Another comfort item, one with a passel of emotions tied to it. Ice cream. I come to a dead stop. As a child, ice cream was the ultimate treat. The Good Humor man would come down the street in his ice cream truck and usually we were allowed to get something. They probably cost a nickel or a dime. My favorite was a Chocolate Eclair, with cake crumbs on the outside. I also loved the Creamsicle, which was orange sherbet encasing vanilla ice cream. These were both sold on a stick, of course. Simple pleasures.
I also have fond memories of the (green) chocolate chip mint ice cream cones we would get at Lake Gerard, where we sometimes went swimming in the summer. The snack bar was in a large, square building, open on all four sides or maybe just two or three sides. It was covered in dark brown shingles, like an Old West fort or an old mountain cabin. It was, well, exotic. The ice cream was firm and cold and I’m guessing it was in a sugar cone, but it could have been in the airy type. In point of fact, I don’t know how often we went to Lake Gerard nor how many times we got those cones. The experience lives in my memory as if it happened often. But it could have been as few as two or three times. Could even have been just once, but I think it was more than that.
Ice cream had a happy aura, until I was about eight years old. The family doctor decided that at five pounds ‘overweight’, I should be placed on a restricted diet and no longer allowed to eat ice cream. Night after night, year after year, (or so my memory tells me) my siblings were given bowls of ice cream after dinner and I was forbidden to have any. I’ve eaten many pints of ice cream in the last 50 years, to ‘make up’ for that deprivation. NOT. You cannot ‘make up‘ for a deprivation. Wish it was possible.
There are some ice cream flavors that I love, like coffee and some that I will always pass up, like anything with marshmallow. About ten years ago, I encountered the ice cream love-of-my-life. Cappuccino Crunch, made by Hershey, (not the candy bar people) is not available in my home state. The combination of coffee ice cream with ribbons of chocolate and chunks of toffee is heavenly. For several years, whenever I had access to this ice cream, I would eat as much as I could, well beyond the time when I began to feel full or even nauseas. It was difficult to slow down and savor. More more more. When the first dish was gone, if I could do it without embarrassing myself, I would eat more.
A deep dish of ice cream is squeezed onto the page, beside some pecans. I love pecans. I think they are my favorite nut for general use. Walnuts make the roof of my mouth itch, peanuts have their place, almonds are a little drier. Pistachios and macadamias are special occasion (expensive) nuts and cashews I’ve come to find too rich. Hazelnuts are good ground up to flavor things. But the beautiful pecan is a great all purpose nut. In yogurt with fruit and maple syrup, in salads with fruit and cheese, glazed, spiced or simply salted. Great nut.