was not disappointed to discover that today, September 12th, is a very special made-up holiday here in the United States. Today is National Chocolate Milkshake Day.
I will be the first to admit that here in the US we are maybe a little too obsessed with the stupid holiday. One online source for all things made-up suggests there are more than 1500 weird national holidays that some guy somewhere invented for some probably very silly reason.
But as far as ridiculous made-up holidays go, this is one I can get behind. I’m not sure how far this day of observation stretches back into history, but it’s at least a few years. I have to assume someone made it up because either he owned a shop that sold killer chocolate milkshakes and was looking for a way to drum up some publicity or because he lived near a shop that sold killer chocolate shakes and he was hoping for a discount.
Either way, I’m happy for an excuse to dust off the old blender and celebrate this most excellent day with a chocolate milkshake. Or maybe five.
Happy National Chocolate Milkshake Day!