This is another one of those times when I’m completely out to lunch, so to speak.
The Surprising Science Behind Why People Dip Fries in Milkshakes
People do that? Like actual, honest to god people in the wild? I mean I’m sure somebody does because there are 8 billion people in the world and there’s definitely something to all of that sweet and salty flavours working together stuff, but how did I not know this? How have I never seen anyone do it? How, if it’s such a common thing, has it never once come up in a conversation? How has no one ever said to me “Steve, what you really ought to do is take these salted, oily potato sticks and dunk them into your ice cream”? And why did I not think of it on my own? The closest I ever got was spilling some milkshake on some fries and then being sad that lunch was soggy and ruined. I feel like I’ve missed out on something. Something gross that I don’t plan on trying, but still.
The physiology of taste is just one factor that determines the foods we love. Culture and peer pressure also play a huge role, which is why some flavors embraced in certain parts of the world are reviled in others. Dipping French fries in milkshakes is something many people start doing as children. Because the items aren’t listed together on the menu, kids learn to put them together from people in their social circles, like a parent, older sibling, or the captain of their soccer team. This encourages them to open their minds to the otherwise unusual matchup.
Though they didn’t come up with it themselves, many businesses have embraced the off-menu combo. McDonald’s and Wendy’s have both promoted dipping fries in milkshakes (or Frostys, in Wendy’s case) on social media. Some restaurants serve upscale takes on the classic that include fries as a milkshake topping—though for people who grew up with the pairing, the DIY version is hard to beat.
When I think fries as a milkshake topping I don’t think upscale as much as I think clumsy kid or friend being an ass and tampering with my meal, but apparently I’m learning a lot here today.