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Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes
By Adam Reid
ISBN: 0393068773
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Publication date: June 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
List price: $24.95 
Type: Desserts: Milkshakes
Sample recipe: Lemon-Buttermilk Shake
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: The milkshake grows up – and it's about time. Don’t worry, the book has recipes for vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry milkshakes, but then it gets interesting. Pineapple Foster, Cucumber Honeydew, Mocha Cardamom, Chocolate-Guinness Malted, Coconut Patty, and many others you've never dreamed of have been successfully added to the milkshake repertoire.

Every now and then you think author Adam Reid is about to get all fussy (as too many cookbook writers do), as when he says he's going to specify the vanilla ice cream you use. But what he really does is make suggestions for the type of vanilla you might want to use in a particular milkshake – French vanilla, custard, vanilla bean, natural, golden, double vanilla, plain vanilla, etc. – not the brand.

Reid's milkshakes get their flavor boost primarily from sorbets, which add enormous flavor to plain-Jane ice creams. He also makes judicious use of spices, herbs, nuts, seeds, oils, cultured dairy products, jams, preserves, fruit concentrates and oils, various fruits, and liqueurs and spirits (though there are many, many acceptable shakes for kids and teetotalers). There's also tons of information about milkshake history and lore.

These shakes are thick – almost nothing but slightly melty ice cream (and/or sorbet), a little milk or juice, and a little flavoring whizzed together. Nearly every recipe makes about 3-1/2 cups, but it is not entirely clear what is meant to be a serving size. Reid wisely leaves that to your discretion.

The biggest problem may be tracking down some of ingredients specified, including such off-the-beaten-track flavors as ginger ice cream and mango sorbet, as well as guava paste, and crème de marron (chestnut cream). Most recipes, though, do not send you off on wild goose chases.

(To be honest, we have such an affinity for chocolate milkshakes that we were prepared to intensely dislike a book that takes milkshakes in uncharted directions. But we just couldn't do it….)


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