Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Departing on a Sweet Note: Ice Creamy Memories



I'll have two scoops of "tuna-taco-baked potato" please.
image credit


We will soon be on our way to the land of my birth - Mexico! Mexico! Mexico! - for Roman's first visit to the American continent and our first back there since before we even got married! As I probably (well, definitely) won't be blogging while away, I thought I'd write an entry about a food dear to my heart that will leave things on a very sweet note until my return: ice cream.

There are many things I could write about with regards to ice cream. I've had a love affair with the food since very early on - eating lime sorbet or cheese ice cream in Mexico as just a little kid. Matt is flat-out obsessed with it and eats it every chance he gets, and it was the very first food Roman ever tried just a couple of weeks ago. But the story that won out in the end for me has little to do with my own childhood. I'll get to that in a minute, but in the meantime here are the top 5 other ice cream memories I kinda wanted to share but will do so only in condensed form.

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Top 5 Other Ice Cream Stories I Wanted to Tell
(and apparently still am)


5. Ode to Green Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Ever since I can remember, my favorite ice cream flavor has been Mint Chocolate Chip. I love mint. I love chocolate chips. And I LOVE all things green.

Sometime in my 24th year, while living in NYC, I decided it was a good idea to try out this all-natural super posh mint chocolate chip ice cream. Along with the whole "natural" shtick came the fact that there were no artificial colorings, which meant the ice cream was cream-colored.

I don't care what anybody says - it's not mint chocolate chip if it's not green.


4. It's Never a Good Time for Thyme Ice Cream
In this life I believe it is true that we have all (and by "we" I mean "me") had our moments of valiantly well-meaning-but-shockingly-bad experimentation in the name of broadening our culinary horizens.

I once had olive oil ice cream at the super-hyped-up (and kinda not worth it) Sea Grill in New York, and truly felt that at that moment, no hyper modern culinary agenda or avant-garde reputation could excuse or justify what was going on in my mouth. Despite my experience with non-ice-cream-worthy ingredients, I went ahead and made Thyme Ice Cream two years ago.

Matt looked so happy when I told him I'd made ice cream. What followed - the extreme depressed and ego-bashing look he gave me when I told him what kind it was - was enough to shame me into "keeping it simple, stupid."


3. Matt and The Croatian Pinocchio
One of the more interesting things my husband has ever done was worked as the first mate on someone's personal sail boat and sailed through the Italian Riviera and all over the Dalmatian Coast. Eating his way through every imaginable variation of the non-imaginative Croatian "mixed grill and french fries," Matt often looked forward to the dessert more than the meal. He got an ice cream cone at every port. (Yes, you could kind of call him a promiscuous ice cream eater.)

One warm night in Stari Grad, Matt and his boss ventured to the local - empty - gelato joint, where the ice cream man posed a seemingly innocent question: Do you want a pinocchio (and then he winked)?

He then proceeded to make Matt what can only be described as a web of ice cream cones. When finished, the Pinocchio looked like a giant sculptural fan of cones and balls - nearly 24 cones and 30 ice cream balls later, Matt walked out to a cheering crowd, ice cream dribbling down his hand and arm, eating as fast as he could. Sadly, nobody but the anonymous other tourists got a picture of that moment.


2. Häagen-Dazs: The Tasty Deception
While in Brussels recently, Matt and I spotted a Häagen-Dazs. Having always wondered where the delectably pure ice cream of the posh originated I said "Hey! I bet it's Belgian. Let's go get some."
I was met by a skeptical look from the husb, who retored with: "There's no way it's Belgian. That is not Dutch." Nevertheless, I was further egged on in my rationale regarding HD being Belgian because, as I gently reminded Matt, HD actually makes a sinfully delicious flavor called "Belgian Chocolate" which is only sold in Europe (As a sidenote, if you haven't had it, you should really strive for that experience).

But before I could go grab some vanilla deliciousness, Matt whipped out the Blackberry to settle the HD debate once and for all. He looked up the Wikepedia article on Häagen-Dazs, and crazy disillusionment ensued. And I quote:

"Contrary to appearances, the name does not derive from any of the North Germanic languages; it is simply two made-up words meant to look Scandinavian to American eyes (in fact, the digraphs "äa" and "zs" are not a part of any native words in any of the Scandinavian languages). This is known in the marketing industry as foreign branding. Mattus included an outline map of Scandinavia on early labels, as well as the names of Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm, to reinforce the Scandinavian theme. A name was created by reversing the name of Duncan HinesHuncan-Dines (""), an original potential marketer of the product. When that deal didn't materialize the name was, misguidedly, manipulated to sound Scandinavian (it actually sounds Austro-Hungarian)."

Screw you Häagen-Dazs for manipulating me into believing you were an aesthetically genius, exotic creation of the gentle Scandinavian wilderness and/or the quaintness of a Belgian creamery. You have broken my vanilla-loving heart! Well, not really, because I'll still continue to pay a super-premium price for your ice cream cause it's that damn good. :D

video
Not exactly sure why "the joke's on them" but it kinda is.


1. Roman's First Food: Pineapple Vanilla Ice Cream Popsicle
Please don't lecture me on how newborns aren't supposed to eat ice cream - I know. One day this July I was feasting on a delicious pineapple popsicle - you know, the kind with ice cream in the middle. It was at this fateful moment that Roman decided to show us he was "ready" for solids by launching himself head-first into my popsicle and maniacally trying to grab it with his open mouth.

How could I possibly say no to the desperate plea of a fellow foody? :)


Honorable Mention: Ice Cream With Balls

I laughed in her face when my friend Sandra asked me a couple of years ago if I had an Ice Cream Ball when I told her I'd just made fudgecicle ice cream for Matt.

Little did I know, there is actually such a thing as a ball you "throw around the room" to make the ice cream. In fact I now know this very well, because she sent me a nice big green one for my birthday that very year. It has come in handy while here in London, since our super-nice cuisinart is in storage back in the states. Not to mention, it's a very appealing "ice breaker" at parties. :)


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Bleezer's Ice Cream
today's "official" story

Roman has taken to waking up at 5:30am and not going back to sleep. After about a half hour of his incessant noise-making and leg flailing, and in order to keep my sanity, I tend to guilt Matt into waking up and taking him downstairs to play. Sometimes he puts him in his jungle play mat. Sometimes he reads him The Gruffalo. Sometimes he taunts Roman by eating cereal in front of him.

Today, though, Matt went out on a limb. Rather than singing "I Could Walk 500 Miles" or some random and rather annoying Dave Matthews song, he decided to take a step back into his own child's mind's eye (does that make sense?!) with a crazy little poem he read in third grade.

After getting more giggles and positive eyebrow raises from Roman than he'd ever hoped, he decided it was a good idea to wake me up by reading it to me as well. Sadly, I was in a sleepy stupor and forgot all about it until suddenly at noon today while walking down the street I blurted out: Tuna Taco Baked Potato Ice Cream?! What the hell?!

In the name of all that is frozen, creamy and tasty - here is the zaniest ice cream poem you'll ever read. I've highlighted the ones that I think sound decent. :) Which would you dare to try?

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Bleezer's Ice Cream

by Jack Prelutsky

I am Ebenezer Bleezer,
I run BLEEZER'S ICE CREAM STORE,
there are flavors in my freezer
you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations
too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor,
try the flavors on my list:


COCOA MOCHA MACARONI
TAPIOCA SMOKED BALONEY
CHECKERBERRY CHEDDAR CHEW
CHICKEN CHERRY HONEYDEW
TUTTI-FRUTTI STEWED TOMATO
TUNA TACO BAKED POTATO
LOBSTER LITCHI LIMA BEAN

MOZZARELLA MANGOSTEEN

ALMOND HAM MERINGUE SALAMI
YAM ANCHOVY PRUNE PASTRAMI

SASSAFRAS SOUVLAKI HASH
SUKIYAKI SUCCOTASH
BUTTER BRICKLE PEPPER PICKLE
POMEGRANATE PUMPERNICKEL
PEACH PIMENTO PIZZA PLUM
PEANUT PUMPKIN BUBBLEGUM

BROCCOLI BANANA BLUSTER

CHOCOLATE CHOP SUEY CLUSTER
AVOCADO BRUSSELS SPROUT
PERIWINKLE SAUERKRAUT
COTTON CANDY CARROT CUSTARD
CAULIFLOWER COLA MUSTARD
ONION DUMPLING DOUBLE DIP
TURNIP TRUFFLE TRIPLE FLIP
GARLIC GUMBO GRAVY GUAVA
LENTIL LEMON LIVER LAVA

ORANGE OLIVE BAGEL BEET

WATERMELON WAFFLE WHEAT

I am Ebenezer Bleezer,
I run BLEEZER'S ICE CREAM STORE,
taste a flavor from my freezer,
you will surely ask for more.

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Matt is a "Peach Pimento Pizza Plum" kinda guy.




An ice-cream-eating family self-portrait.
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3 comments:

  1. There's so much to love in this post! 8-D

    Agreed on GREEN mint chocolate chip ice cream - it's the hubs favorite flavor and I made it for his b-day during my July ice cream-apalooza. During this time, I also made ice cream toppings out of cucumbers and pureed golden beets; they tasted better than they sound. I've heard stories about ice cream in Eastern Europe: when Mr. Noodle was in Poland for work, he used to tell the ice cream vendor to pile on the scoops, which were the approximate size of melon balls. "I'll have 50 scoops, please!"

    As for the poem Bleezer's Ice Cream, I'm going to commit it to memory and drive the dog nuts reciting it to him. 8-P

    Oh, I almost forgot - wishing you, Matt and Roman safe travels to Mexico and a wonderful, wonderful time in your ancestral home!! Don't forget to stash a year's supply of tortillas for your return. 8-D

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  2. Being a big ice-cream fan myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this. The part about Haggen Dazs really is shocking!! And I confess that mint chocolate chip has always been my favorite too, and I do prefer it green!!!

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  3. I'm with you and it sounds like most of the Western world that green mint ice cream is about the best there is. I do have to defend olive oil ice cream, or at least the version I had here in SF. It was delicious, and I went in being skeptical. There is a place that does amazing combinations, and my new favorite, and I seem to be incredible fickle is jesus juice, part red wine and part Coca-Cola. Sounds suspicious, but my goodness. If you ever make it to SF, I'll have to take you there. Of course there are plenty of good ice cream options.

    Have a wonderful time in Mexico, and I look forward to hearing how incredibly good everything was as you get to sample again, hopefully to your hearts content.

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