Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Good & the Bad: Ice Cream

If you're on Facebook (everyone is but we all secretly wish we weren't), I'm sure you've seen the many 'tests' that float around the newsfeeds. You know the ones, where after a couple questions they'll tell you what your real color is, who you were in a past life, or what Harry Potter you should date. No one takes them seriously and I don't have the time to bother. But then one popped up that claimed to tell you what kind of ice cream you are. Now it's personal.

Ice cream is a large part of my life and I take it very seriously. I grew up on it. I have very particular standards and very set likes and dislikes. From generic brands that surprise to premium to all-organic flavors that trigger waves of ecstasy, I try everything and rate it all. I once made it a goal to have ice cream at least once every day for an entire summer. Not when I was ten, but when I was thirty-five. I succeeded quite easily.

So when some silly internet meme claims it can tell what kind of ice cream I am, I have doubts. But I take the test anyway and it tells me I'm an 'Everything But the Kitchen Sink' ice cream. What? First, that doesn't even exist. Second, that sounds awful. So let me set the record straight.

The Good

My favorite flavor has changed over the years, but these days nothing beats a plain old vanilla. Not just any vanilla, but a real smooth and creamy vanilla bean flavor. Breyers recently changed their vanilla bean to 'natural' vanilla, but it's still my favorite. Alden's Vanilla Bean is right up there, but it tends to cost twice as much. (As much as I love ice cream, I still love not spending a ton of money on it even more).

As a kid, mint chocolate chip was my favorite. I still remember when the new neighbors moved in and first introduced me to the flavor. My whole life changed that summer day. Dreyers was the standard - as a kid I didn't have as discriminating a palate. These days, the best way to recreate that sensation is a Coldstone's Mint Ice Cream loaded with white chocolate chips - can you say sugar overload?

Recently we've been making our own ice cream at home, using all natural and organic ingredients, including eggs from our chickens. The flavors have been outstanding (Newman-O's Mint Cookie was a genius decision), but it's been hard to get the consistency perfect. It takes just the right temperature during the mixing, and then the freezer has a tendency to be a little too cold because it's a little too cold (with more than ice cream - lots of frozen veggies, I swear).

One of the flavors we copied was mushroom ice cream. Before you freak out in disgust, you have to try it first. Candy Cap mushrooms smell (and taste) exactly like fine maple syrup. Our local ice cream shop, Cowlicks, makes a version that is as sweet as anything and pure heaven for maple lovers. It's not my favorite flavor, and ours came out not quite as sweet, but the fact that we picked the mushrooms ourselves and made a good ice cream out of them felt very satisfying.

The Bad

Contrary to my test results, one of the things I really don't like in ice cream is a lot of different things all thrown together. I don't like fruit in my ice cream. I don't like nuts. I don't like to mix in contrasting flavors (chocolate and rum raisin - eww!). I don't like ice creams where the additives overwhelm the cream.

But there aren't really any bad ice creams, just flavors better suited to a different taster (like books for different readers).

How about you? What's your favorite ice cream? Or have you had any bad ice cream experiences?


  1. Have you ever tried Rainbow Sherbet? With rainbow sprinkles? IT IS AMAZING.

    1. I DO love rainbow sherbet! But it's not ice cream :-). This post was strictly on ice cream. Maybe I'll have to do another post on other delicious frozen treats, like sherbet, sorbet's, frozen yogurt, gelato ...