I SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!
I love ice cream. My involvement is deep and goes way back. I have early memories of PaPa (my grandfather) cranking by hand the wooden ice cream maker containing my grandmother, MaMa's, fantastic vanilla ice cream with just a hint of lemon.
One summer when I was young, my father even opened an ice cream shop called The Big Dipper with the high school principal. The Big Dipper served hand-scooped ice cream among them the best peanut butter flavor I've ever had. I had forgotten how much I adored that ice cream until we went to Vero Beach last year and had a variety of peanut butter that came pretty close--I tried it several times to come to that highly sophisticated conclusion.
The Big Dipper only survived one summer in my small hometown due to the soft serve place that opened down the street. They had arcade games. What can I say, it was the 80s and there was just no competing with Pac Man and Asteroids.
When we moved to Ohio seven years ago we were introduced to Graeter's ice cream. After a long unfulfilled ice cream need left by our time in Atlanta, the creamy French pot style of Graeter's was like coming home. My family each have our specific favorite flavors--no need to ask what we want when someone is making a Graeter's run. Mine has always been cheesecake, which actually has sizable chunks of my favorite non-ice cream dessert making it a brilliant marriage of taste and texture. It was a staple in my diet when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, Ellie. In fact, it was the last thing I ate before I delivered her. So you can imagine my horror when the news came weeks later that Graeter's would be eliminating cheesecake ice cream from their menu. I was a postpartum, hormonal, sleep-deprived, nursing mother. When Monte came back from Graeter's with plain vanilla, I was devastated. Anger raging inside (which quickly turned to hysterical sobbing) I immediately drafted a letter to Graeter's trying to explain that discontinuing the cheesecake flavor was no less barbaric and horrific than them ripping my newborn daughter from my arms and running away, never to be seen again. No warning, no good-byes.
I was a bit of a mess and Monte tiptoed into the den to see what all the racket was about. He just nodded slowly with eyebrows engaged as I blubbered through the pain and loss of my beloved cheesecake ice cream. Monte's smarter than I give him credit. He knew any word uttered aloud would've ensured his complete and thorough verbal assassination--and a night on the couch. This was ice cream, after-all.
That was almost four years ago and I've moved on to strawberry--peach and key lime pie when it's in season. Life does have a way of moving forward. We were celebrating McDaniel's last soccer game at Graeter's Sunday when I saw, like a vision, the enchanted word "cheesecake" listed among the other flavors. Yippee doesn't even come close. Even though I never mailed my hormonally charged letter to Graeter's (I can't seem to find it anywhere either, which smacks of Monte's wisdom yet again) I still take a small bit of credit for the cheesecake flavor's return. It just makes good sense--a baby needs to be with its mother.