Ice cream. Some people can only eat it in the summer. Others can take or leave it. Then there are others, like myself, for which ice cream consumption is an art form. I love ice cream. I eat it almost 365 days a year. Every night I have at least two flavors...in a cone. Yes, I'm an adult but there's something about the creamy texture of ice cream and the endless variety of flavors, not to mention the opportunity to savor something sweet for 20-30 minutes, or however long it takes me to finish my cone, that just makes it the perfect dessert. I lick - never bite. My teeth won't stand for that! When I go on vacation, I seek out the best ice cream shops. Ticking them off like a Zagat restaurant guide.
In fact, I recently discovered a new place in New York City that I just had to visit. It's called Smush. What they do is create custom ice cream sandwiches. You select your outer layer (a bread shaped cookie or brownie), your toppings, ice cream flavor and sauce. I chose the Chocolate Phatty which consisted of one chocolate chip cookie, one brownie, marshmallow sauce, strawberries, chocolate ice cream and a slice of Andes mint fudge. It sounds amazing but in truth I was underwhelmed. Maybe because I am an ice cream junkie I had put Smush on a pedestal. But for more than $7 (with tax) it just didn't wow me like I expected. And honestly, it's too much. My friend and I each ate half and were stuffed. And believe me, I can make room. So while in theory I think this place is genius, I was disheartened to find it didn't live up to the hype.
One of my most memorable ice cream related experiences occurred soon after I moved to the Midwest for college from Colorado. I assumed that ice cream flavors were ice cream flavors not necessarily the world over, but certainly at least the nation over. How wrong I was. It was soon after the move that I learned about the great divide between the "Mint Chocolate Chip" camp and the "Peppermint Bon Bon" camp. A simple request for my favorite cool green-speckled flavor at a local ice cream shop was met with a wince and an "Excuse me? Which flavor did you want?" (A patronizing tone can be added pretty easily to that "which" to give a bit more accurate depiction of the scene, I might add!)
The Minnesota gauntlet had been thrown my way. While some of my native Minnesotan friends remarked, "Um, do you mean Peppermint Bon Bon?" I realized I was a long way from home. Much the way that Midwesterners say "pop" when referring to what West and East-Coasters know as "soda", I was rapidly becoming aware of the odd food-related lexicon of the Midwest states. So, even though they are literally the same flavor and comprised of the same ingredients, I was expected to bend to the will of the masses. And as much confusion as it brought or weird looks or rolled eyes from friends, I always referred to it as Mint Chocolate Chip and I always will. It is, after all, my favorite flavor and some allegiances just can't be swayed!
I'm with Danielle on this one, as a fellow avid ice cream lover. Did you know the US enjoys an average of 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year? I have a feeling Danielle and I put a good dent in that statistic. Read up on a few more fun facts about ice cream.
Right now I'm loving the growing popularity of self-serve frozen yogurt shops. Usually stocked with 10-12 flavors and tons of toppings, it's a frozen treat lover's haven. If you're in NY, check out this list of the nine best frozen yogurt shops. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, why not try making your own frozen yogurt? I'd say it's the perfect summertime activity to do with the kids.