The milkshake doesn't show up on modern menus, and when it appears it does so as a hallmark of traditional American fare. Lately the cheeseburger, the milkshake's longtime comrade in arms, has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, flushing the indulgent carnivore from celebrity chefs who dress up the chopped beef with manchego or Cotswold or eggplant in an attempt to deflect the common heritage of the sandwich. Not so the milkshake, and be thankful: The beauty of the thing is the simplicity of the thing. That's not to say one can't modernize it, though in the way all things are modernized — by abandoning newfangled instant ingredients for old-school organic milk and ice cream. It may be that all the ways to dress up a milkshake have been explored: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. Coconut? Yes, please. But even as ice cream moves into brave new territory (green tea? Cayenne-infused gelato?), these wacky (or just plain wack) flavors won't invade the classic two-fisted American dairy bomb. You don't need to be told that a properly made milkshake, like a properly pulled pint, takes time to prepare. You don't need to be told that it's only fitting to drink a shake at the (progressive holistic) pharmacy lunch counter. This is a piece of beauty that's in the background but will never vanish. And all of a sudden you're laughing when you remember that this splendid drink did indeed re-emerge this year, and when you spy your lunchmeat ogling your perfect beverage, you say the words like an Irish Method actor: I see you want to take your straw and drink my milkshake.
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