Chick Wit

The Creamiest, Dreamiest August 18, 2019

By Lisa Scottoline

Is there anything better than ice cream in summer?

I’m talking about maybe 50 years ago.

Yes, I’m nostalgic for carbohydrates.

I love thinking about foods of the past, particularly ice cream on the beach.

This column will make sense to three of you, who actually remember what it was like to be on the Jersey Shore in the summertime and hear an ice cream man calling out, “Fudgie wudgie, ice cream and ices.”

Which should be the national anthem.

The ice cream man was invariably a stocky older guy, dressed in white pants and a white T-shirt, carrying a massive trunk of ice cream treats, and he would to come to your blanket and sell you as much ice cream as you could talk Mother Mary into buying.

Which would basically be an ice cream sandwich.

Or a Fudgsicle or a Creamsicle.

Or an ice popsicle that came in cherry, orange, and grape, staining your lips carcinogenic colors.

Anyway I’m here to remind you that those ice cream sandwiches were the best tasting ice cream on earth. They were predictably sticky, and the trick was getting the paper off without taking half the chocolate wafer.

The first bite of an ice cream sandwich was chilly, melty, and slightly gummy, and it had what food science calls “mouth feel.”

Only slightly more delicious was a Fudgsicle, which was chocolatey and great and malted, which is another great taste on earth.

And then later came the ice popsicles, which, if you ate one too fast, which is the only way I eat, gave you an instant brain freeze, in addition to cancer.

And good luck trying to break it in half if your mother made you share it with your brother Frank. Because even though the ice pop had a ditch down the middle, there’s no way that fourth-grade you can break it in two, so it will always be broken unevenly and because you broke it, your brother will get the first choice.

And then you will fight over it, and it will end up dropping in the sand and Mother Mary will take her cigarette from her mouth long enough to yell at you both, with colorful profanity.

It’s just a normal American family scene at the Jersey Shore, Scottoline-style.

We have to reminisce about these foods, because the other day I had an ice cream sandwich, and I’m telling you it doesn’t taste the same.

I know that there’s not a lot of things in this world that are the same as they were 50 years ago, but ice cream sandwiches should the exception.

Also Fudgsicles, Creamsicles, ice cream popsicles, and everything else we used to love in summertime, way back before cars had air-conditioning and TV sets had color.

I told you this would be a column for three of you.

And since its beginning, one of you has died.

Damn!

I also loved ice cream from the ice cream truck, which in my day was Jack & Jill, driven by the same middle-age guy in the same white T-shirt and white pants, namely the ice cream man.

Let me fast forward to tell you that when I was seventeen, I applied for a summer job at Jack & Jill to become an ice cream man, and I was told that girls could not be an ice cream man.

So that’s how you know this is an old story, because now sexism has been completely eradicated.

When I was little, the ice cream truck played music and stuck around for a long time, so we all got our ice cream. But change came to the ice cream trucks, and not for the better. When Francesca was growing up, our ice cream man had a weird trick where he would play his music from far away, and we would race out of the house, looking desperately around for the truck.

People with houses on fire look for fire engines with less urgency.

But no matter what, we could never see the ice cream truck. It sounded maddeningly close, but was never in sight. We would run around the block looking for the truck, only to have him pull away at the last moment, and we could chase him.

That’s how the Scottoline women feel about carbohydrates.

They can run, but they can hide.

We were saved on occasion by the Mister Softee truck, which was Jack & Jill with a better soundtrack.

You know it’s the creamiest and the dreamiest.

Mr. Softee was Mr. Right.

Nothing is better than soft serve from a truck full of preservatives.

It has mouth feel, you know?

I hope this inspires you to go out and chase an ice cream truck right now. Summer’s not over yet, no matter what they tell you.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2019

Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have teamed up to bring their hilarious and witty perspective on everyday life as mother and daughter in their weekly essays. With stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next, Lisa and Francesca connect with readers on a deeply emotional level because of their honesty, warts and all.

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