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DQ Nostalgia

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Anyone else lament the demise of the original, silky DQ soft serve? I can only imagine the fat and calorie content, but it was a great treat.

Is there another source for soft serve that has that dense, creamy consistency?

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  1. I used to love DQ soft serve, until one day I was told by a friend that it contained lard. "That's pig fat you're eating, pig fat!" she chanted. Haven't been able to buy one since!

    1 Reply
    1. re: KevinB

      Just in case anyone wants to know, from the chain's web site:
      Dairy Queen Vanilla Soft Serve: Milkfat and nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, whey, mono and diglycerides, artificial flavor, guar gum, polysorbate 80, carrageenan, and vitamin A palmitate.

    2. i don't care what's in it, so long as it stays delicious. i had no idea they'd changed anything; it still tastes fantastic in a peanut buster parfait.

      2 Replies
      1. re: beelzebozo

        I'm talking about a change in the product that I remember having 20 years ago. I BELIEVE that there may have been lard in the original recipe--it was that good.

        I've never really been a frequent flyer at DQ, so I can't put my finger on a particular time frame for the switch.

        1. re: mamaciita

          I know EXACTLY what you mean. I still have that fleeting memory of the taste of the ORIGINAL DQ soft ice-cream. That's how I happened on this site. I was searching for the original recipe. I believe it changed in the early '80's. And you know, considering that virtually everything before that (that tasted great) included in their ingredients, either lard or if you could afford it Crisco (think old time wedding cake frosting, yum), then I believe that could be the missing link that I've been searching for. Darn these health nuts! I don't believe that even one life has been saved by cutting the original recipe. But for sure, I feel sorry for all the generations that never have the opportunity to try that original, magnificent, creamy, delicious DQ ice-cream.

      2. I just miss the Nerd Blizzards! I ate those all the time as a child. It's such a strange combination, and I would probably hate it as an adult.

        3 Replies
        1. re: wannabefoodie

          Wow, I wish I lived near your store growing up! I am currently working on a Dairy Queen Review project to compare prices and quality at the MN DQs. Both can vary quite a bit, and I am sure there is no lard in any of it.

          One thing that a long time DQ employee told me about cone quality is that sometimes extra water was added to the mix so it would freeze faster (or last longer).

          If you are interested in reading my Dairy Queen Cone reviews feel free to stop by my site at www.ratemydq.blogspot.com.

          I am open to guest reviews, too, if you can pass along the prices for sm/med/lg cones and peanut buster parfaits. -Mike

          1. re: wannabefoodie

            I have a cousin, who when younger would always carry a box of Nerds in her purse "In case I want a Nerd Blizzard." Little weirdo.

            1. re: wannabefoodie

              I loved those Orange Nerds Blizzards. Tasted kind of like creamsicles. We had a DQ around the corner from my high school. Very tempting in the late days of the school year when it was hot and there was no AC at the school.

            2. I worked for 3 summers at a DQ in the early-to-mid 80's, and I'm reasonably sure that the ingredient list on the soft-serve mix didn't include lard.
              On Mondays and Tuesdays we had chocolate soft-serve (mostly for the construction of ice cream cakes for the week), but since we rarely ordered enough chocolate soft-serve mix, we'd just dump 5 gallons of regular mix in a bucket and stir in most of a #10 can of chocolate sundae topping. THAT was good ice cream.
              I worked the Brazier grill area mostly, so I only had passing knowledge of the introduction of the Blizzard and later the Queen's Choice hard-packed ice creams (which didn't last very long.) I always made my ice cream items several ounces heavy and the owner was rather strict about product size.
              I do remember that we had butter-toasted buns (on the grill), if you ordered fried onions, you got them (seasoned with popcorn butter salt), and we served many grill items that are long lost to DQ menus. The chili dog split (1/4 lb beef hot dog, split and "crisped up in the fryer", then flattened on the grill to brown it, served with all the condiments cheese and chili -- yum!) barbecue beef sandwiches, breaded mushrooms, and Burger Nuggets, a test item - chunks of breaded hamburger patties, breaded, fried, and served with dipping sauces. And when we got bored, we "invented things" with available ingredients to eat on our breaks. My personal favorite was a double barbecue-bacon-cheeseburger with fried onions, mustard, mayo and pickles. Can't eat THOSE anymore.

              1. I don't know if I ever had the "old" recipe...but, I find frozen custard to be a nice soft-serve alternative...it's hard to find good soft serve!!! I was underwhelmed w/ Sonic Soft Serve.

                1. I think DQ still has some of the best soft serve around. I always loved the dilly bars, or a butterscotch dipped cone. Dad always had a cold fudge and marshmallow malt (the one we went to knew him and never looked at him funny for ordering it) and I always had to steal a sip. Oh, and buster bars! Those are just the oddest things, but good.

                  1. The pain for me is because I grew up in Texas and now live in Massachusetts. For reasons that are entirely unclear to me, Dairy Queens in Texas are owned by a entirely separate entity than the rest of the company, which is based in Minnesota. They have the same ice cream items -- Blizzards, Dilly bars, Peanut Buster Parfaits, etc. -- but the hot-food menu is unique to the Texas DQs, and features a steak finger basket with fries, white gravy and Texas toast that I still remember fondly and can't get anywhere else.

                    Every small town in west Texas has a Dairy Queen, and it is invariably the social center of the town.

                    1. And then you get the cone dipped in chocolate, which hardens. I LOVED DQ.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Mag454

                        Why does this all sound like a eulogy to DQ? Has something happened that I missed?

                        1. re: carfreeinla

                          We had a handful of DQs around Florida throughout the '80s and '90s, but in the late '90s, almost all of them closed in the three cities I'm familiar with (Miami, Gainesville, and Orlando).

                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                            It's still alive in Tampa and Largo.

                            1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                              Their website says they still have some locations in those areas. If you ever find yourself in New England we've got some independent ice cream places that'll make you forget alllll about DQ.

                            2. re: carfreeinla

                              Funny! You are right. It does sound like that! DQ is still around, but the conversation seems to have strayed from the original topic, which was a recipe change in the plain ice cream that occurred a few decades ago. Probably before many of the people commenting were born. So they can't be aware of the change in taste and texture that we old foodies were Reminiscing about.

                          2. I miss the soft serve black raspberry ice cream. (Of course, I miss any version of black raspberry ice cream as it doesn't seem to exist in WA state.) Also, I miss the pink lemonade Mr. Misty. So refreshing on a hot day.

                            1. I happen to work near the corporate HQ of DQ in Edina, MN. About 1/4 mile south of the DQHQ, there is a DQ Grill&Chill. I have a feeling it is under the very watchful eye of corporate. I always seem to have a tasty, fresh meal there and the staff there has always been very pleasant. (This particular DQ was on FN's Unwrapped when they featuring some DQ product (blizzards, maybe?)

                              1. I had a small plain cone from DQ a couple of weeks ago and while it was ok, it wasn't that great. Last night at our county fair I had a soft serve cone from one of the stands there, I recognized the name as a local dairy though they don't sell ice cream commercially, just milk, and it was FANTASTIC. It had that little bit of bite/hardness to it that is now completely lacking in DQ and an extremely rich, creaminess which I'm sure was milkfat, but BOY was it tasty. I guess I'm lucky DQ doesn't taste like this any longer or I'd be there all the time.

                                1. Growing up in the midwest, I used to always get cones dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts. Here in AZ for some reason, you can get it dipped in chocolate OR rolled in nuts, but not both. (My DH looked at me like I was nuts when I said I wanted to get my cone that way!).

                                  Another thing I can't get at the DQ's here are peanut butter sundaes. Love that sweet/salty combination . . .