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Clean Crash

October 24, 2010

look! these are not my fingernails!

Frankly I was cranky the first time that it showed up in the freezer, but I am here to report that Caramel Cone by Haagen-Dazs is the best possible flavor of ice cream, if not the best possible flavor of anything.

I never loved ice cream until I was pregnant. Without a fetus inside me, I prefer a dessert with crumbs in it. Crumbs and lemon and salt and cream.

(Maybe tomorrow I will get four pets and name them: Crumbs, Salt, Lemon, Cream.

Crumbs would be a turtle.

Salt would be a snake.

Lemon would be a bunny.

Cream would be a cat.

Except, pet-flavored dessert is not the best kind, and that is something we can all agree on.)

As for real-world ice cream, I love the idea of the Ben and Jerry’s brand, because of green and Vermont and politics and things that are character driven. And perhaps more importantly, those are ice creams designed for maximalists, of which I am one. Pretzels stuffed crammed with peanut butter, bits of chocolate shaped like little fish ready to melt in your mouth, insouciant sediments frozen midway through some marvelous geology of butterfat wonder: I am pleased by this.  But I’m not the person in our house who cares too much about ice cream, and as anyone who has tried being married, or at least being married to me, can attest, marriage is about compromises. Though actually, our familial switch to the Haagen-Dazs brand may have as much to do with the fact that in New York, that’s what they sell in all of the delis, and ice cream is more of an impulse buy than most of the rest of the groceries.

The first time my husband made dinner for me, it was August and we grilled tuna on his fire escape and dressed it with herbs from his windowsill herb garden. Well, he did those things, and I sat and drank gin and tonics. Later that night, we walked out to get some ice cream. This was his idea. I hadn’t spent much time in his neighborhood before, certainly not after dark, and he seemed either wholly unaware or wholly unconcerned that we were about to be killed at any moment. We walked through a tunnel over to a deli in a neighborhood where it was late enough that they were exterminating their astroturfed fruit shelves. We slid money through a slot in some bullet proof glass because it was too late for the actual deli to be open.

That night, we got chocolate. We rarely get just plain chocolate these days, because we have a child and we would rather die than be more tired than we are, and chocolate keeps us up, like crazy geriatrics. But back then, I was getting a glimpse into his intense desire for ice cream, and for chocolate. Later I would experience it myself, when I was carrying his child, who apparently inherited that gene. Now that the child is out and about, I have a far more normal relationship to chocolate ice cream, but I’ve glimpsed the darkness of addiction.

I also refuse to get plain vanilla. Even though many people with excellent taste buds love vanilla ice cream and delight in say things like “vanilla ice cream is a barometer: it’s  like a margherita pizza; you get that one, and you judge by that,”and I love vanilla in my food, I feel sad when I am not experiencing a fuller tableau when I am splurging. I want some contrasts. Ice cream should be exciting, and vanilla might be refined, but it’s hard to get the joy of reveling in excess when staring into a bowl of white. I want things floating, changes of texture, salt, maybe something bitter. (For the record, I also like toppings on my pizza.)

I used to love Chocolate Peanut Butter by Haagen-Dasz the most, but I believe that in recent years, our collective tastes have morphed and that the current zeitgeist for salt in our sweet drives flavors like Dulce de Leche and Caramel Cone.

So now, I am onto Caramel Cone, which has salt and crunch and crumbs and chewiness and chocolate. Try it, even if it doesn’t sound that good. Try it. Try it!

“Clean crash” is a phrase to describe to what happens after the sugar rush from a bowl of ice cream ends. Matthew theorizes that it’s a “clean crash,” which can actually help you to sleep. We tell ourselves what we must, don’t we.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Rider Newman permalink
    October 24, 2010 9:10 pm

    We do. We do tell ourselves those things we must. A friend once told me she convinced herself she didn’t like ice cream. It was my first clue she wasn’t human.

  2. Alana permalink
    October 24, 2010 9:23 pm

    I will have to find Phish food this week because once something is in your head, as you probably remember, you can not stop thinking about it until you are eating it. I love those little fish. They taste like Magic Shell.

  3. October 25, 2010 9:22 am

    I love the idea of the clean crash. I might have to try it out tonight…

  4. Karen permalink
    October 25, 2010 10:06 am

    Well, chocolate-PB is still my favorite, although we have to wait until our peanut-allergic peanut is asleep to indulge. We are also recent converts from B&J. I am the ice-cream addict in the family- my husband didn’t marry me until I agreed that we would *always* have separate bowls and never try to share a pint from the carton, because I don’t share nicely.

    I come by this honestly: my father and his father before him were ice cream addicts as well, albeit of more traditional varieties, like Rocky Road. My dad still buys the cartons at the grocery store- he cannot see the point of a $5 (or more!) pint of ice cream in his life, no matter how good it is. Those midwestern Calvinist genes. Although he’s willing to try it when it’s our $5(s) that brought the pint(s) home!

    I will have to try this caramel-cone flavor. It might resemble a “retired” B&J flavor that I have yet to forgive them for retiring called “Concession Obsession.” It is a never-ending search. Maybe if I put sno-caps in it, it will be the same…..

    And, those may not be your fingernails, but they are v cool.

  5. natasha shapiro permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:16 pm

    great post. i am an ice cream fiend and before malana i used to eat it for breakfast. my new fave is mild and cookies by ben and jerry, it’s full of stuff… of course poor malana has inherited my addiction to ice cream and eating means to her most of the time what she eats before ice cream…

  6. October 25, 2010 8:25 pm

    I like ADDING things to my ice cream. So if I start with vanilla, then I get to put in my own chocolate and salty pretzels. I first put a modest scoop of ice cream into the bottom of a Texas-size ice-tea glass, then I break up a chocolate bar that has nuts in it and top off the glass with a mound of hard, thick, salty pretzels, broken into shards and chunks. My mom and sister and I would do this on Sunday nights as a sign-off to the weekend.

  7. October 27, 2010 8:01 am

    The Vivid Girl is always trying to eat more sweets (she likes ice cream for breakfast too) and there is something about sweets that makes her want to share. Which is itself sweet, except that I am usually trying to eat fewer sweets and if I make an exception then I want my OWN DAMN SWEET and not one with a six-year-old’s fingerprints and saliva in it and especially not one that is just plain vanilla ice cream which I would rather not eat ever. Because it is a waste of my sweet-eating allotments. And also, now Costco makes and sells gelato, which only comes in basic flavors but one of them is stracciatella, which is good for breakfast, and which reminds me of someone I know who went to Italy and ate a lot of ice cream. (YOU)

  8. Brian permalink
    October 29, 2010 10:24 am

    I find it interesting that plain vanilla is so unwanted. As an alumnus of a certain New York-based ice cream chain, plain vanilla is the only base that truly allows a sundae to reach its full potential. And as far as plain vanilla in a carton, H-D is the best.

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