When I first tried to write this column, I rushed to the dining hall, anxious to hear that euphonious beep which brings a smile to my face every time I swipe my student ID card. Then something horrible happened. As I browsed over the sandwich station and hot food offerings wondering what I could whip up with black olives, Dijon mustard, and roast pork calypso, I realized I had chefs’ block.

Chefs’ block is like writers’ block, only instead of staring at a blank piece of paper with a pencil in your mouth, you stare at a tray of “dinosaur shepherd’s pie” and wonder what’s so damn Jurassic about ground beef and whipped potatoes.

“I need a drink,” I grumbled, frustrated by my lack of culinary creativity. Then my muse came to me at the soda machine.

“What are you drinking” I asked my fellow Saybrugian Kingsley Deslorieux ’08, who was gulping a liquid the color of which — a mixture of green, blue, and white — I had never seen in the dining hall.

“Powerade and milk,” Deslorieux replied, “A match made in heaven.”

He knocked back what was left in the glass and reported, “I usually drink Powermilk three times a day. People are reluctant to try it, but once they get over the unnatural color, which, in my opinion, is far less unsettling than the neon blue color of raw Powerade, the vast majority are surprised by how much they like it.”

Deslorieux said he “discovered” Powermilk due to a dare. “As I gulped down that first fateful sip, I expected a disaster, but the tastes didn’t clash” he said. “I realized this combination had potential.”

After experimenting with different ingredients and proportions, Deslorieux settled on “the perfect ratio” — one part blue Powerade, three parts skim milk. “This was the birth of Powermilk.”

Kingsley Deslorieux’s Powermilk

1/4 cup blue Powerade (Too much Powerade overpowers the drink, obscuring the taste which is reminiscent of the milk leftover from a bowl of Lucky Charms.)

3/4 cup skim milk (Reduced fat or whole milk causes the drink to separate.)

1. Pour Powerade in a glass. (Using an opaque paper cup will reduce stares from skeptical onlookers.)

2. Pour milk over Powerade.

3. Stir and enjoy!

Inspired by Deslorieux’s imbibing ingenuity, I set out to make my own thirst-conquering creation. As I watched a hapless freshman spill foam all over the counter after a misguided attempt at an mixing ice cream and soda, I decided to unlock the mystery of making an ice cream float in a Yale dining hall.

Ever since a Philadelphia soda fountain manager whipped up the first “black and white” — vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and seltzer — in the late nineteenth century, ice cream floats have been a favorite of sweet tooths of all ages. When mixing ice cream and soda, the possibilities are endless. Some give their floats a kick of kahlua or a shot of schnapps. Others get fruity with frosty coolers of orange sherbet, ginger ale, and orange juice. Still, many rock it old school with a root bear float.

Regardless of which flavors you prefer, you must utilize skilled technique and precision to achieve ice cream soda excellence. A heavy hand with the ice cream scoop will cause the mixture to overflow and earn you the ire of the dining hall employees who have to clean your mess. If you’re too timid, the soda won’t react with the ice cream at all. After testing method after method, consuming enough ice cream to build an igloo in the process, I arrived upon the perfect formula:

The Flawless Float

2 tbsp chocolate syrup (Any kind of syrup can be used. The same goes for the soda and ice cream flavors, but we’ll stick with the basics for now.)

1/2 cup seltzer (Push the tab labeled “soda” to get unflavored carbonated water.)

1 heaping scoop vanilla ice cream

1. Pour syrup in empty glass. Add seltzer, stirring as your pour.

2. Add ice cream to mixture so that it sticks to the rim of the glass. Make sure the ice cream is submerged enough to react with the soda and produce a creamy foam, but not so deep that the bubbles overflow. To do this, allow about half the ice cream to mix with the soda, and slowly let the ice cream crawl down the side of the glass. (If you pour the soda over the ice cream, the thickening agents in the ice cream will prevent the carbon dioxide gas bubbles in the soda from popping, and you will be stuck with a glass full of foam similar to the cups of frothy head which have come to define Beta Late Night.)

3. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, garnish with a maraschino cherry and indulge in a blissful black and white.