There was always ice cream in the freezer when I was growing up. I clearly remember sitting on my parents’ bed after dinner with my older brother, watching TV (like Gilligan’s Island or F Troop), with a dish of coffee ice cream. We had a game we played. A competition. To see who could hold out the longest, constantly stirring the ice cream as it became “soup.” Only then did we eat it. Yum. Coffee was my dad’s favorite flavor; my mom liked Carvel. I still remember their slogan: Wednesday is Sundae. They had little cups of vanilla ice cream with a layer of cookie crunch in the middle. Also yum. My mom used to say that the Northeast, where we lived, had the highest per capita ice cream consumption. I’m not sure if that was right or not but my family certainly did our part. And, in case you are wondering, not one of us was overweight.
When I was in high school I had a job in a clothing store. (Still skinny then – clothes were fun.) On my dinner break I often headed down the block to Baskin Robbins and got a milkshake for my meal which was often followed with a side of candy. Some days for lunch at school, rather than the very limited and tasteless main course being offered, I visited the school snack bar and got a soft serve ice cream sundae instead. Reflecting back on how a sweet treat became a meal substitute, clearly I developed some very unhealthy eating habits pretty early in life.
In college, the only dessert offered in the dining hall on a daily basis was – you guessed it – ice cream. Soft serve chocolate or vanilla. I’d get the former and top it with peanut butter. More yum. By this time, I was no longer skinny. Actually, unbeknownst to naive me, I was entering my yo-yo diet years, but not directly related to the ice cream, just coincidental.
As an adult with my own freezer, there was often but not always ice cream in the house. My favorite flavors usually had something to chew in them, like chocolate chips or bits of cookie or chopped up candy. If I went out for ice cream I was a big fan of something chewy sprinkled on top or mixed in. Or at least some thick, hot fudge. My boys often chose ice cream cake for their birthday parties. At one point my husband and I joined in the trend towards frozen yogurt. I think we fooled ourselves that it was healthier. Maybe it was. That was decades ago before the current fad of self-serve fro-yo places. I’ve been to one of those a couple of times and, talk about yum. Yummmm. And for many years my husband and I were regulars at a frozen custard shop which has
sadly fortunately closed. Okay, maybe there was more ice cream in my life than I realized! Off and on, just like my weight.
But in the past couple of years as I have been on this quest to eat healthier and to get off the yo-yo dieting roller-coaster, there has been very little of the frozen confection in my life. I quickly learned that even the most “diet” of ice cream treats (Skinny Cows anyone?) are a major red-light food for me, leading to overindulgence time and time again. It is a running joke in our family that one time my husband wanted Dove Bars but knew I would be tempted so ate them all with his brother in the car on the way home from the store! I have much more self-control now, I think. I have not scarfed down even one of the Klondike Bars that he has been buying lately. I don’t even salivate when I hear the bells from the ice cream truck driving through the neighborhood. And, oddly enough, or maybe it makes perfect sense, I don’t even crave or miss ice cream anymore, thanks to not having it on a regular basis.
So why this post, you might be wondering. Because rumor has it that Sunday is National Ice Cream Day. Yep, a national holiday, designated for the celebration of that frozen stuff. Not surprising, I guess, that a president known for his enjoyment of jelly beans would get behind a holiday of sweetness.
As for me, I have no plans to indulge. But if I do feel a desire for the something cold, sweet, and creamy, I might finally try the banana “ice cream” I’ve been hearing so much about. Just in case you aren’t yet in the know… you freeze a banana, then blend it, alone or with something added for extra flavor (like peanut butter or cocoa powder or berries or…). I actually stuck banana pieces in my freezer months ago, just in case the day comes when I want to once again have a little bit of frozen velvety goodness. But for now, I’m happily going without what was once an almost daily indulgence. I may be screaming, but it’s not for ice cream anymore:)
Your turn to dish. Ice cream fan or not so much? Favorite flavor or frozen treat?