Monday, March 17, 2008
The shamrock shake, or How I spent 3 years searching for a mediocre milkshake
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m sharing a story about my 3-year quest for a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Really, it’s a sad story that spans several states and countless McDonald’s restaurants that ends with sweet (but too-rich and not-as-good-as-I-remember) success. A Shamrock Shake, for those that aren’t familiar with it, is a green, mint-flavored milkshake that’s offered only at some select McDonald’s in March in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I used to always get one when I was a kid, but I hadn’t had one in years. The search started very innocently. I randomly noticed a sign for it a few years ago at a McDonald’s in Texas. I had already ordered, but I thought (mistake #1), “I’ll just get it later at some other McDonald’s.” A few days later, I ordered it at another McDonald’s just a few miles down the road. I might as well have just asked for a bottle of red wine. The clerk looked at me like I was nuts, and, in an awkward scene, I left the line and the restaurant. But, that didn’t stop me from asking at 2 more McDonald’s that year! One had never heard of that shake, and the other actually offered it, but their ice cream machine was broken. The second year I was going on a work trip to California with a dozen co-workers. We had a brief layover at O’Hare in Chicago, and I knew I was in luck, since I was in a city that is so dedicated to the holiday that they actually dye their river green. The small McDonald’s in the terminal had a sign proudly advertising the elusive shake. I bragged to all my co-workers (mistake #2) how I was finally going to get the shake. That is, until the clerk informed me that their ice cream machine was broken. The return trip was similar. I was in line at a different McDonald’s in the terminal when Husband (then, Boyfriend) called me on my cell phone, and I said (mistake #3), “Can I call you back later? I’m finally going to get my shake!” Instead, I called him back, sharing my frustration about yet another broken ice cream machine. Then, last year, I was in a small airport in New Hampshire with my parents and we stopped at the airport’s McDonald’s. I had forgotten all about the shake, until I saw their sign advertising it. I explained to my parents how I had to order it, and my enthusiasm for it actually convinced my dad to order one, too. Their machine actually worked, and they handed us the shakes. The 3-year quest was coming to an end. I slurped on the straw with excitement, ready for the sweet taste of victory. Except that victory actually tasted minty, but too sweet and too rich. My pride wanted me to finish the darn thing, but my stomach knew better. It just wasn’t as good as I remembered. So celebrate St. Patrick’s Day however you like. See a parade, wear green, and/or eat corned beef and cabbage. Have a Shamrock Shake, if you must. Just please promise me that you won’t cross any state lines to get it. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!