The newest issue of “Yankee Magazine” features an article on the places to get the best ice cream in the six New England states.
Of course, the UConn Dairy Bar, which we discovered when two of our offspring were matriculating there, ranks among their top choices. Our offspring, like their father, have always been big ice cream lovers and Greenbackers’ ice cream was a favorite in their growing-up years.
I’m probably one of the few people who is not a true ice cream aficionado, but the frozen treat has still figured largely in my life over the years.
I remember in my earliest days when our grandfather would take us for a walk downtown and buy my sister and me each an Eskimo pie at the local ice cream store to eat on the way home. That chocolate covered vanilla ice cream on a stick was probably neater for us to eat than a cone so our mother didn’t complain when we returned home only slightly messy.
Our ice cream choices in those days were largely limited to vanilla and chocolate but our dad found a place that offered a few more varieties. We’d sample those special flavors whenever we took our regular excursions to the next town for the weekly band concerts performed in a gazebo on the town green.
On our way to the concert, our father would stop at the little shop and bring out to us cones filled with flavors like raspberry or fudge ripple, or for himself and our mother, coffee or rum raisin. Ice cream cones were only five cents apiece in those days or 10 cents for a double-dip. We’d finish those fancy flavors by the time we got to the concert venue but the memory of those special treat nights live on with me still.
By the time I moved on to UMass, we had belatedly discovered Friendly’s ice cream produced in West Springfield, Massachusetts, which was just down Route 20 from us. The richness and multiple flavors of Friendly’s ice cream remained a favorite of ours throughout the decades and was always a mainstay of any grocery order we brought home.
Even when Ben and Jerry’s came on the scene in 1978, we stuck with Friendly’s which was a lot less pricey and just as satisfying even though its many flavors didn’t have such cutesy names.
For the most part, I have avoided gooey ice cream concoctions, shying away from the syrups and toppings so many people prefer. That, to me, is just gilding the lily and defeating the purpose of a dish of plain ice cream, no matter the flavor.
Yes, on occasion I have been tempted to indulge in a dollop of hot fudge sauce, which was my husband’s all-time favorite. But for the most part, I like my ice cream unenhanced.
I do recall in the distant past, a young swain trying to seduce me with a banana split at the local ice cream shoppe. But I could hardly get through half before turning green around the gills and having to excuse myself and desert the premises.
So while ice cream may be the perfect dessert for many people, I still need to take it in small portions. To tell the truth, instead of ice cream, I‘m much happier with a dish of frozen yogurt or sorbet, or even better, a sugar cone full of orange sherbet.
Now that’s more to my liking.