What could be better than a book that celebrates food prep as an art form while appealing to every adult’s inner child? The answer is a book that doesn’t just appeal, but surreptitiously pushes the keys to a secret candy vault into said child’s mischievous little hands before turning away and not looking back as unfettered imagination runs wild.
Sibling authors Matthew, Sarah, and Brendan Aouad (whose names may strike a familiar note, as they run The Vogue Café, a shake bar in Sydney, Australia) have bestowed these figurative keys upon us all, hiding them between the pages of their book, Decadent Shakes. This read, aside from introducing me to a wealth of frappes and milkshakes made and embellished with foods I’d never contemplated as shake ingredient contenders, also brought me aware of how far the milkshake has come in its evolution.
Though the title is “Decadent Shakes,” those who don’t necessarily dig on dairy will be pleased to know that several fruit smoothies and quenchers found their way into this lineup, which the authors took painstaking measures to whittle down to forty entries out of a great many more recipes they’ve developed. These run the gamut from just a few simple ingredients to much more involved affairs that call for the use of melting chocolate and syrup syringes and above all, steady hands to achieve the desired result. An impressive degree of forethought and consideration appears to have gone into striving for a comprehensive range of flavors that should appeal to every palate.
As for the shakes themselves, one can only imagine how much fun was derived from creating and perfecting each one. A more photogenic assembly of cold, sweet beverages seems difficult to find outside of a Japanese izakaya, where each cocktail is crafted in such fashion that the mixologist’s performance of its construction tells a clear story and becomes as much a part of the bar experience as the eventual drinking. The milkshakes and smoothies gathered here, worthy of being called cocktails in their own right, call to mind a similar form of artistry. Here, the Aouad siblings collect step-by-step guidance for creating an ensemble of beverages whose end results left this viewer conflicted over whether drinking them or framing their images for display in a museum gallery would be the better form of appreciation. The intersection of dessert and artistic endeavor is apparent and ready to be tasted.
Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: New Holland Publishers
This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.
[Top image: Decadent Shakes: Milkshakes With More]