Sunday, July 26, 2015

ice cream + me = bff

We're off to Rehoboth Beach, DE in 2 weeks and one of the many things I'm looking forward to is enjoying an ice cream on the boardwalk. In our rich country of large grocery stores with whole aisles devoted to frozen food, it's easy to take ice cream for granted. I beg to differ, ice cream is an amazing concoction. Think of how delicious and special it is. First, cream from a cow, then sweetness and ice. I revere the person who first thought to make cold, sweet cream.

When I was a child, I had a storybook by Tasha Tudor titled Becky's Birthday, in which part of the celebration of this young girl's special day was home-made ice cream, back in the days before freezers and electricity. A bucket with a crank and paddles, salt, ice and strong arms made ice cream back in those days. I loved looking at the illustration on that page; barefoot children licking the paddles in the sunshine.

We had it good growing up, though. We didn't have to crank any paddles. There was a Carvel stand down the road and my Dad would sometimes lead an outing there to get a cone on a hot evening after dinner. He, always chocolate. Me, black raspberry - if they had it, or chocolate if they didn't. Black raspberry was my favorite simply because they didn't have it every time, and, well, and it's purple!

For the two years we lived aboard Red Ranger, we had no freezer, so there was never ice cream at home. We rationalized our decision not to have a freezer by classifying eating ice cream as an experience, not an everyday necessity. Ice cream is so much better when eaten outside, anyway. I can remember one hot, sweaty afternoon in St. Augustine, FL, after a long walk to get groceries. We sat outside the store, sharing a pint, using the take-out plastic spoons - fortifying ourselves for the long walk back to the marina.

Late one evening, on vacation in Portland, OR last year, I stood in line on the sidewalk at Salt & Straw with my family and the neighbors and waited my turn for the store-made delights. I happily licked a strawberry-honey-balsamic-black pepper cone while my sister sampled the lavender. Our treats were all the more delicious for the opportunity to relax and chat in the long line.

This summer, we spent a day with sailing buddies in the bayside village of Cape Charles, VA where, at Brown Dog, I indulged in the daily special: beet and goat cheese. Hubby enjoyed his trusty favorite, chocolate. Hot afternoons with an ice cream - does life get any better?

Maybe my desire to eat ice cream outdoors as a special treat is just a way of rationalizing my decision to keep sugar out of my kitchen, but it's also part of my gratitude practice, part of intentionally enjoying thing I used to take for granted. I do have a freezer right now, but it's full of vegetables, soup, bean burgers, walnuts and bread. I don't want to keep ice cream in box from the grocery store in there.

I'd rather wait to enjoy ice cream outdoors at the beach.