Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ice Cream

Over at Assistant Village Idiot ( 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  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).


Retriever said...

Peppermint Stick and Black Raspberry are two good New England flavors. And Pumpkin ice cream during fall is becoming ubiquitous. I wonder if it isn't so common to eat on Sundays because of church socials, family Sunday dinners, but also because of Sunday blue laws, so one way to cheer up grumpy Gramps was to give him a big bowl of ice cream. You can't go out for a drink, because Sunday is family day, so you take the family out for an ice cream or crank some yourself.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

Retriever, I think you're probably correct about the connection to Sunday blue laws in the Northeast. Again, if you think of ice cream as a comfort food, and who doesn't, it makes sense that families would treat themselves to something available and a little special on that day.

Unknown said...

For many years I made ice cream more palatable by mixing it in a large glass, one-to-one, with both milk and Guinness. I suffered many a glance of horror and was diagnosed verbally as insane over several decades, as you may at this time be thinking. Then I traveled. In Belize I found one new friend who did exactly that and three who omitted the milk part. Vanilla was the favorite cocktail, I think. In Jamaica (where they actually seem to prefer Guinness to Red Stripe, he whispered), the two are frequently mixed. I have since found many ice cream parlors where Guinness flavor is one of the MOST popular. So there!

Unknown said...

Forgot: I stopped drinking it when I got noticeably stouter.