Posted by: Erica Retrochef | December 17, 2012

Molasses Milkshake


The semester is over and (as expected) I’m feeling completely drained. The last few weeks of graduate-level classes are always intense, and this year was no exception. I’ve got an excellent reason for being exhausted, of course, although it may not be the one this old advertisement thinks.

It’s a well-established medical fact that, at “regular” periods, every woman’s system loses appreciable amounts of iron. Unless restored, these losses can bring about a serious shortage of iron in middle age. So eat plenty of iron-rich foods regularly — every day!

Brer Rabbit Milk Shake is a delicious way to get extra iron. Mix one tablespoon Brer Rabbit with a glass of milk. Scientific tests have shown Brer Rabbit second only to liver as a rich food source of iron the body can use. Three tablespoons supply about one-third of minimum daily iron requirements.

I find it hilarious that they decided to put “regular” in quotation marks, rather than “periods.”

I also find the facial expressions here to be delightfully odd. Is that supposed to be the standard anemic face? Is she shocked she didn’t know about this simple iron-rich “milk shake” before? Is something else, more sinister going on?

But wait, there’s more!


IT’S GOOD NEWS — this easy way to give children extra iron! Not in medicines . . . but in a food children consider a real treat — delicious Brer Rabbit New Orleans Molasses.

Recent scientific tests — all made with Brer Rabbit New Orleans Molasses — have proved it is second only to beef liver as a rich food source of iron. Three tablespoons of Brer Rabbit will supply about one-third of total daily iron requirements.

Why not serve Brer Rabbit Molasses in some form every day? It’s delicious on cereal . . . on plain or buttered bread . . . in tempting gingerbread or cookies. None of its iron-richness is lost in cooking!

Molasses milkshakes are also great for kids! Just look at those adorable smiles. And we’ve got a great track record with adding junk to milk.


We have very little dairy around the house in general, and there’s nothing about the recipe that would prevent a substitution — the molasses is the interesting ingredient here.


Two tablespoons doesn’t sound like much until you measure it out and pour it in.


I do like the pattern you can get by drizzling molasses into a liquid.


But despite that pretty squiggle, this didn’t deliver decent flavor. The flavor of molasses is enough like gingerbread to give you a hint of holiday treats, but there’s no spices (like, y’know, ginger?) to round it out. And it’s unbearably sweet. The kids both abandoned their “milkshakes” after a few sips, complaining it was just sugary.

There are tastier ways to get more iron in your diet, even for the most committed “sweet tooth” around. Try a hamburger, some beans, leafy green veggies… or just bake some gingerbread!

These two early 1940’s advertisements (the anemic kids, and the anemic mothers) are both online at The Gallery of Graphic Design.


  1. I’ve heard cooking in a cast iron skillet will add iron to your diet.
    As for the molasses milkshakes, well, it’s an acquired taste. Maybe use a little less than 3 TB? Add some pumpkin pie spice? (better than liver, lol.)

  2. Ooh. I’m going to model that 40’s woman’s expression at this milkshake. Pah! Now, with a bit of Silk almond milk and garam masala spice blend (or, pumpkin pie spice is an awesome idea), this molasses shake might be almost as good as fake egg nog… but, yeah. Just make gingerbread and forget about it.

    • A little garam masala would probably make it much more interesting. Too much could easily make it too savory for somebody like me to drink, however.

  3. Almond milk already has a lot of sugar in it. There’s part of your problem. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think that two tablespoons is probably a lot, but molasses mixed in 1% milk is actually pretty delicious. And hey, I love this blog. It’s so entertaining. I love hearing about what stuff “works” and what doesn’t. –Marianne

  4. Reminds me of the ad I saw for a prune milkshake (half milk, half prune juice):

  5. I just made a molasses shake with cows milk. I like it. But right after I finished blending it, I remembered, DAIRY BLOCKS THE ABSORPTION OF IRON! So, my milkshake is pointless, at least it tastes good. Next time, almond or rice milk.

  6. […] via Molasses Milkshake โ€” Retro Recipe Attempts […]

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