Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cone Appetít!

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the Baskin-Robbins with my father and sister for a Saturday treat. The afternoon that so vividly stands out in my mind is the day my father let us order banana splits. Oh, what a decadent delight! I must have been five or six years old.

I watched with great anticipation as the ice cream attendant peeled the banana and sliced it in half. Selecting which types of ice cream to use on my split was quite difficult, but I chose chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Being a chocoholic, even at such a young age, I elected to have chocolate syrup, rather than caramel or strawberry syrups, drizzled over scoops of ice cream. Next came the shaken can of whipped cream, which, when the funny top was pushed just right, emitted puffy clouds of luscious, sweet, white cream. And, for the finale, a red maraschino cherry on top.

My banana split was a work of art, yet I was fully prepared to demolish such a creation for the sake of sating my culinary desires. My taste buds watered as I plucked the cherry from atop my mountainous treat and popped it into my mouth, savoring the sweet, juicy fruit. I dug my spoon into the heaps of whipping cream and shoveled up a spoonful of chocolate-covered chocolate ice cream. It was only after several bites that I realized I hadn’t tasted any banana.

After a bite of the banana, covered in melted ice cream and chocolate syrup, I concluded that a banana is a banana and is not overly enhanced by the addition of ice cream or any other substance. I left the banana alone, focusing on the various flavors of ice cream in my bowl until I could eat no more. It was the first and last time I remember eating a banana split, a memory I will always treasure.

Last Friday, I offered to treat my nieces to an ice cream cone at Baskin-Robbins after school. Cassie, the youngest of the two, ran around the house excitedly and then jumped into my arms. Her older sister, Corinne, explained that Cassie “freaks out” over ice cream. I can totally relate, and that made me think of the old rhyme: “I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream!”

Just like when I was a child, we looked at each and every ice cream in the case. As I announced the name of each ice cream, we made yummy sounds: “Rocky Road”….”Mmmm!”…..”Very Berry Strawberry”…..”Yummm!”….”Mint Chocolate Chip”….”Ooooo!”. And then, I hit the jackpot. “Rainbow Sherbet”….”Oh! I want that one!” “Me, too!” I couldn’t believe they both wanted Rainbow Sherbet. I mean, why not try something new and different? But, these girls knew exactly what they wanted and would not be swayed. Their father later reminded me that at this age, it’s all about the colors.

I quickly discovered that the choice of cone was equally as important as the choice of ice cream. Corinne asked, “Aunt Grayson, can I have that chocolate cone with the sprinkles?” I looked on top of the display cases, where about six different types of cones were stacked. “Of course, sweetie”, I replied. Cassie followed suit, and so they both had a chocolate-coated sugar cone with sprinkles, filled with Rainbow Sherbet. I, on the other hand, had a large scoop of Jamoca Almond Fudge in a chocolate-covered cake cone.

In my day, there were only two types of cones – cake or sugar. My mother had always preferred the sugar cone, so that’s what I usually ordered, too. Several years ago, the waffle cone appeared on the ice cream scene, stealing the show. Later, it was chocolate-dipped waffle cones. Then, chocolate-dipped waffle cones with sprinkles or nuts. Now, all the cones have added bells and whistles. Making a cone decision can be quite difficult, whether you are 4 or 40.

The price has changed quite a bit since the old days, too. Eight bucks for 3 single cones. Whew! Talk about inflation! As I pulled the $10 bill out of my purse, I couldn’t help but think how many gallons of ice cream I could buy (on sale) for $8.00. Oh well, I told myself, going out for an ice cream cone is an experience, no matter the cost.

Scream for Ice Cream, Y’all!

1 comment:

  1. Baskin and Bo Bo's as we always called it, is our favorite place to treat ourselves to life's rewards, in many flavors.