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Herrell's® Ice Cream Dictionary

Please note: Many of the terms in this dictionary are historical terms from the 1930s and 1940s. They were used by "soda jerks" at the time, and are not currently in use at Herrell's® or most other establishments. We present them for entertainment value only, and with no intention of sexism, racism, or discrimination of any kind.


Black and White

A milkshake, frappe, or malted made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Also applies to an ice cream soda.

Black Cow

An ice cream soda made by mixing root beer syrup and a small amount of cream in the bottom of a glass, adding soda water, and topping off with vanilla ice cream.

Bon Bons

French for candy in general, but in English, refers to various chocolates with ice cream inside.

Broadway, The

A cousin of a Black Cow, namely, an ice cream soda made by mixing chocolate syrup and a small amount of cream in the bottom of a glass, adding soda water, and topping off with coffee ice cream

Butterfat content

Percent by weight of fat in an ice cream mixture before freezing. Butterfat is the fat in cream, from the cow, and of course can be made into butter. Skim milk, 1% milk, 2% milk, whole milk (3.5%), half-and-half, light cream, medium cream, and heavy cream are all very similar except for the amount of butterfat they contain.

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In Rhode Island, a milkshake. (frappe)

Check the vanilla

A communication among ice cream servers to take a look at the plain, yet attractive customer who just came into the ice cream store.

Chocolate beans

Another name for what we call M&M's®. Not to be confused with cocoa beans.

Chocolate jots

Another name for what we call M&M's®.

Chocolate sundae

An ice cream sundae made with chocolate syrup (the syrup used for milkshakes and ice cream sodas), not hot fudge. See the entry, "Hot Fudge." While hot fudge sundaes are more popular, chocolate sundaes are delicious in a different way.


In areas of central Pennsylvania, a sundae made with chocolate syrup, marshmallow, and peanuts.


Three scoops of ice cream.

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The large, turning mixer and scraper inside the canister of a hand-crank ice cream freezer. When homemade ice cream has just been made, and the dasher is removed, lots of fresh, luscious ice cream clings to it, and, according to legend, this is the best ice cream in the batch! It's a lucky person who gets to lick the dasher!



Dipping cabinet

A specialized freezer with multiple lids, heavy-duty insulation, and curved upper surfaces designed to minimize the effect of passing exterior air currents; specifically designed for the professional service of ice cream. Any dipping cabinet worth its rock-salt is usually massive, boxy, and imposing. Although boards of health may question the common practice, the lids may be left open indefinitely during busy times without compromising the texture or sanitation of the ice creams, surfaces of which are served too quickly to collect any possible air-borne bacteria in such a situation. However, many dipping cabinets are in the dark ages of development, since very serious issues remain relative to uneven temperatures throughout the interior of the cabinet.

Dusty Miller

A chocolate sundae with malted milk powder sprinkled on top.

Dusty Road

A dish of ice cream with malted milk powder sprinkled on it.

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Egg cream

In New York, a plain soda (see below), made with soda water, syrup, and cream. This drink was originally called "soda et crème" (from the French, "soda and cream"); New Yorkers dropped the "soda" in the name, and instead of saying "et creme" found it easier to say "egg cream." Ever since, everyone has wondered why there are no eggs in it—which there are not. An egg cream is light and refreshing, has somewhat of a following among New Yorkers, and is made only in vanilla or chocolate flavors.



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In Boston and eastern Massachusetts, this is what the rest of the country calls a "milkshake," which is a drink traditionally made with ice cream, milk, and syrup, and beaten on a milkshake mixing machine.

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Five of anything. "Handful plus one" means six; "handful plus a pair" means seven; "handful plus a crowd" means eight.

Hot Fudge

A very warm, thick chocolate sauce used as a topping for sundaes (not to be confused with "chocolate syrup"—see entry, "Chocolate Sundae"). Too often these days a just-barely warm or even room-temperature sauce is passed off as "hot fudge." When making actual fudge candy, the ingredients are of course heated together to over 200 degrees F. Originally, hot fudge for ice cream sundaes was literally "hot fudge." Until just recently, this was still the case at "At The Hop" ice cream parlor in Bath, New Hampshire, which obtained its hot fudge from the fudge-making operation next door in The Brick Store (itself the oldest general store in the country).

Hundreds and thousands

British for sprinkles.

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An attractive, dapper male ice cream server around whom female customers like to gather.

Leaning Tower of Reeze-a

A very tall pile of boxes of Reese's® Peanut Butter Cups, which is beginning to lean but has not fallen. Occasionally such a pile can be found in Herrell's®.

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Included in the Dictionary only because we need a clarification on the singular and the plural. The singular is "an M&M®." Note that "an M" is not generally used by literate society as the singular. The plural is "M&M's®," of course, and spelled that way too. It is not a possessive; however, this spelling is based on the grammatical rule that if a word ends with a single capital letter that stands for something else, such as in an acronym, then an apostrophe, in fact, and an "s," are used to make it plural.

Malted milk (or just “malt”)

Powdered milk with malted barley. It is added to milkshakes or frappes to make a malted milkshake or malted frappe. It has a hefty, thick flavor. (Beer is also made with malted barley). At Herrell's®, we add it directly to vanilla and chocolate ice cream to make Malted Vanilla ice cream and Malted Chocolate ice cream.


  1. In most of the country, this is a drink traditionally made with ice cream, milk, and syrup, and beaten on a milkshake mixing machine (see also "frappe").
  2. In Boston and eastern Massachusetts, it is a drink made with milk and syrup (no ice cream), and beaten on a milkshake mixing machine. It is light and frothy, not creamy and thick like the drink described in definition #1.

Milkshake or frappe float

A milkshake (in sense #1 above) or frappe made normally, with another scoop of ice cream added to it after it is removed from the mixer. (See "side car").

Mix one with legs

Make a beverage to go.

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Herrell's® specially made line of trademarked non-dairy frozen and confectionary products.

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One on the city

A glass of water.


The percent by volume of unfrozen, liquid, ice cream mixture by which the finished ice cream has increased during freezing due to the incorporation of air. Most bulk half-gallons from supermarkets are about 100% overrun (half air). Herrell's® is much lower than that. A low-overrun ice cream is richer, creamier, lingers longer in the mouth, is more filling, melts more slowly, stands up better to hot fudge and soda water, and makes for thicker milkshakes (frappes).

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Plain soda

In the Boston area, a drink made with soda water, syrup, and cream and/or milk. It is like an ice cream soda without any ice cream. It is similar to an "egg cream" (see above).

P’s & Q’s

Pints and quarts. (Well, okay, the phrase, "Mind your P's & Q's" probably originally comes from the printing trade during the age of movable type, when it was easy for printers to confuse p's and q's in the lower case since the small pieces of type themselves were, of course, reversed from their appearance on the printed page. But we in the ice cream business enjoy obfuscating the issue by suggesting the phrase refers to something more a part of our daily life, namely, pints and quarts. And what fun would it be to call them liters and half-liters? Tradition need not be dash(er)ed to the ground! What words sounds more familiar, more comforting, than "I'll have a quart of Vanilla"?).

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Included in the Dictionary because we need a clarification as to pronunciation. The last syllable does NOT rhyme with "me," as though the word were spelled "Rees-ies." The name rhymes with "nieces" or "ceases."

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Scoop well

A very small, usually rectangular basin holding scoops and spades through which water constantly flows to clean them. It is not an appeal to ice cream servers to do a good job. Also known as a "dipwell." The Dipwell Company, which makes thousands of scoop wells for companies large and small, including Baskin-Robbins and Dairy Queen, recently moved from Erie, Pennsylvania to Northampton, Massachusetts. Officials of the company frequent Herrell's® Ice Cream to make sure their equipment works properly.


A rude ice cream server wearing a stocking cap. (There are no scooperpunks at Herrell's®.)



Side car

The scoop of ice cream floating in a root beer or cola float, or in a milkshake or frappe float.


Ice cream which hangs out and over the edge of an ice cream cone.


What the British call M&M®-type candies (also a type of American candy, unrelated to M&M's® or Smarties).


(noun), A dish of any flavor of ice cream at Herrell's® into which is mixed, according to the customer's choices, any of the nuts, candies, and fruits displayed, by manual use of a scoop and spade on a special board on the front counter. (verb), To mix goodies into ice cream per above, as, Would you like that smooshed-in? This concept was first popularized by Steve Herrell at his first ice cream store in 1973 near Boston, and is now widely imitated by national chains.


(noun), An ice cream tool shaped something like a windshield scraper or a small, flattened shovel used to push down ice cream remaining behind on the inside walls of a tub after previous scooping from that tub; also used to hand-pack pints and quarts, and to Smoosh-in®. (verb) To use a spade, as, Could you please spade that tub of Peanut Butter Paradise?


Root beer.

Suds with a side car

A root beer float.

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An unadvertised specialty at Herrell's®, it is a method for hand-packing a pint or quart which has two flavors in it, skillfully packed side-by-side and not just one on top of the other, so that either flavor or both may be accessed and enjoyed without having to finish the top one first.

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White and Black

A milkshake, frappe, or malted made with chocolate ice cream and vanilla syrup. Also applies to an ice cream soda.

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