Let’s talk about ice cream. Specifically, about my love affair with it. I just adore ice cream – or, I should say, I adore what I consider to be really good ice cream. The most memorable ice cream from my childhood was a Rabbit Ears cone from Mr. Softee – that was the name of our neighborhood ice cream truck and, by default, the man who drove it. Regular cones cost a dime (yes, I know, I’m dating myself) and they were yummy. But a Rabbit Ears cone cost a quarter and, boy oh boy, was that a special treat! Soft chocolate ice cream filled up the wafer cone, and that was topped with a soft vanilla ice cream head and two squiggly rabbit ears. A quick dip of chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies, as they’re known elsewhere) on the ears and the addition of a maraschino cherry nose were the finishing touches to this delightful treat. Happily, Mr. Softee’s tasty treats were not my only ice cream adventures when I was young.
There was an ice cream stand near the house across town where my grandmother (on my Dad’s side) lived with my Aunt Helen. On Sunday afternoons, my Dad would often visit with his mother and sister. Sometimes, his other sister, my Aunt Stella, would stop by, too, and the siblings would spend an hour or two catching up together. Although I often went with my Dad just because I enjoyed going, I was ever so hopeful that a stop for ice cream might be in the cards on visiting day – and it often was. The funny thing about that ice cream stand was the big vanilla ice cream cone on top of the building. Actually, it wasn’t the ice cream cone itself that was odd. It was the fact that I didn’t really like vanilla as a kid, but that cone always looked so scrumptious up on top of that building that I would order a vanilla cone at times – even though I like chocolate better. Weird, right? Or maybe just really effective marketing. In any case, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Let me digress for a moment. This may seem off topic but, really, it’s not. When my brother and I were young, health issues were a little more loosey goosey than they are today. Back then, nobody worried about the raw eggs if you, say, happened to lick the cake batter bowl after the cake went in the oven. Let me tell you, there is nothing more delicious than yellow cake batter – unless it was my Mom’s brownie batter. Heck, there were days I would have been happy to forego the brownies if she would have just given me a spoon and a bowl of her brownie batter! I have never come across Brownie Batter ice cream but, if and when I do, you can rest assured that I’ll buy a large cone of it. No, wait! An EXTRA large cone! Until then, I’ll have to be content with Yellow Cake Batter cones from one of our local ice cream stands. Now, I don’t want you to think that I eat ice cream every day. I really do try to eat healthfully most of the time. But ice cream is one of life’s simple pleasures – especially the soft ice cream that tastes almost exactly like the yellow cake batter I used to scrape out of my Mom’s mixing bowl. So, here’s the deal. That local ice cream stand rotates a lot of different flavors throughout the summer. The only time I go for ice cream is when they have Yellow Cake in the rotation. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Alan sneaks in an extra visit or two because he’s a soft-chocolate-ice cream-with-chocolate-sprinkles kind of guy – and they always have that on the menu. I’m not asking and he’s not telling. That’s between him and his conscience. As for me, my loyalty is to Yellow Cake. Yum!
It was back in 2007 during our first cross country National Parks camping trip with the kids that we discovered Culver's frozen custard. I'm not a purist; it doesn't have to ice cream to be delectable. Believe me, this frozen custard is delectable! We quickly learned to search ahead for a Culver's on our route whenever we
needed wanted a cool treat on a hot summer day. I will admit that, on one fortuitous occasion, we even managed to fit in stops at two different Culver's on one day. No regrets, either. We are several states away from the nearest Culver's. Carpe diem. That's Latin for "always stop for Culver's."
|If I remember correctly that is (left to right) Kyra, me, Alan and Ryan|
When we go camping at Northampton Beach on Great Lake Sacandaga, we find excuses to make numerous trips to our favorite ice cream stand near the lake which is maybe 20 to 30 minutes from the campground and oh-so-conveniently close to the grocery store. Udderly Delicious is the name of the ice cream stand and the ice cream really is “udderly” delicious. They make soft ice cream that’s really smooth and, well, creamy! The prices at Udderly Delicious are very reasonable - especially considering the fact that their “small” could easily be a “large” at another ice cream stand! Besides the traditional chocolate, vanilla and twist, two special flavors are rotated in each week at Udderly Delicious. Their fruit flavors are the best – like peach and pineapple – but I love their coconut ice cream, too. The best thing about Udderly Delicious? If you know enough to ask, “What’s in the freezer?” you’ll get a great deal ($2.50 a pint!) on the leftovers from the last ice cream run. That’s why we always make sure we have room in the travel trailer freezer when we’re getting ready to leave the campground and head for home. If only they had Yellow Cake Batter . . .
|That cow is calling my name.|
Speaking of the freezer, I have a confession to make. When we were out in Oregon a couple of years ago, we were at a local grocery store in eastern Oregon and noticed that the Tillamook Creamery (a well-respected maker of cheese in the Pacific Northwest) also had a line of ice cream. The flavor selection was extremely appealing and so we bought a couple of containers. Omigosh! It was SO good! Being from the Northeast, we’ve been fans of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for years. B&J Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch had the biggest pieces of Heath bar (outside of a whole candy bar itself) mixed into the wonderfully rich vanilla ice cream, and their Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz was a smooth combination of two of my favorite taste treats – coffee (the elixir of life!) and ice cream. Besides, who could resist ice cream with a name like Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz?! Honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever taste anything comparable. But, as we enjoyed our very first dish of ice cream from the Tillamook Creamery, I knew that Ben & Jerry’s had met its match. It was love at first bite. Knowing that Tillamook wasn’t sold in the Northeast, we carefully managed our food supply to use up what was in the freezer before we left Oregon. And then we packed the thing full of Tillamook ice cream. Woo-hoo! We’d be set for months. Or, at least, weeks!
|The Oregon Dark Cherry is to die for!|
So now that you know (without a doubt) exactly how I feel about ice cream, I trust that you’ll understand why I was thrilled to learn about the Pennsylvania "Pursue Your Scoops" Ice Cream Trail. (I’ll bet you were wondering when I was going to get around to this part, weren’t you?) “VisitPA.com,” Pennsylvania’s official tourism site, has partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to present the 2nd annual Pursue Your Scoops Ice Cream Trail. This year, three Trails were created – one in Western Pennsylvania, one in the South Central portion of the state and one in Eastern Pennsylvania. Participating ice cream stands are all hand-selected Pennsylvania creameries with the locations ranging from urban to rural. (I wonder who selected them. I wish it had been me. Can you imagine all the delicious research that would have been required?!) Here’s the really cool part. (Get it? “Cool” part?) If you visit five stops on any of the Trails between now and September 2nd, you’ll earn yourself a Pursue Your Scoops t-shirt! And, if you visit all of the stops on a Trail, you’ll earn a t-shirt and a Pursue Your Scoops ice cream bowl! This sounded like so much fun to me that I really wanted to share it with you. If you’d like to learn more about the Pursue Your Scoops Ice Cream Trail, download your Summer 2019 Passports (on which you can keep track of your visits) and find out which Pennsylvania creameries are participating in this summer-long event, check out the VisitPA web site (link HERE). Hey, if you’re going to treat yourself to ice cream when you’re in Pennsylvania anyway, you might as well keep track of your stops and earn some prizes. Just remember to order an XXXXXXXL t-shirt!
So, fellow ice cream lovers, what’s your favorite brand and/or favorite flavor of ice cream? Slurp up that dribble running down the side of your cone and jump in with a comment below. Inquiring minds want to know!
In case you’re wondering about the lack of photos in this post, please understand that once ice cream appears in front of me, there’s very little I think about until I’m finished with the last yummy bite. So, very few photos. What can I say? I’m incorrigible.