When you come to visit, I will take you on a drive across the desert. We will fly down roads flat and hot, in and out of lanes, maybe for an hour. When we pass the turbines we will think about the movie Rain Man, even though those turbines are in every other movie. I’ll tell you my grandfather immigrated from Italy to Argentina in the early 1900s to build windmills. Maybe you will already know that; I’ve mentioned it before.
I’ll try to sell you on the desert, maybe extol its virtues too loudly to seem objective. I won’t be able to hide that I think it’s better than the beach and up there with the mountains. Everything is sharp and cutting, the flora and fauna and architecture. Leaves pointed, teeth sharp, angles pointed and reasonable. It’s very easy to love, especially in a room with air conditioning.
And if logic doesn’t sway you I will magnetize you with sugar. We’ll pull off HWY 111 and ignore the waves of heat dancing on the pavement. Or maybe we won’t. The heat makes a date shake that much sweeter.
Date shakes are quintessential California desert–one ‘s’, not two. You can buy a date shake anywhere in California, anywhere in the United States, really. But if you are into authenticity, a shake from the source sure does taste fine. There are shake shacks up and down the Coachella Valley and eastern parts of the Inland Empire thanks to all the date farms. We couldn’t possibly sample all of them. Since Shields is on the way, we’ll stop there. First, a suggestion: don’t get the one with mango. A plain date shake, please, if you expect to ride home with me. This isn’t the time for hipster, nouveau experimenting.
Also, I’ve already tried it. It’s not that good.
That’s what we’ll do, when you come and visit me. We’ll suck on shakes until our eyes pop and our heads hurt, in a good way, as we drive down the highway long and straight, stopping only when we get to where we’re going.
Until then, you can make one at home.
1/2 cup pitted dates
1 cup nonfat milk
3 cups vanilla nonfat frozen yogurt or vanilla icecream
1. Coarsely chop dates.
2. In a blender, whirl dates with milk until smooth. Add frozen yogurt and whirl until smooth.
3. Pour shake into tall, chilled glasses.