Over at Assistant Village Idiot (http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com) we were speculating on why New Englanders consume so much ice cream per capita. I wondered whether the good stuff reminds us (fondly?) of winter. Maybe because it is considered a comfort food it reflects that we Yankees like our comfort and solace. Gringo also thought maybe the winter angle made sense while both he and AVI speculated that perhaps it reflects the traditionally strong dairy industry in these parts. I think they may be on to something there. When New Englanders think cows they automatically think Vermont. Oh yeah, and where is Ben & Jerry’s headquartered? Can’t be a coincidence.
But now I had always heard that per capita consumption of ice cream was highest in New England. A little research told me not so. Its high here to be sure, but the Northern Central states top all of the regions in this country (think Wisconsin).
But then again, maybe ice cream is just a mass religious experience – reportedly, more ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.
Flavors – we all know that there are more flavors out there these days than when Howard Johnson wowed us with his 31. Lots of off-beat flavors too; especially from the independent stands and ice cream parlors. On the AVI site I mentioned that just this week I had tried Indian Pudding ice cream at a little shop in Bar Harbor, Maine (Indian Pudding – a traditional New England concoction of corn meal and molasses). But around the corner from that shop was one that offered up Lobster Ice Cream to its patrons. No, we did not indulge, but we did observe them making the stuff so we can attest to the accuracy of the proprietor’s claims.
But my most memorable flavor by far is Moxie. As far as I am aware, there is only a single source on the face of this earth for commercially-made Moxie ice cream. That would be Kennebec’s House of Moxie http://www.moxie.info/houseof.htm store in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Not coincidentally, downtown Lisbon Falls is also the site of the annual Moxie festival and parade every July (more on that in a future post).