The jar I have is Carnation brand--Horlicks, which we usually had when I was a kid, isn't easily available at my local stores. Carnation's ingredient list is fairly short: Wheat flour and malted barley extracts (that's one thing?), milk, soy lecithin, salt, sodium bicarbonate.
View Malteds and Nickel Candy Bars in a larger map
Click on the map to find out what malted milk powder has to do with Antarctica.
William Horlick, a British émigré in Racine, Wisconsin patented malted milk powder in 1883. Originally, it was marketed as a nutritional supplement for infants and invalids. They cleverly trademarked the name 'malted milk' after initially calling it 'diastoid'. Catchy, no? Can't you imagine climbing up on a stool at a soda fountain and saying "I'll have a chocolate diastoid, extra diastoidy"?
In 1922, also in Racine, another émigré (Polish this time), Stephen Poplawski, patented the electric blender. With it, more malt shops opened, and the familiar soda fountains in corner drugstores entered their heyday.
Enough background. What if I want a real malted milkshake now? It's been known to happen. A couple of years ago, Blue Plate opened in Portland's handsome Dekum Building (1892). Yesterday at 11 AM was the only time I could fit a malt in before writing this. I wasn't at all in the mood (ice cream before noon seems as wrong as alcohol before noon), but duty called.
My malted--the one I hadn't craved--arrived, I removed the maraschino cherry (never did learn to like them) and took a sip. One sip of the cold, achingly sweet malted, with the crunch of icy bits and crystalline malted powder, and I realized there was nothing I wanted more right then than that vanilla malted.
I was just finishing my vanilla malted when I overheard the man at the next table talking to the woman he was with (appropriately apologetic about the beginning of his question): "Are you old enough that there were still any old fashioned soda fountains when you were a kid?"
The question pleased me, and the answer was too good:
"I grew up in Hayward, and we used to go into Oakland to a soda fountain..."
Hayward, just south of Oakland. Home of Annabelle Candy Company, the queen of the nickel candy bars.
I love it that a vanilla malted I didn't even think I wanted pulled me all the way back to the Bay Area of the 1940s. Even if I'd never been there in the first place.