We went on road trips when I was kid. Sometimes it was all of us. I was there, upright in my booster seat. My parents both were there occasionally and my mother clutched my brother as we road along. (Sorry. It was even longer ago than The Land Before Time. We Traveled in the Land Before Seat Belts.) Often it was just my father and I, rolling along the highway in his baby blue Dash-Rambler wagon.
A single repetitive sign kept appearing to us on the side of the road. Stop for a Hadley’s Date Shake!
I remember the unabating, un-air conditioned heat, shifting mirage =like across the desert. I could feel the cool sweetness of a shake. I wanted to stop and sometimes we did.
The other day at a farm stand the proprietors were living out sample dates and they were spectacular with a taste of brown sugar and vanilla–with the remembered taste of a long almost forgotten shake, reminding me of my father and the Mojave Desert just outside the little town of Indio. I went to the Date Festival there once with my father. I was a little girl and we’d had some sort of argument back at the campsite so I arrived at the Festival tearful and bulky. We watched the camel races first and I was wide-eyed at the beautiful ladies in purple velvet boleros who rode the sad and slightly flea-bitten animals. And then my father bought me a shake.
My father’s been dead for seventeen years but that date shake is still with me.
Of course today I’m not amused at the plight of the camels. The conventional date shake requires both milk and ice cream (not to mention sugar which made, as I recall, the drink almost too intensely sweet).
But today I whipped up a date shake to rival Hadley’s any day. I sipped it and like Proust was washed away into the remembrance of things passed.
Unrivaled Vegan Date Shake
6 plump, pitted loosely chopped dates
12 oz. almond milk (unsweetened by maybe vanilla flavored)
3/4 frozen banana
1 scoop vegan vanilla flavored protein powder (I use Vega greens & pea protein)
1 + teaspoon good vanilla
3-4 ice cubes
Place ingredients into a powerful blender and whip at high speed.
Childhood and the past await.