A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 15, 2006
Black and White (shake or soda)
A "black and white" is chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream, in a soda or a shake.

14 August 1927, New York Times, "The Ice Cream Habit Grows," pg. XX3:
The business of dispensing ice cream and ice cream sodas and the allied soft drinks is slangily known as "soda jerking." Soda dispensing, like many other vocations, has a terminology peculiar to itself. For instance, a chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream is known as a "black and white"; with chocolate ice cream it is called "an all black."

25 July 1940, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 13:
BLACK AND WHITE SODA -- Add 1/2 cup chilled milk to 2 tablespoons chocolate sirup, stirring constantly. Pour into a tall glass. Add 1/2 cup carbonated water or ginger ale and stir to mix. Add a ball of vanilla ice cream and serve at once.

4 October 1948, Washington Post, Letters, pg. 6:
There was vanilla ice cream in my chocolate soda! The chocolate soda was no longer a chocolate soda but rather a black and white soda. In New York when you ask for a chocolate soda you get a chocolate soda with chocolate syrup and chocolate ice cream and when you ask for a black and white you get just that.

Don't the people in Washington know the difference between chocolate and vanilla? I went back determined and asked for a chocolate soda with chocolate ice cream!

"Chocolate soda -- all the way," the sleepy waitress yelled loudly over her right shoulder.
RALPH CHILLION.
Washington.

10 October 1948, Washington Post, Letters, pg. B4:
The trouble with Mr. Ralph Chillion (letter published October 4) with his startled reaction to "chocolate soda all the way," and his feeling that vanilla ice cream in a chocolate soda is downright heretical, is that he just hasn't been around. Like all New Yorkers, he is hopelessly provincial.

If he would betake himself only as far as Atlantic City, for instance (which surely isn't too much to ask, even of a New Yorker), he would hear "black and white," the local tag for chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream, ordered more often than an all-chocolate soda.
(...)
ANGELA.
Washington.

22 August 1957, Washington Post, pg. B11:
Cool, smooth and sweet "black and white" milk shakes can be made in nothing flat when ice cream is stored in the home freezer. Combine 1 or 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup with 1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in tall glass; mix well; add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and finish filling glass with milk. Garnish with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

5 September 1971, New York Times, "The Traveler's Guide to Hash-House Greek" by Dan Carlinsky, pg. XX1:
black and white. Chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream.

7 August 1982, New York Times, "When Fun Was Your Very Own Ice Cream Soda" by Mimi Sheraton, pg. 8:
We always had milk, of course, and seltzer in siphon bottles and Fox's u-Bet chocolate syrup were delivered weekly. We used that combination for black and whites -- chocolate sodas with vanilla ice cream.

3 July 1985, Washington Post, pg. E14:
The world of the soda jerk has a language all its own. This lexicon is taken primarily from Paul Dickson's delightful "Great American Ice Cream Book" (Atheneum, 1973). An article titled "Linguistic Concoctions of the Soda Jerker" published by a Columbia University professor in 1936 provided Dickson with much of the valuable material:
Black and White: chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream.
Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Thursday, June 15, 2006 • Permalink