Yesterday, the third Sunday in July, was National Ice Cream Day in the United States. I am particular about my ice cream. I think it's because I worked at Baskin-Robbins for four summers in my teens. They had 31 flavours of top quality ice cream. The ice cream giant was ahead of its time: all employees had to take a Tuberculosis test; there was no smoking on the premises; hands had to be washed between serving each customer; the tubs had to be scraped down; our scoops had to be weighed periodically (originally 2.5 ounces, later 4 ounces); counters had to be wiped off regularly; we could not touch the cones, but had to wrap them in tissue first; we could not touch the bananas when we made banana splits. The list goes on.
So when I go in to an ice cream shop, I expect to see the same rules. I am shocked when I see tubs that have not been scraped down. I am disappointed when the server touches the cone directly. I am disgusted when I see ice cream that is melting and mushy. Or when I see flavours that have been dropped into other tubs. The ice cream has to be a certain consistency -- not too soft and not too hard. When I get served, I always have the urge to walk through the gate to the other side of the counter and serve myself.
Ice cream is the only food that I can eat faster than my husband. While I like flavours like mint chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate and moose tracks, Rob likes butter pecan, the flavour that all of the seniors would order at Baskin-Robbins. I remember the time that my Grandma and Grandad visited us at our trailer in Grand Bend. My brother and my Grandad went to an ice cream shop near the beach for cones. The server asked Grandad what flavour he would like and he said vanilla. Growing up on the farm, vanilla was the only flavour that they knew how to make. Kids like fun flavours like Bubble Gum. Some ice cream companies have really gone crazy and made unorthodox flavours like Foie Gras & Caviar, Candied Bacon and Curry Carrot.
Ice cream, which first appeared in England and America in the early 18th Century, is a timeless, tasty treat. Happy Ice Cream Day!
Photo courtesy http://savingsscoop.com