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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

It’s National Ice Cream day! I feel like that HAS to be the topic for today even if I’m not getting ice cream, which seems like a travesty.

The good news is that my desire to stay home and not drive around here outweighs my desire to get ice cream because thinking about ice cream has fewer calories. Not zero, mind you. Thinking about ice cream does, in fact, have calories because merely the fantasy of eating it has been known to plump up my hips. True.

But that won’t stop me from worshipping it!

Some shaved ice cream swirls from a food truck that are more about the gimmick than the ice cream, but sometimes you have to play with your food.

Every third Sunday in July is National Ice Cream day which seems like a travesty itself since every Sunday should be ice cream day.

I mean it’s right in the same… Sunday… sundae….

Coincidence? I think not.

My brother Kevin wrote about it a few days ago and I agree with him on this point: ice cream must be eaten in great quantities. People who get a small cone or “I’ll just have one scoop in a cup” really don’t get the point of ice cream. You need to eat it until your brain freezes and your tongue is numb.

Ice cream needs stuff in it. I’m a proponent of all the things going into ice cream. Chocolate chips. Cookie dough. Nuts. Peanut butter swirls. Fudge swirls. Some combination of any or all of the above.

I’ll tell you one thing they do well around here, and it’s ice cream. Being in farm country has its perks, not least of all fresh ingredients to make ice cream. There are some spectacular flavors.

A place opened in town a few months ago where a Baskin Robbins used to be. Baskin Robbins is fine. But it’s still mass produced generic ice cream. Good mass produced generic ice cream, but if you want salted cashew caramel or sweet corn and blackberry jam or key lime ice cream sandwich, then…

You need the homemade from the farm kind.

The place in town, they make fresh waffle cones right on the waffle iron right on the counter.

Fresh waffle cone, and judging by the colors I’m guessing chocolate chip mint and salted caramel cashew.

There is zero chance of me not getting a waffle cone.

You have the option of getting one, two, or three scoops of ice cream.

There is zero chance of me not getting three scoops.

Toppings optional.

The thing about toppings is it depends on what kind of ice cream you’re getting. If you’re getting roasted peach cobbler, for example, you want to bask in all that peach glory, not drench it in whipped cream or, god forbid, chocolate sauce.

If you’re getting chocolate peanut butter ice cream, then naturally you want it covered in chocolate and peanut butter sauce.

And if you’re getting soft serve, you need it in a very tall cone, covered in sprinkles that drip in little rivers that you have to catch with your tongue before they hit the sidewalk.

Some sushi ice cream we had in New Orleans. I’m not kidding, it was amazing.

Ralph is pretty basic when it comes to ice cream. He likes a banana split. You’d be surprised how hard it is to come by a banana split. Believe me, we’ve tried. Every restaurant, every ice cream shop. Nobody makes them.

The only place we’ve been able to get a banana split around here is at the Cork & Cow, and not because they have it on the menu but because we are there often enough that when Ralph says he wants a banana split, they go into the neighboring restaurant to borrow a few things then come back and combine it with a few things of their own to come up with a passable banana split.

Beyond that, he’s a chocolate-vanilla-strawberry kind of guy.

Unless we’re at the place they just opened in town. Then it’s like Charlie in the chocolate factory and he has to ask what’s this and what’s in that and what about the other one and before you know it, he has three scoops, too.

He likes his in a cup though. No waffle cone. Crazy person.

Another local place that does a waffle cone on top. Coconut chocolate, also fab.

I listened to a podcast recently about the original ice cream truck song, the one you probably know if you’ve ever heard the faint chime of deliciousness promised, carried on a breeze from four blocks over. It was based on the old British tune Turkey in the Straw, which is cheerful and happy and very familiar. Except in 1916 it was released in the United States by Columbia Graphophone Company, which is now Columbia Records, with a new set of lyrics that are wholly racist.

And I don’t mean racist in that omg you’re a bunch of woke liberals seeing racism everywhere way, I mean actually, awfully, holy cow racist. Trust me, I looked it up.

It has a pretty interesting history, going from a harmless toe-tapper to a song called Zip Coon to a popular accompaniment in minstrel shows and ice cream parlors and eventually to the ice cream truck jingle.

For some people, like me, the tune represents summers running down the street with a handful of dollar bills. For other people not so much.

Eventually, recently, it was pulled from trucks and replaced by other jingles with less inflammatory histories, which might, again, sound like a bunch of woke liberal crazy talk. But the guy who licenses the music to pretty much every ice cream truck in existence made this point: ice cream trucks should be synonymous with happiness. And if that old jingle made even one child feel bad, that was too many.

Honestly, I think that’s a pretty good way to look at life.

Who says you can’t have ice cream for breakfast?

I don’t do many things in life with temperance, and eating ice cream is no exception. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s has never lasted for more than one sitting. My three-scoops-in-a-waffle-cone get eaten every time. Ralph will sometimes eat a bit of his and put the rest away, which is fine with me because the next day when he has ice cream and I don’t, we have to go out and buy me more.

So I’m all for celebrating ice cream on its official day, but I’m really about celebrating it any day at all, especially when corn and blackberry is in season. Especially when peppermint and chocolate is in season. Especially when pumpkin and pecan is in season. Especially when there is any chance of ice cream at all or anyone says hey, you feel like getting some ice cream? The answer is always…. duh.

Photo: I have no idea what that is except my photo album says it was in Scottsdale where everything is big. Looks like a brownie sundae. I’m sure it was spectacular.