Tears came out of my eyes as I pulled the blood-soaked gauze out of my mouth—I couldn't feel anything on the lower half of my face, but the fresh wounds in my gums, where my wisdom teeth used to be, were still trickling a tinny-tasting stream of blood that all the water in the world couldn't rinse off my tongue. Blech.
After getting all four of my wisdom teeth pulled, I stayed hunkered down in bed and survived on a diet of over-the-counter painkillers, Netflix's terrible reality TV shows (Bridalplasty, dudes—seriously), and liquid meals for several days. Within the first 24 hours, I had already grown tired of juice, soups, and chalky Odwalla protein shakes. I was dying to eat something real, something that stuck to my bones and satisfied my sweet tooth.
This is when I fell in love with the milkshake all over again. I'd been so distracted by eating dessert that I completely forgot that sometimes the best way to spike your blood sugar comes through a straw! The milkshake is the bright side of having to have four large teeth yanked out of your face.
Whether it's a traditional strawberry shake from Dick's Drive-In ($2.15) or a boozy smoked-chocolate-and-whiskey concoction from Ballard's Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery ($13!), as long as real ice cream is used, it's nearly impossible to make a bad milkshake. (A mediocre milkshake, sure, but certainly not a bad one.)
And there are dozens of places in Seattle you can go to quench this specific thirst. Luna Park Cafe in West Seattle has an insanely good banana-split shake—it tastes like the last three bites of a banana split, where the chocolate, ice cream, and fruit have all melted together into sweet perfection. At Red Mill, you can get the peanut-butter shake with strawberries added, making it one of the most indulgent PB&J experiences you'll ever have. There's also Full Tilt Ice Cream, Molly Moon's, Scooter's, Lunchbox Laboratory... even Cupcake Royale has milkshakes now! You can literally drink a red velvet cupcake.
But there's one problem with most of these places—sometimes they're really, really busy. Especially now that the sun is shining and we're all climbing out of our SAD-soaked caverns looking for anything that will feel like summer, Molly Moon's often has a line down the block, and on the weekends, Full Tilt in Ballard can be overrun with pinball-machine-hogging children.
Thankfully, you can also make a really good—maybe even the best!—milkshake at home. For inspiration, take a look at local dessert wizard (and Hot Cakes owner) Autumn Martin's new cookbook, Malts & Milkshakes.
Do you need a cookbook telling you how to make malts and milkshakes? Of course not—you buy some ice cream, add some milk or juice, and blend it together with spoonfuls of whatever the fuck you want. Malt powder! Candy bar bits! Caramel sauce! Nerds! Pineapple, strawberries, and chocolate, oh my! But just because you don't need something doesn't mean you don't deserve it. You don't need milkshakes, either, but... wait, yes. Yes, you do need milkshakes.
Anyway, Malts & Milkshakes will inspire you to take your homemade milkshake game to a gourmet level (and if you learn better by example, Martin is teaching a milkshake class this Saturday, May 11, at Hot Cakes—see getyourhotcakes.com for info). The tasty list of shake flavors includes watermelon and lime, salt and pepper, molten chocolate cake, mango rose, and—as if the bacon trend hasn't already gone far enough, and further—there's also a recipe for a bacon-oatmeal-raisin-cookies shake (with homemade bacon-oatmeal-raisin cookies).
As with Hot Cakes' in-house menu, things start to get boozy, too—throw in some whiskey! Add some tequila or brandy! There's even a recipe for a rum-laced chipotle-spice sipping chocolate shake that is supposedly so hot, it had to come with a warning label. More milkshakes should come with warning labels.
When you're ready to eat solid foods again, Martin's book also includes recipes for salted peanut-butter-cookie ice cream sandwiches, apple pocket pies, and Hot Cakes' famous molten cake—but who needs solid food anymore? Milkshakes are the new juice fast.
The one untruth within Martin's book is where she says, in the beginning: "Traditionally milkshakes are served in the classic soda fountain glass, which is 12 ounces. But really, that is a lot of ice cream to consume in one sitting."
*You're welcome for writing a 703-word article about milkshakes without once referencing that Kelis song.