It’s always the same. The temperature rises above 20°C and suddenly we’re all screaming for ice cream.
What is it about summer that makes us think the best thing to refresh us is a big lick of a thick, mucous-forming substance that sometimes makes our heads hurt and inevitably leaves us more dehydrated?
Even I, never an enthusiastic consumer of dairy products, admit to having driven all the way from Whitehorse to Carcross to eat ice cream. The only thing that beats a trip to the Haines Junction free store is a visit to Frosty Freeze for a cone.
Here’s the scoop (but not the skinny) as I see it: five good reasons why we like to eat ice cream in summer.
- It takes us to our happy place. Ice cream is a treat when you’re a child. It’s synonymous with special occasions and celebrations. So unless you grew up in a dysfunctional household where you were force fed ice cream, it most likely carries positive associations. We all become emotional eaters when it comes to ice cream.
- No dishes or packaging. An ice cream cone is the perfect waste-free dessert. First you eat the ice cream, then you eat the container. Forget the methane spewing from all those cows; eating ice cream is practically environmental.
- It’s a meal and a dessert in one. On a hot day, when a parent doesn’t feel like cobbling together a cheese sandwich, or worse, putting out a lovely fruit tray that kids aren’t going to eat anyway, she can just give them ice cream and call it a meal. And she will be the best mom ever (refer to reason #1).
- Almost everyone likes it. Unlike so many other desserts (I’m looking at you Jell-O) you can serve ice cream to a crowd of grateful adults or kids. If you don’t like ice cream, that’s your problem.
- Flavours! Part of the thrill of ice cream is the countless flavours and the protracted decision-making that goes into your selection. Ben and Jerry’s entire business plan seems to be built on developing and marketing clever names for new flavours. There are gourmet, artisanal, small batch ice cream shops in most big cities with flavours like blue cheese and fig. Indeed nothing frustrates my 6-year old more than her 4-year old sister looking at a menu of 24 flavours and choosing vanilla.
Yes, there is wide variation in quality and styles, but unlike, say, cookies — those finicky desserts with endless variations of taste, shape, and texture — ice cream is consistently cold, sweet and creamy substance. Variations in taste are superficial.
So I hereby proclaim ice cream as the perogy of desserts.
Head over to your local ice cream parlour — your den of dessert, your stand of sweetness — and enjoy a treat.
Remember, there are only two seasons: winter and ice cream.