Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ice Cream

I knew early on I was either destined for greatness or there was something seriously wrong with me when I looked around and saw everyone else licking their ice cream in a cone, while I bit mine. Not big gulps, just nibbles.  I deemed it more of a joy to my teeth than to my tongue. There could be a profound truth hidden in all this but it eludes me at the moment.

Back in those halcyon days the only territorial issue at hand was the rivalry between the Bungalow Bar truck versus the Good Humor. It might have ended in a food-fight. They both patrolled our streets bonging away as we kids salivated like Pavlovian dogs. Even though the corporate giant Good Humor was twice the price for a chocolate bar they overwhelmed the Brooklyn-based Bungalow Bars with their nation-wide fleet and variety of toasted almond bars, Dixie cups and popsicles. I bit them all. My teeth have been where only tongues have gone.

I remember nibbling an Eskimo Pie, which was neither Eskimo nor pie, when news came that that other war was done. I think I dropped my non-pie ice cream. It was always a small tragedy when ice cream fell off its stick. It is one of life’s set-backs that ultimately toughens the individual for other existential crises.

It all started in Iowa in 1920 when a boy couldn’t decide whether to invest in a chocolate bar or a scoop of ice cream in Nelson’s candy store. He felt a light bulb go off overhead and started experimenting to get chocolate to adhere onto ice cream. While Einstein was enlarging on E=MC sq. Nelson got together with none other than Russell Stover, a local chocolate supplier. All things being relative, the rest is history. Einstein too.

To trace ice cream back to Iowa is not surprising. There is something so Americana about the stuff. Though I suspect nobody anywhere doesn’t love it except perhaps in west Waziristan where pie a la mode becomes pie Allah mode. Hold the Jihad, please. 

Last week we got to talking about ice cream with friends Theresa and Dave, both from Davenport. They mentioned Whitey’s ice cream as being cited as one of the ten best in a national magazine and a few days ago a huge package arrived at our front door containing 6 pints of Whitey’s ice cream packed in dry ice. It is very rich and flavorful and it wouldn’t hurt to have a cardiologist handy after a dish.

One might register their maturation over the years by noting variations in their favorite flavor. I suppose I was a vanilla sort of kid until first grade when I discovered the inherent psychedelic alkaloids buried deep inside chocolate. I had a strawberry phase and possibly even forays into orange and raspberry sherbet. Butter pecan has never been short-listed. I’ve always resented the intrusion of nuts into mix however I went through some rum-raisin phase.

In recent years, no thanks to quantum physics, new flavors have emerged which I would not mind being preserved in, cryogenically. Among these are peach, pumpkin and chocolate malt crunch. I shall not bite the dust but the ice cream.

Life used to be simple and not only in Iowa. Coffee was coffee. Now we order a decaffeinated Sumatra dark-roasted, cocoa-dusted macchiato dolce espresso. Ice cream-lovers also have to call their psychiatrists to find out which flavor they want when faced with Cherry Garcia peanut-butter cluster Heath bar yogurt or black-mountain praline caramel ripple with bacon bits. Bacon bits? Try licking that!

1 comment:

  1. The occasional walk down cavity lane is always amusing when I stop at a dollar store or on that specializes in vintage candy bars. Candy bars are not a big draw for me but I am know to steal smarties from a holloween bag.

    Some of my favorites were Marathon Bar, Chunky. Butterfingers, 10 o'clock bar, reases Peanutbutter cups and a few other chocolate Carmel Peanutbutter combinations.