Mar 25 2010
Let’s start with a few questions today. Have you ever heard of Whirla Whip? Do you know what it is? Have you ever had one?
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Whirla Whip until Kim from the North Dakota Tourism office told me about it last year. On my trip around North Dakota with the kids, she said we could stop in at Stanley Drug for a Whirla Whip. She also mentioned that it was one of the last Whirla Whips around. Disappearing history? A tasty treat? I added it to our itinerary.
Stanley’s Whirla Whip is located in the Dakota Drug store, which still has a full-service soda fountain. The centerpiece of the soda fountain is the Whirla Whip machine. (Unfortunately, this photographer didn’t get much of a picture of the actual machine. You can see the handle for it on the left side of the above photo.)
A Whirla Whip is the predecessor of the DQ Blizzard or McDonald’s McFlurry. Made with scoops of hard ice cream, bits of candy or flavoring are added and then the machine does its magic, smashing and swirling and mixing it all together until you have a lovely concoction called a Whirla Whip. Our soda jerk ground the candy bits with a mortar and pestle before adding them to the treat. The flavor combinations are seemingly unlimited, as you can choose the flavor of ice cream as well as how many and what kind of additives to put in your Whirla Whip.
It was worth the stop off Highway 2 to have a Whirla Whip in Stanley.
A few months later, we visited the End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum in Currie, Minnesota, while camping at Lake Shetek State Park. To my surprise, they had a familiar-looking machine stationed in their gift shop.
“Is that a Whirla Whip?” I asked. And indeed it was. The Currie Whirla Whip hasn’t been used in a while, but I found it interesting to see two of these old guys within one summer.
Apparently, Whirla Whip is still around; the company has a website. And if you’re one of the lucky few to have had a Whirla Whip at Dakota Drug in Stanley, North Dakota, there’s a Facebook group just for you.
Have you ever had a Whirla Whip? Where was it?