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Posts Tagged ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’

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My homemade coconut cream ice cream—
delirium delivered cold on a spoon.

I’m not the first to extol the virtues of ice cream, but I might the first to write about it as incessantly as I have in the shortest amount of time. In under two years I’ve glorified the cow four times, in posts about my neighbor, a place that makes it all natural and from scratch, another place that’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein pipe dream, and Ice Cream Sunday in NYC—a shameless gorge-fest if there ever was one.

Clearly I’m beyond help at this point, so I’ll just try to update you on how things are going with my little personal obsession.

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Peanut Butter Moose Tracks, the best reason to wait on line at Days, Ocean Grove, NJ.

Best Ice Cream on Earth As Well As Several Other Comparably-Sized Planets

Woodside Farms, Delaware, USA

The difference is their ice cream is made on site, from milk from their own small herd of cows. But okay, wait, it’s even better than that. The cows are Jerseys, which produce milk so velvety thick that you’ll want to throw away your Jergens and slather it on. Three times I’ve taken the trip to Hockessin, Delaware (four hours round trip, mind you) just for a cone of this.* Chocolate Thunder (below) is my usual undoing.

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Favorite New Ice Cream Story

Woman in her 60s: When my kids were small I told them that when the ice cream man rang the bell, it meant he was OUT of ice cream.

Us (laughing): What? Why?

Woman: Well, he always came around just before dinner! I didn’t want them to spoil their appetites! (Pause) I told them the truth…eventually.

I pictured her kids getting on the school bus the day after the ice cream man had come by, taking swings at their hapless friends and yelling, ‘You bastards! You ate all the ice cream again!’

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Artisanal ice cream, New Amsterdam Market, New York, NY. It’s anybody’s guess as to what happened to the middle scoop. No, actually it’s pretty obvious.

Best Reaction To My Homemade Ice Cream

The coconut cream ice cream (very tippy top pic) I made for my sister’s birthday present a couple of years ago was insane. But when I made cinnamon-Bacardi ice cream for some friends, they made the same kind of humming noises that bees would make if let loose in a Tastykake factory. One friend said he wanted to bring his ice cream bowl into the bathroom and lock the door behind him.

*One time I ate two cones in one trip, slurping the last drops out of the cone bottoms like a deranged aardvark.

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LAST CALL! The deadline for recipe submissions for my project is this Thursday, June 27, 2013, midnight, EST. In next week’s post I’ll announce my choices and start cooking. Bring it!

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Finley imagining the possibilities.

I know, the most famous great equalizers are death and taxes, but let’s not be gruesome. It’s still summer, after all. No, I’m talking ice cream.

Ice cream may be the one thing everyone can agree on. Amazing, really, how all demographics love it—babies, old-timers, thirty-somethings. Even those with strict dietary restrictions still eat it, whether they really ought to or not. One 4th of July I witnessed a group of heart transplant patients downing bowls of the highest-fat, homemade stuff, their mates watching, lips pursed, tut-tutting at them. But the spouses didn’t stop them. Maybe it was because they understood that, like it or not, ice cream is something everyone actually needs once in a while. Let’s face it—no eats ice cream because they’re hungry.

So why do we eat it? Why do we crave it, body and soul? I think a combination of factors are in play: it’s cooling (lovely in the summertime); it’s sweet (a rare find in nature); it’s full of fat (again, rare in nature) which makes it feel luxurious and indulgent (and who doesn’t like to feel special?).

Also—and maybe most importantly—since we’ve all eaten it for as long as we can remember, it evokes childhood memories. And they’re usually happy ones. My own include trips to Carvel with my family after dinner most summer nights. To this day, I think of ice cream as a nighttime thing.*

When I was a kid, I went through ice-cream phases in which I got the same thing every time for weeks on end. First it was brown bonnet cones, soft vanilla ice cream quickly enshrouded in chocolate goo, which solidified to a candy shell on contact. Then it was soft vanilla in a cup topped with Bing cherries. During my overweight/painfully self-conscious teen years, it was Carvel’s Thinny-Thin. As unsatisfying as it sounds, but better than nothing. At the Beach Plum, where they made their ice cream on site, I got Straw Cheese (strawberry cheesecake) or blueberry, which had fresh blueberries mixed with vanilla ice cream. Incredible.

Last week my friend Lauren and the cuties above and below joined me for ice cream at Days in Ocean Grove. For years now this has been my favorite place to get ice cream, for the yummy stuff itself and for the entire experience.

Shane and Finley, with post-ice cream happy faces and sticky hands.

Days is also the town favorite, especially after evening shows at the Great Auditorium just across the lawn. The ice cream is high in fat, which you know as well as I do translates to big flavor and wonderful mouth feel. The patrons know it too, as evidenced by the long line of people you see below waiting to get in.**

The atmosphere at Days is calming, nostalgic and cozy, much like the whole town, which feels as though Rodgers and Hammerstein were on the original planning board. Days was established in the late 1800s. It features bentwood chairs and gleaming dark wood tables. The seating area is outdoors, roofed in most areas, and its tall windows are always open to allow the ocean breezes as well as the ice cream to cool you. A antique fountain bubbles in the middle, among the plants. Forgoing harsh neon lights and signs, to this day, Days is happily, entirely illuminated by light bulbs. At night it glows like a giant birthday cake and smells as sweet.

Once the sun goes down, locals and vacationers begin to amble over to stand in line—sun soaked, clad in loose faded t shirts, bikini tops, flip flops, hair freshly rinsed of salt water and slicked down, laughing, and very, very relaxed. Neighbors share adventures of the day with neighbors; newcomers chat with returning patrons about whose kids are starting kindergarten and about the virtues of Coppertone Babies lotion.

Parents of the tiniest children hold them up to the glass counter to see the choices. Teenagers love chocolate chip mint cones and sundaes with piles of whipped cream. Older folks get dishes of their favorites from childhood. The proprietor tells me that on nights of the immensely popular Doo-Wop shows, whose audiences are Baby Boomers, he always puts out classics like rum raisin and pistachio and butter pecan.

If all of this sounds like a page out of 1926, or out of Grimms’ Fairy Tales, it’s not. We’re all lucky that it’s not. And even better: we know we’re lucky.

A vintage sign and scoop.

I shot the below scene last Saturday night at around 10:30. Click on it to enlarge and see how many ages are represented.

There’s something comforting about eating a timeless treat at a venue that’s older than all of us.

For the past few years I’ve been partial to ice cream with a lot of stuff in it. Texture, lumps and bumps. My current favorite, two years running, is the below—peanut butter moose tracks. Peanut butter ice cream with peanut butter ripples and chunks woven throughout, and studded here and there tiny peanut butter cups. In other words, my pipe dream.

A new contender, chocolate midnight cookie, is vying for its place, though. No matter. Choosing a favorite ice cream is one of the happier dilemmas in life, I’d say.

*Which is not to say that if someone offered it to me during the day that I’d fight them off with a stick.

**The line you see in the photo was only half of it, by the way. If you go, go on the early side.

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