Blogging For Books, In The Kitchen

Book Review

The Soda Fountain,  written by Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman



The first 50 pages or so are a brief history of soda fountains and their all too brief “fifteen minutes of fame” in American culture. The pages of history are dotted with vintage photos and ads. While the included soda fountain history is brief, it is informative and the book serves as a good starting point for those interested in learning about soda fountains and their time in the lime light. Those already versed in soda fountain history probably won’t learn anything new. There are also a couple pages dedicated to how Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, the authors’ own soda fountain (opened in 2010 and located in Brooklyn, New York, if you couldn’t figure it out!) got it’s start. 

After the chapters on the history of soda fountains comes the really good stuff: the recipes! A couple recipe chapters were a little disappointing, but overall the authors did a fantastic job of including a variety of recipes to suit all tastes. 

The recipes begin, of course, with the basic sodas. The authors provide their method for the perfect soda, then provide recipes for the necessary flavoring syrups to make sodas in 16 flavors. Flavor syrup recipes include good basics like cola, vanilla cream, and New Orleans Mead (aka root beer) but also includes some less traditional (to me) flavors like hibiscus and pineapple.

The next chapter covers floats – 23 varieties – and starts off instructions on how to make the perfect float. Recipes include classics like Betty Boop (black and white) and Purle Cow as well as originals from Brooklyn Farmacy like The Violet and Tarty Pants. 

The chapter on egg creams is rather lacking with only 6 recipes, all of which are standard fare – Brooklyn (chocolate), Manhattan (vanilla), maple, coffee, blueberry, and orange. I had hoped for perhaps a few more less standard recipes, but that’s ok. Egg creams are so basic (and despite the name contain no eggs, at least in modern recipes) they’re easy to experiment with on your own. Which, by the way, is something the authors strongly encourage. 

Following is a chapter with 21 recipes for sundaes. From the classic “Anyday Sundae” to more decadent or interesting flavor combinations like Cookie Monster, Makin’ Whoopie! Sundae, Hog on A Hot Tin Roof and The Elvis. 

Up next is the chapter on milkshakes, which is also decidedly lacking with a mere 8 recipes. Though few in quantity, each of the recipes are appealing. Recipes included are Cherry Blossom, The Rocket (coffee), Seasonal Fruit, Classic Black-and-White, Seven-Layer Apple Parfait, Pecan Pie Bar, Peanut Butter, and Soda Shake. The last of which I admit does have me completely intrigued, as a combination of a soda and a milkshake with the authors noting “This is an opportunity to release your inner jerk with the nifty trick of floating a milkshake on top of a soda.” Who doesn’t love a little culinary magic? PS – “jerk” is used here as in “soda jerk”. If you don’t know the lingo, it’s explained in the book. 

The next chapter is all about toppings for those sundaes – though each could have other uses as well. There are 25 recipes in this chapter. There are recipes for the usual suspects that get paired with ice cream – hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce, fruit compotes. There are a couple less likely recipes included, like Candied Bacon Bits. Oh, and there is a recipe for Nutty-Ella – a homemade version of Nutella. Yes, please! 

The final chapter is all about baked goods. Each of the 21 recipes from this chapter are utilized in other recipes in the book, but each can also stand alone as a special treat if you like. Brownies, Blondies, Vanilla Wafers, Apple Crumb Pie, even Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits! Yes, I said Biscuits! 

While a couple chapters were lacking, I think overall the authors did an excellent job of providing a variety of recipes that will suit all tastes. The photography in the book is stunning, though there are not pictures included for every recipe. Given they’d all look pretty much the same just different colors that is perfectly acceptable. I normally prefer recipe books that include a photo of each recipe but in this case, the select few photos are perfect. 

You can get more information about The Soda Fountain by clicking here.

   I recieved this book for free from Blogging For Books for this review.


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