Thursday, July 17, 2008

Those Other Names for Milkshakes

The term frappe is a new one for people who have never lived or spent time in New England.

So what's the difference between a frappe and a milkshake? According to the website for England's MicroCreamery in Haverhill, Mass.:
In Massachusetts, a "milk shake" does NOT have any ice cream in it. It is just syrup and milk blended together. Literally milk shaken. So a chocolate milk shake in Massachusetts is basically chocolate milk. It is a "frappe" that has the ice cream, milk and syrup all belnded together and is nice and thick. So what the rest of the country refers to as a milk shake, we in Massachusetts call a frappe. Incidentally, in Rhode Island it is called a "cabinet."
I don't know the history of the term cabinet, but I have read that the term frappe was used by the French Canadians who emigrated to New England. It is believed to derive from the French verb "frapper" — meaning "to strike, hit or knock." In other words, the ice cream and milk are struck or beaten to produce the final product.

But the folks at England's MicroCreamery are not entirely correct in their explanation. The "rest of the country" does not uniformly use the term "milkshake." My own visits to Rhode Island revealed that in several R.I. cities and towns, you will find dairy stores or drugstore fountains that sell what is called an awful-awful.

It's essentially what most of us call a milkshake, although slightly thicker than the consistency of most milkshakes. This bizarre term threw me, and (of course) I immediately identified myself as an outsider when I asked an employee at one R.I. dairy store what the heck an awful-awful is.

I have not read any explanation for the origin of the term awful-awful. It may originate from the slogan that Newport Creamery developed: "Awful Big! Awful Good!"

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The best frappes are at Peaceful Meadows dairy farm/store. I go to the location in Whitman, Mass.
(http://www.peacefulmeadows.com/fr_aboutus.html)

Josh said...

Hi, "Food Dude!" Yes, you are correct that the term "Awful, Awful" is a term created by Newport Creamery (as a RI girl I can remember when they were first introduced). A lot of franchises come up with their own brand names such as "Fribble" for Friendlys, "Frosty" for Wendys or "Blizzard" for DQ - all of these "brand" names are for milk shakes (or in Massachusetts - Frappes). Cheers!! Jane from England's MicroCreamery

Anonymous said...

I remember in the 60's having an "Awful, Awful" at a Frienlies in MA before they called it a Fribble. Does anyone have any information on that?

Anonymous said...

I went to school at Clark in Worcester MA 1960-1964 and constantly visited the local Friendly's for a Big Beef and a strawberry AwfulAwful. They later changed the name to Fribble. Can anyone verify whether Newport Creamery in RI of Friendly's in MA used the name Awful Awful first?

Anonymous said...

According to segment on Chronicle tonight, Newport Creamery started the Awful Awful first....which is why Friendly's had to change the name to a Fribble....mystery solved!

Anonymous said...

Awful-Awful was meant to represent "Awful big and awful good". I used to stop by the Newport Creamery on the way home from work and have an Awful-Awful as an appetizer before dinner at my parents' place. There used to be a deal that if you drank three, the fourth one was free - but you had to drink it then and there. I got the three down with no trouble, but there was no room for the fourth one. DRAT!!!

RandyMLee said...

Ahhh! Mystery solved. In the years 1958 - 1961 my family used to go have burgers, fries, and shakes at some restaurant in Hartford. I had forgotten the name, but remembered one thing: the Milkshake. Called an Awful-Awful, it was the best! Then one day about 5 years ago I was driving through Connecticut for the first time since leaving in '61. I saw a restaurant called Friendlies. "That's it" I said to myself. "That's the name of the place where they had the Awful-Awful. Well, if you've been to a Friendlies recently, you can imagine my disappointment when I entered, ordered, ate, and left. I'll spare you the gruesome details: suffice it to say, there was no Awful-Awful on the menu, (except *everything* on the menu.) :(

So there the world and my memory had me: I was sure the name was right but no Awful-Awful, and no good food. Now thanks to Anonymous, I understand what happened. Friendlies, (which, back then, was a really nice sort of diner in Hartford - like an old Howard Johnson's only with much better food), must have got sued by the Newport Creamery basterts in Rhodey. Depressed, they sold Friendlies to the monkeys who run it now. "Fribble" WTF is that!?

L0nestar5 said...

According to my Dad, here in Southern CT, a milkshake was called a Frost or a Frosted. He had never heard the term Frappé until he was in Chicago once.(I knew having been to school in NH.)

My mother is originally from NJ and knew what an Awful-awful was. Used to drive my dad nuts until he figured out what it was.

If memory serves me correctly, some areas call them a Frosty-freeze.
This subject is almost as varied as what to call soda. (Soda-pop, pop, a Coke (regardless of flavour) or a sub sandwich (hero, grinder or wedge for New Englanders, etc).)

It would be cool to find out dates for some of these terms, if that's possible.

davey said...

The first time I ever heard of an awful awful was in a comic strip called "Harold Teen" about 1940.
The first I ever drank one was in an ice cream parlor in Clifton, New Jersey about 1948