I Scream

The saying goes, write what you know. I know ice cream.

Teaching my daughter Fanny the
right serving size for cone
From my earliest days, I have always been in love with ice cream. Cold and sweet has always been my downfall as my food drug of choice. Whether it was ice cream, slurpie-esque drinks, sherbet, sorbet, yogurt, custard or gelato, as long as I had my trusty spoon, I was never frozen out of my daily fix. My mother was clearly an enabler in my life urging me to have a little ice cream after dinner. And I tried to teach my children's the right serving size too. 

I am not the most brand loyal ice cream consumer as I do like to play the field in my quest for something cold and new.  Sometimes I’ll eat a certain brand to fit my mood and emotional state. Or, I'll have a craving for a certain flavor that forces me into unfamiliar territory in the freezer aisle. 

Let me share the scoop on my ice cream history. 

Mr. Misty from DQ

Meet Mr. Misty : 
As a young boy growing up in New Jersey, I think my earliest frozen treat memories are of The Dairy Queen. After ballgames and little league, Dad would take the team to DQ on Mountain Avenue where the Springfield Library now stands. I would indulge in cherry Mr. Misty or a chocolate dipped vanilla cone. There was nothing like a hot summer night and cool sweet treat from the Dairy Queen. I fondly recall a summer brain freeze and sugar high that could last through Labor Day. I can feel the stickiness of 
DQ Delight: Vanilla or chocolate cones?
the cone melting all over my hands and face as I tried to stay two licks ahead of the impending meltdown.

Dad treating Jayne's Motor Freight Little League Baseball team to DQ

My brother Mitchell Slater enjoys a brain freeze with his Mr. Misty and Astro's shirt circa 1966
Grinning for Gruning’s:
I grew up eating Gruning’s Ice Cream in North Jersey. It was the standard by which I will always judge frozen treats. Memories of lemon or coffee ice cream give me the chills just thinking about it. And don't get me started on their hot fudge sauce. Dusty Roads (ice cream with malt powder toppings) were another hit. I think I celebrated many happy occasions with my folks at Gruning’s located at the Springfield/Short Hills border on Morris Avenue as well as the one in South Orange. 

Gruning's Ice Cream Parlor in New Jersey

The Gruning's on Morris Avenue on the
Springfield/Short Hills border
This jar is more valuable than gold.
Gruning's Hot Fudge Sauce
You’ve got a Friend at Friendly’s:
The Friendly Fribble
As a camper, there was no bigger treat at Camp Winadu in the Berkshires than going to Friendly’s or having a counselor bring home a Fribble for you to drink. Originally called an Awful Awful, the Fribble was a milk shake par excellence. We would pay a hefty mark up just to get awakened late at night by one of these sweet dreams. On field trips, the bus would always stop on the way back to camp and I can still see the creamy vanilla ice cream cones. In hindsight, the ice cream was probably just okay- but the emotional memory was delightful.

Awfully big, Awfully good
The Awful Awful

Bassett’s Ice Cream: 
Philadelphia Ice Cream Royalty- Bassett's
When I was a student at The University of Pennsylvania, I got introduced to a local favorite called Basset’s Ice Cream. It was a family run business and they had a remarkable custardy-creamy ice cream that they sold at Reading Terminal and eventually in pints at grocery stores. Many late nights at the Penn library were followed by a trip to the Acme Supermarket to get a pint (or two) of one of their rich treasures.

Haagen Dazs cone
Hello Haagen Dazs: 
In the late 70’s, I first tasted Haagen Dazs as we sold our brownies to some of their shops. I couldn’t resist sampling this foreign sounding  temptation. Their coffee ice cream became my new “go to ice cream” and perhaps was responsible for my need to move up in size when I bought new pants. Their ice cream was creamy and intensely flavorful and touched a place in my soul that filled me with a degree of icy wonder. Their coffee ice cream is still my favorite and they get the blend of dark roasted coffee and sweetness just right. I got to meet the founders of Haagen Dazs when Ra El and I were guests on The Phil Donahue Show. Rose and Reuben Matteus were larger than life figures in the world of ice cream and literally invented a new category defined as Super Premium Ice Cream.  What an honor for an addict to meet his pusher.

Ben, Jerry and Jeff 

Ben & Jerry's Brownie Ice Cream
In the early 80’s, I acquired two new friends, Ben & Jerry. As luck would have it, I also got to meet them as we did business together making a Rachel’s Brownies Ice Cream.  Their ice cream represented the entrepreneur in me. I would buy their pints when I wanted to be inspired.  Their innovation was in adding enormous chunks of mix-ins and brilliantly named products descriptors (Cherry Garcia, Chubby Hubby, etc). Soon Ben & Jerry scoop shops popped up all over the place and I would have to go and taste our brownie ice cream in those stores. Okay, one more notch on my belt.

Goodberry Custard from North Carolina
Greetings Goodberry’s:  
I briefly dabbled with frozen custard when we moved to Raleigh. This local chain of rich custardy ice cream was infamous for their concretes which were thick ice cream sundaes that they would turn upside down as they handed them to you. They produced interesting daily flavors including some special fruit-based concoctions like peach and blackberry. 

Italian and Talented: 
Talenti Gelato
Sea Salt Caramel
This is the before picture
Talenti Gelato is my new BFF. I stumbled upon it one day while surfing the freezer case. Like my wife will spend hours in the cracker aisle looking for the perfect gluten free treat, I can often be found in front of the ice cream case in search of new frozen flavors. I have always had a connection to Italy. I love Puccini, the Piedmont and pasta.  This new sweetheart has entered my life although I  have only tried two flavors so far: Sea Salt Caramel and Pistachio. Knowing that there are more to discover leaves me in a hot sweat.

This is the after picture
Talenti, this new gelato offering  has taken my addiction to a new level. Technically speaking, Gelato is the word Italians use for ice cream. It is a sweet treat that tends to be lighter than ice cream having a lower butterfat content. The plural is gelati. (Note to self: Gelati would make a great name for a cat someday). Sea Salt Caramel and their Pistachio are masterpieces that deserve special recognition. I knew this was a special treat when my wife started eating it too and she almost never eats ice cream. Avocados are to her as ice cream is to me. (Hmmm. Marketing idea: Why doesn't anyone make a vegetable flavored ice cream? Avocado Ambrosia or Spinach Sundae?) 

So now that I am scraping the bottom of the pint container, I urge you to explore the ice cream section of your local grocery store and investigate a cold case

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