In case you missed National Ice Cream Day on July 15, don’t despair.
The whole month of July was declared National Ice Cream Month by President Ronald Reagan back in 1984.
That was probably the best thing that happened to me in 1984.
I’ve loved ice cream ever since it was my job to sit on the homemade ice cream freezer that my grandfather cranked by hand on the patio at my grandparents’ house. Balancing on top of the newspaper and bath towel placed on the freezer for insulation, I sat there proudly while my grandfather turned the crank, participating in what I came to relish as one of my favorite treats of the summer.
And vanilla was acceptable only if it was homemade.
Otherwise it needed Hershey’s chocolate syrup.
To this day I can’t eat a bowl of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup without swirling the last few bites together into the consistency of a chocolate malt, just like my dad taught me to do when I was a little girl.
When a Baskin Robbins franchise opened up in Wichita Falls in the sixties, and I tasted Pralines ‘n’ Cream for the first time, I was simply overcome.
Especially when my dentist started giving me gift certificates for free cones.
Much better than the plastic rings.
And I loved going to Park Plaza Drug Store, sitting up at the counter and eating a scoop of chocolate ice cream frozen so hard it had ice crystals in it.
I’ve been fortunate in my day to experience a lot of ice cream, so it’s hard for me to choose a favorite, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few.
Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heathbar Crunch.
Haagen Dazs’ Swiss Chocolate Almond.
Anything from Braum’s covered in hot fudge.
My mother’s homemade sherbet made with Orange Crush soda pop, Eagle Brand condensed milk and a can of crushed pineapple.
Any flavor of Italian gelato. (And I’ve tasted them all.)
But being a Texan, Blue Bell is still “the best ice cream in the country.”