When I was a kid, I think we must have eaten ice cream almost daily in the hot sticky Wisconsin summers. My mom bought it in 5 quart buckets and we often had three or more flavors on hand. With 7 kids and a dad who worked long days milking cows and bailing hay, we had the apppetites to consume every scoop. We didn't eat plain ice cream all the time either, oh no, we created many different concoctions in which ice cream played a role: banana splits, root beer floats, hot fudge sundays, cake and ice cream, or pie a la mode, you name it, we ate it.
Some of my favorite days ended with Uncle Bud and Aunt Margaret driving up in the evening just as Dad was finishing up in the barn. Uncle Bud would keep my dad company as he wrapped up the milking and Aunt Margaret would go up to the house with an eight pack of glass-bottled A&W root beer in tow. We all knew that meant root beer floats were on the menu for that night's treat! I know most of you know the ingredients for a root beer float, but one tip for you from a girl who used to work at a root beer stand: the root beer goes in the glass first, then float the ice cream on top, hence root beer FLOAT.
These days I appreciate a good vanilla ice cream, but as a kid, I only ate vanilla smothered in chocolate sauce or floating on root beer. When the bucket of chocolate was scraped clean, and vanilla was the only remaining flavor, I often opted for a chocolate shake. A great core-cooling concoction for a hot summer's night.
Tonight is unusally warm for San Francisco, reminiscent of summers at home, and the old chocolate shake recipe came to mind. We just happened to have some vanilla ice cream in the freezer so I scooped some into the blender, added a few spoonfuls of Nestle Quick and poured milk over the mound of ice cream, about 2/3 of the way up (more or less depending on how thick you like it). I flipped the switch and seconds later we had ourselves a Wisconsin summer heat-beating chocolate shake.