Ice cream snob, on a waffle cone, please

He used to be quite happy with Baskin Robbins, when I first met him. Now my husband is an ice cream snob.
It never occurred to me to wonder about this, until the other day, when I suggested going for an ice cream somewhere nearby, and Jay demurred, saying the only ice cream worth having was the one either 11 or 20 miles away. When did this fussiness begin? I’m thinking back to when I first arrived in America. It became very clear to me almost immediately that American cuisine had introduced three great things to the world – hamburgers, really interesting salads, and ice cream. Oh, we had ice cream in England, too, but it came wrapped in individual portions, either as vanilla ice cream bars (covered with chocolate) or in small paper cups, with a little wooden spade to eat it with.
So when I arrived in the US and was taken by my husband to a Baskin Robbins (32 flavors) I was astonished and delighted. I made it a goal to try all the flavors which might be worth eating. Mint chocolate chip? How sophisticated. Nutty coconut? An inspired recipe. Butter pecan? It contained those nuts I’d only heard about back in England. And then Jamoca, my true love.  My husband, on the other hand, stuck to the only flavor he really liked – Pralines ‘n’ Cream. In the large size.
Soon however, the siren song of Haagen Dazs was heard throughout the land. Their ice cream was better, richer and more imaginative, said Jay. He was never going back to Baskin Robbins.  Vanilla Swiss Almond, Amaretto Almond Crunch and Rum Raisin were fine for me. But my husband found his true love and stuck to it. At first it was Macadamia Nut ice cream, and then they introduced Macadamia Brittle, the King of ice creams, according to Jay. There was one drawback. If we arrived at a Haagen Dazs shop or a supermarket where they didn’t stock one of those macadamia flavors, language ensued. And it was becoming clear, as the years went by, that macadamia nut ice creams were becoming harder to find – something to do with the macadamia crop in Hawaii becoming too expensive. But Jay was not despondent for too long.
We bought a little House in New Hampshire, and the local ice cream there, was, of course, Ben & Jerry’s. I approved of this ice cream, made by a couple of hippies who were obviously stoned when they came up with flavors like Cherry Garcia, Wavy Gravy and Phish Food. Jay was happy again – even when they retired one flavor, there was always another coming along the conveyor belt. So Southern Pecan Pie was followed by Rainforest Crunch and then Karamel Sutra. For me it was always Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, even though they had to call it Coffee Toffee Crunch for a while (for legal reasons, I think).
Then tragedy struck. The little ice cream parlor in our town stopped serving Ben & Jerry’s. They still sold ice cream, but it just didn’t have the oomph that Jay needed. Until last summer. Suddenly, he discovered the Walpole Creamery and their Caramel Cashew Chip. We were driving along in the middle of farm country after picking blueberries nearby, and suddenly Jay swerved off the road. He’d seen a sign, he said. I thought maybe he’d had some sort of epiphany, but the sign turned out to be a modest cutout of an ice cream cone. “We deserve a reward for picking all those blueberries,” he said. And he’s been going back ever since. (The blueberries have long since stopped being an excuse.)
“This is, hands down, the best ice cream ever,” he announced recently, with the air of a man who would never stoop so low as Ben & Jerry’s again. I sometimes wonder, rather uncharitably, whether the fact that their small cone appears to contain  7 scoops of ice cream has something to do with Jay’s devotion…
Being a bit older now and, he assures me, much wiser, Jay now has a backup plan in the event that the Walpole creamery ice cream is not available. Only 20 miles away, he knows a little spot called the Scoop, where he swears the ice cream is the best ever.
I, on the other hand, don’t worry about finding the perfect ice cream for myself. Jay may mock, but dear old Haagen Dazs has finally produced a coffee ice cream which comes in small paper cups, with a little plastic spoon to eat it with. That’s what I love about ice cream – some things never change.

Recent Comments

  • notquiteold
    September 8, 2011 - 9:10 am · Reply

    Love this! I love good ice cream, but I am willing to eat crap in a pinch. My husband and I love Cold Stone Creamery, but they just closed down in our town. We will be off in search of new ice cream delights.

    • gabicoatsworth
      September 9, 2011 - 9:26 am · Reply

      Frozen yogurt? What’s that? As for Pinkberry – Jay might just try the salted Caramel Shake: 490 calories, 80 grams of fat and 81 grams of sugar per serving…what’s not to love?

  • Ina B. Chadwick
    September 8, 2011 - 10:44 am · Reply

    What about that to die for ice cream from Oxford CT. I am still reeling, but still can’t eat dairy.
    The new rocky road mocha almond milk ice cream has just as many calories, tastes 3/4s as good but I’m jealous of all of you.

  • Tricia Tierney
    September 10, 2011 - 5:53 am · Reply

    ‘Wooden spade’ – a lovely image. But I actually can’t stand eating with wood utensils – sets my teeth right on edge. On the rare times I eat ice cream on a stick, there is always a padding of it left because I can’t bear to lick the wood. ugh.

  • Geraldine Aldridge
    September 18, 2011 - 3:54 am · Reply

    Good to know you share my fondness for coffee icecream, Gabi. Here in Kent in the UK we have a lovely local icecream maker called Solleys but we only see him rarely at special events where he sets up his stall. I try not to eat icecream, having raised cholesterol, and we enjoy a dairy free ‘icecream’ which is better than most conventional ones. I have two icecream makers for those moments when we find ourselves with a good fresh fruit puree and some cream. Those are the very best. Have you not considered making your own? I’m going to try cooking apple and cinnamon next. I may even make cinnamon fudge to swirl in a few fudge chips. Oo, I might go and make some now…….

  • jessicamjonas
    October 5, 2011 - 8:44 am · Reply

    Ooh, I can be a bit of a snob myself. Not quite about ice cream (yet), but whenever I learn how to bake something, I almost always prefer the from-scratch version to whatever the stores come up with. Fresh-baked scones made with how much sugar I prefer are so much better than Starbucks…
    At any rate, I’ve added an ice cream maker to the wedding registry, and have a sinking feeling that suddenly store-brand “hand-churned” will not be good enough once I get the hang of the crank. In the meantime, if you and your husband ever come to Annapolis, I can show you where to get the best Key Lime Pie ice cream!

    • Gabi Coatsworth
      October 5, 2011 - 12:17 pm · Reply

      Key Lime Pie, eh? I think I tired that once in Key West, but I had no idea that it had travelled so far up the coast! As I recall, it was delicious. Good luck with your wedding. Remember, ice cream can cure many marital tough spots…

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