Since the blast of global warming disguising itself as extremely frigid temperatures and freezing rain blanketed the area last week I suddenly felt the urge to eat ice cream. They say ice cream is a comfort food and based upon the obesity rates there sure seems to be a lot of comfortable people out there.
Since I needed comfort to cope with the Canadian winter I figured the old motto to `fight fire with fire’ was appropriate. Therefore, I marched out and bought some chocolate ice cream. As I savoured the melting delight I decided to research the coolest of the cool desserts.
Did you know ice cream was first introduced to the masses for public consumption circa 1660 in France? That would clearly explain French Vanilla. Speaking of which, vanilla ice cream has always been a mystery to this scribe. Every summer I know of people who drive vast distances in the stifling heat to their favourite ice cream parlour with a car full of screaming kids only to order a vanilla ice cream cone! What is wrong with these people? If I’m burning fuel at $1.25 per litre with a bunch of sweaty human beings over a great many miles I would order the most exotic flavour on the menu! Vanilla? Yuck! To me it is akin to flying all the way to Las Vegas just to play Bingo. Yet according to experts vanilla is the most popular flavour of ice cream in the world.
Here is some useless information to keep you awake. On average, how many licks does it take to eat a one-scoop ice cream cone? The answer is fifty. I bet it’s more for men as they watch their wife enjoy a cone, hence the van full of screaming kids in the future. Perhaps that is the attraction for mom and dad to drive endless miles for an ice cream cone. It brings back memories of a quieter and more financially secure time.
Apparently, the ice cream cone was invented at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. Legend has it a man selling ice cream ran out of bowls and the vendor beside him was selling waffles. The two men put their brains together and voila, the ice cream cone was born. Moments later I’m sure the first case of `brain freeze’ occurred. I did a little research and discovered that brain freeze happens because the ice cream hits the roof of the mouth and causes the vessels in the head to expand creating that infamous flash of pain. Expanding vessels, uh? Look out Viagra; I think I have a better solution. Incidentally, air is what keeps ice cream soft so I may have to rethink the idea. Take a guess as to what the number one topping for ice cream is. Give up? It is chocolate syrup. I just don’t understand the logic. If you order a vanilla ice cream cone and have the pimple-faced kid pour chocolate syrup over top why the hell didn’t you just order a chocolate ice cream cone in the first place? Then you could add crushed nuts and sprinkles and various other sugar-coated goodies. But no, people must have vanilla and chocolate syrup.
Actually, I understand the chemistry. Vanilla is bland, boring and routine which pretty much describes most of our lives so we throw the dice and lather it with chocolate syrup to keep the flicker of hope burning that someday our ship will come in. Bland, boring and routine you say? Ten bucks says every politician on the face of the earth absolutely loves vanilla ice cream. I also discovered the largest consumers of ice cream are Americans to the tune of $21 billion a year. Now that is Americana- taking the family out for a inane vanilla ice cream cone but instead of spicing things up with chocolate syrup they stop off at the gun show. Ice cream and guns is as American as Yanks fighting in countries that only seem to have oil. To prove America loves its ice cream more than anybody else on this vanilla-crazed globe, a company in Memphis, Tennessee has invented an ice cream that tastes like bourbon. Finally, an ice cream that speaks to me! I can just see all the barflies stumbling down the street chasing the ice cream truck after last call. Talk about one for the road. If they ever make a tequilaflavoured ice cream I will be in serious trouble. Can you imagine the RIDE program? “How many cones have you had tonight, sir?” “None,” I reply sheepishly. “Let me help you out of the vehicle, sir… your stomach is over the seatbelt.” Lastly, guess what day is the most popular day of the week to buy ice cream? It is Sundae. Some jokes just write themselves.
Written by: Ben Guyatt