The Boston Business Journal reported today that Friendly’s Ice Cream is changing the recipe for its iconic Fribble, for the third time. In most parts of the country, this ice cream drink would be known as a thick shake, or just a milkshake. But in Massachusetts, where strange-sounding terms for everyday objects are the norm (anybody watch Southie Rules on A&E?), the Fribble is known as a frappe. In Rhode Island, where I resided briefly, the Fribble would be called a cabinet. I always thought the best cabinet around was Newport Creamery‘s Awful Awful (“awful big, awful good!”). Yes, it’s a huge milkshake (although Californians think it’s a giant hamburger from The Nugget in Reno), but don’t use that word in a cafe in Providence or Narragansett (you’ll get a chocolate milk, shaken, not stirred).
Back in the day, the Fribble was made from ice milk, a commodity that today’s kids have never heard of. Later on, Friendly’s started making it with frozen custard (as we called it in New York) or “soft serve.” Now, Friendly’s has announced that it will be removing the soft serve machines from its restaurants, instead making the Fribble with “hard” ice cream. Hallelujah! The Fribble will now be available in any of Friendly’s large number of ice cream flavors.
When I was a kid in New York, Friendly’s Ice Cream was something of an institution. No trip to Nanuet Mall (which, sadly, was demolished last year) was complete without an overstuffed Friendly’s ice cream cone, smothered in sprinkles (not “jimmies”), either chocolate or rainbow.
Later, in high school, when my family moved to Wappingers Falls, dinner at Friendly’s became a regular once-a-week event for us, either at 9 Mall in the Town of Poughkeepsie (now closed) or at the cutesy, Colonial style location on Main Street in Fishkill. We used to joke about ordering “a Fishamajig and a Fribble,” because it sounded so funny rolling off the tongue. The Fishamajig, for the uninitiated, is a fish filet and grilled cheese sandwich on toasted white bread. In reality, although we ate plenty of Fishamajigs (and grilled cheese ‘n tuna sandwiches), we never once had a Fribble. My mother always said it was “too fattening.” We’d settle for a Coke or a root beer.
As if changing the Fribble recipe weren’t enough, now the Fishamajig is undergoing an overhaul as well. That’s right: Friendly’s is switching from pollock to haddock.
Nothing stays the same.