The man shook his head as I tasted his company’s ice cream.
“You’re eating it wrong,” he said.
Since he was the official ice cream taste tester for this brand, I figured he must know what he was talking about. He was part of my series on “people with unusual jobs,” and his job sounded like a career to die for.
“There’s a wrong way to eat ice cream?” I asked.
“Okay, what should I be doing?”
“You have to flip the spoon upside down when you put it in your mouth. Most of your taste buds are on your tongue, and you don’t want the first thing they touch to be a metal spoon.” He demonstrated the technique, deftly flipping the spoon without spilling anything.
It actually made sense. This time I flipped the spoon, letting the ice cream hit my tongue. It actually did taste better. Who knew?
If you don’t believe me, make an ice cream cone at home and have a few licks, then eat a spoonful with the spoon right side up. You’ll notice the ice cream on the cone tastes better.
Which brings me to something about ice cream that frustrates me. There are waaayyyy too many flavors.
Back when I worked in my Dad’s store as a teenager, there wasn’t much of a selection. Vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, maple walnut, and the flavor of the month. We also sold Häagen-Dazs rum raisin. That’s it.
These days if you’re not searching for a particular flavor, a trip to the ice cream aisle in the grocery store might take a while. A little research blew me away. Breyers currently has 40 flavors. Blue Bell has 66. Blue Bunny has 70. This doesn’t even count the other brands. Of course, not all are available at the same time, but you get the picture. Decision overload.
And since not all flavors are available all the time, my search for pistachio is often unsuccessful. Instead, I often shake my head at what I consider to be the somewhat bizarre flavors that are in its place. Oatmeal? Popcorn? Cinnabon? My go-to second choices are only found at Winn-Dixie. Their raspberry cone crunch and coconut chocolate almond are off the charts incredible.
And, as usual, the best new flavors are always ones with “for a limited time” on the label. As soon as you get hooked on one, it disappears for a year. Or forever.
Now, about those high-end pints that cost a bit more. Actually, you may think they’re more expensive. But I learned something important from a customer back in my Dad’s store. At that time a pint of Häagen-Dazs cost a lot more than a pint of other brands.
One day a regular customer bought the last pint we had in stock.
I rang him up. “We always run out of this brand, even though it’s more expensive.”
The guy shook his head. “It’s really not. The other companies whip more air into their ice cream.” He reached into the freezer and pulled out a pint of another brand. “Weigh both of these, then do the math.”
I put the Häagen-Dazs on the scale and wrote down the weight. I was shocked when I weighed a pint of a national brand. It weighed much less. A little arithmetic and it turned out they actually cost the same per ounce. Again, who knew?
Finally, one fact most people know already. If you’re eating ice cream directly from the container, you’ve had a bad day.
So with summer about to heat up, you’re now armed with the basics of our favorite frozen dessert.
And on those days I can’t find pistachio and can’t make a decision in the grocery store, well … a Sonic just opened within walking distance of my house.
Now if they would only bring back those incredible coconut cream pie shakes, which were, naturally, available for a limited time.
Randy Tatano is the author of more than 20 novels, writing political thrillers under the pen name Nick Harlow and romantic comedies as Nic Tatano. He spent 30 years working in television news as a local affiliate reporter and network field producer.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.