I’ve mentioned previously that I’m not a classic sweet-tooth. I enjoy the presence of sugars – natural and not-so-natural – in certain foods. A little sugar in a tomato sauce, for example, or maybe in some Nigerian black beans. But I am not an ardent chocolate biscuit fan. I take my tea with no more than half a sugar. But what I love, what I have always loved, no ifs, half portions or “go on then”s, is ice cream. I love the stuff.
Ice cream makes me happy. Have you ever scratched behind the ear of a dog and watched their hind leg spasm in pleasure? I hate to liken myself to a creature that willfully eats its own vomit, but um, I’ve been known to tap my foot in ecstasy upon the consumption of ice cream. Ice cream makes things feel like a special occasion, like it’s a birthday, a celebration, an important thing to be marked. It’s a feeling that’s readily available in your pyjamas, a nice frock, or just in your jeans.
When I was 17, I worked for several months at a cookies and ice cream parlour in the heart of tourist London. We sold about 18 types of cookie, and very specifically, 32 types of ice cream. I soon tired of the cookies, delicious though they were, but I never, ever tired of the ice cream. Each freezer compartment had a little pot of disposable tester spoons, ostensibly there to assist customers in making their final selections. Being a fim believer in equal opportunities and excellent customer service, I operated a strict “one for you, one for me” system. I got through a lot of ice cream in those months. I recently went past my old workplace and they were still in business, so I can’t have dented profits that much.
A recent and very sad development for me has been an increasing intolerance to dairy products. Sensibly, I’m cutting back accordingly – for example, I like cheese but unless I’m experiencing a deep craving, will forgo it for the sake of common sense and a cramp-free evening. I have no such reservations with ice cream. I will near-inhale a pint of vanilla, Caramel Chew Chew or Cookie Dough quite happily, throwing caution to the wind as I spoon the icy ambrosia into my mouth. Minutes later with my face sticky and my tummy in knots, I regret my rash beahviour. But I know I will soon have the freezer light on my face as I dig around for another helping…
Ice cream makes life better. If it didn’t exist someone would have to invent it. Thankfully for me, that burden of expectation has been taken off my shoulders. We have ice cream. We have life.