I watched a segment on the evening news about “stretchy” ice cream being made in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Based on an ancient Middle Eastern ice cream, the dense, creamy taffy-like texture is the result of adding ground orchid root and mastic (a tree resin) to the ingredients.
It’s fun to try new ice cream flavors and trends. The immensely pleasurable experience of enjoying a cold spoonful of ice cream on a hot summer day never gets old. My summertime sweet treat of choice is ice cream. Reflecting back, I can remember the different stages of my life according to my ice cream preferences over the years.
As a young child, the sound of the jingling bells on the Good Humor truck signified long summer days playing outside. The Good Humor man, dressed in his white uniform and cap, stepped out of his truck to hand out wonderful cold treats from the little door on the side. My favorites were the chocolate éclair or toasted almond on a stick. In our neighborhood, kids had a choice to purchase frozen treats from competitors driving around in the Bungalow Bar or Mr. Softie trucks. My brother and I always waited for the Good Humor man. The Mr. Softie truck arrived later in the evening blaring that annoying tune and the word on the street was not to buy anything from the Bungalow Bar guy (“Bungalow Bar, tastes like tar, the more you eat it, the sicker you are.”)
On family road trips south to Florida or north to Nova Scotia, I remember stopping for ice cream at the orange-roofed Howard Johnson’s. That long list of ice cream flavors dazzled with possibilities. Most of the time, I ordered a chocolate ice cream cone. But sometimes, I broke out of my comfort zone and ordered mint chocolate chip.
As a teenager, I fondly recall driving out to Long Island to an indoor ice skating rink with my friend, Charles, on summer evenings. We chatted while skating around and around in that cool ice rink. Afterward, we drove to Swensen’s to sit at a table and enjoy a delicious ice cream sundae in the air-conditioned ice cream parlor.
When I moved into Manhattan, one of my weekly treats on a summer Friday was to buy a Chipwich on my walk home after work. The chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two large chocolate chip cookies hit the spot. On sweltering summer evenings, I escaped my top floor apartment to walk over to Sedutto on Second Avenue. This super premium ice cream chain made my favorite flavor, chocolate Oreo ice cream. After the first spoonful, the air temperature seemed a little less oppressive. By the time I walked back home, my ice cream cup almost empty, the apartment heat seemed a little more tolerable.
In the 1990s, I consumed pints of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. The ice cream was tasty and I liked the colorful cow logo on the containers. On our carpool drives back from the summer share house in Great Barrington, Mass., we used to stop for ice cream at the Farm House on Route 22 in Pawling on Sunday evenings.
Over the past few years, I pretend that I have to earn my summertime ice cream indulgences. Those daily 2-mile walks with my neighbor certainly qualify. A leisurely hike on a summer afternoon at the beautiful Croton Gorge Park waterfall also merits a soft serve chocolate ice cream cone at King Kone. After reading this column, feel free to treat yourself to a cup or cone or bowl of ice cream deliciousness. You deserve it!
Kim Kovach believes that every day should include reading, writing and chocolate. Please visit her website at kimkovachwrites.com.