The world has grown in so many ways and ice cream has evolved along with it. I was thinking about all the wonderful ice cream flavors there are to choose from today and it’s often hard to decide. I sometimes feel the quiet impatience underneath the pleasant demeanor of the young ice cream server. There are often about twelve people waiting in line with children about to start screaming “I want ICE CREAM!” I have been a server and where food is concerned the pressure to move the line along is very real.
I am thinking back to a time when strawberry was a radical change from the predictable vanilla and chocolate. Then someone dropped chocolate chips into the vanilla flavor and a new generation of ice cream combinations was born. It seemed so simple and yet extraordinary. I attribute the change to ice cream lovers that wanted to take their favorite dessert to the next level.
Ice cream was often made quite simply, but over time extreme measures were invented to make something colossal that friends would love and hate you for. Maybe not hate but certainly blamed as belt sizes went up a notch. There is a nice read on ice cream at: TheSpruceEats.com
As fat and calories became an issue, frozen yogurt a.k.a. frogurt came on the scene and put many calorie conscious minds at ease. Frogurt commonly uses milk, sometimes combined with other non-dairy products in place of cream with alternative sweeteners. It commonly contains active bacteria cultures (yogurt). Low-fat ice cream became another alternative to the dietary dilemma, reducing fat by replacing cream with milk.
I was a child of Rocky Road. I’ve eaten so much of it I can no longer sustain its nutty marshmallowy goodness and deep chocolate flavor. It’s simply become overwhelmingly familiar. I’ve moved on to more adult flavors like Chocolate Peanut butter, Pecan Praline, and Coffee. If I do find myself with the painstaking task of finishing off a pint of Rocky Road, I take it in stride one spoon at a time and manage to enjoy it anyway (a little scary).
When I was living in Brooklyn, New York I frequented an ice cream shop called Jahn’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. You didn’t have to tell the server to add whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. It was a given. There was no skimming on the quintessential ingredients that make an unforgettable ice cream sundae.
Though I love ice cream today with all its wonderful variations, I think we may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. At times when I walk in to an ice cream shop I feel like I am buying toothpaste. There are so many toppings to choose from I find myself becoming overwhelmed. So I stick with sprinkles and nuts, I stay away from candy toppings, and only go for caramel or hot fudge.
The best shops are those that make their own. Homemade ice cream shops are hard to find though. I have found one that recently opened called Jax Homemade Ice Cream in Fort Lauderdale and I enjoy it immensely. It costs more, but it is worth it for its freshness and additive-free taste. Then there is the Gelato (Italian style ice cream) Shoppe in downtown Fort Lauderdale. It really is delicious, but the portions are very small and expensive. Gelato is less fattening than ice cream and kept at a warmer temperature which gives it a very smooth and creamy taste.
Today I tasted Nutty Coconut. I am not the biggest fan of the coconut/walnut combination, but I have a dedication to ice cream which enables me to find enjoyment in any flavor.
So, when the weather in your area permits, go have a cone or frogurt at sunset. There is something enchanting about ice cream at the end of a busy day that creates a sense of being in the moment. Taking time out for simple pleasures can often result in fond memories.