Y’all may have guessed it, but July 19 is a major day in my universe:
It’s National Ice Cream Day.
President Reagan signed National Ice Cream Day into law in 1984, long before I was born, but, once I had that first taste of ice cream when I was 2 and I said “more!”, my parents joked that July 19 should be like my other birthday.
(My real birthday is November 8. Just thought I’d toss that in lol.)
A lot of ice cream places used to have special deals for National Ice Cream Day, but that’s kinda gotten fucked up with COVID-19 ruining everything for everybody. If you owned an ice cream shop, you wouldn’t want to try managing a whole line outside your store with social distancing guidelines. And, believe me, some places can have crazy lines outside if they give out free ice cream. I remember the year I was in North Carolina, Udderly Delicious was giving out free ice cream cones for July 19, 2016, and, even in a little place like Hickory, there was a line around the block. I got to know some of the people who worked at Udderly Delicious, and they swore that they’d never do that again, even if it was National Ice Cream Day.
So I told y’all a couple weeks ago that my favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry, and that my favorite way to have ice cream is a strawberry sundae, just strawberry topping and whipped cream. Although maybe I improved on that last week, when I was making a sundae at Joyce’s, and I thought maybe I’d try a squirt of sweetened condensed milk on the strawberry ice cream along with the strawberry topping and whipped cream (and of course the cherry.)
Y’all gotta try it . Seriously. You got no idea how good it was. It totally kicks a plain hot fudge sundae’s ass.
If there’s something I learned by living in Southern California, it’s that putting sweetened condensed milk on ice cream is freakin bombass. Sweetened condensed milk is a big latino thing, I understand. Back when we were going to the batting cages and life was still normal, Aracely told me that I needed to try leche condensada on my ice cream. I told her I already knew about it. Lucas sounded interested until he found out how many calories the stuff has. I told him you don’t need to put a shitload on…it’s not like you can eat it with a spoon…(Eric: “oh yeah?”)…but y’all know how Lucas is about nutrition. He was that way even when I first met him…before the dieticians at baseball camp got him totally crazed and I had to hold him down and force him to eat a strawberry sundae after he made it as a starter this year.
(Or would have made it as a starter if COVID hadn’t totally fucked that up for him.)
How else do I like eating ice cream? I’m not headed back to North Carolina any time soon, but I actually have had dreams about Udderly Delicious’ Moo-on Pie Sundaes. The ones we made on Christmas Eve at Joyce’s when her jerkoffass brother was there were awesome, don’t get me wrong…but the original at the shop in Hickory was even better. It was probably the ice cream. Trader Joe’s is handy and they have some good shit, but their ice cream isn’t the best thing they make. And the homemade ice cream at Udderly Delicious is some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
So, next time you happen to find yourselves in Hickory, give Udderly Delicious a try. Tell ‘em Heartthrob sent you…and see if my picture’s still on the wall of ‘celebrities’ they have. (No…really…they do have a wall…and the owners are big ‘Dads fans, so they put up pictures of the players on the team who are regular customers. Yeah, there’s a picture of Slater, too. Or at least there was. Maybe they’ve taken them down. It has been 4 years…although, last time I heard, the picture of me with my free haircut was still up in the salon in Hickory.)
What’re my other favorite flavors of ice cream? Pistachio…and…don’t think I’m a dorkass for saying this…vanilla. But I mean good vanilla. The best ice cream cone there is is Baskin Robbins french vanilla with chocolate sprinkles.
Oh, and a salute to ice cream wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention strawberries romanoff the way they make it at Justen and Luke’s up in Santa Barbara. It’s pretty simple: vanilla ice cream, these special tiny strawberries they get, whipped cream and a spoon of strawberry eau-de-vie (thanks Luke for the spelling of that lol). Super simple. And fuckin amazing. The only thing is that you need to make your own vanilla ice cream like the cook does at Justen’s.
It may sound funny to y’all, but I don’t really know how you make ice cream. Meemaw had an old-fashioned ice cream churner maker thing when she and Papaw were still living on the farm, but she said she wasn’t going to stand there and turn no crank for half an hour just so I could have ice cream. If I was so gung-ho on making my own ice cream, I was gonna have to the handle myself. I was a little boy when this happened…probably around 6…and of course I messed up. I always had a good arm, but my 6 year old arm wasn’t no match for an ice cream maker and I couldn’t crank fast enough. Finally Meemaw took the thing away from me and ended up doing most of the churning, but it was too late when she took over and her heart really wasn’t in it. We got something that kinda looked like ice cream when we were done, but it wasn’t very good.
And it prejudiced me against homemade ice cream. For the next year or so, every time Meemaw gave me ice cream, I always asked if it was homemade or store bought…because I liked store bought so much better.
That weekend at Justen’s was the first time that I discovered that homemade ice cream could be so good. But Luke took me ‘backstage’ to see the kitchen and the ice cream machine they have there. It looked nothing like the machine Meemaw had – I reckon y’all could have guessed that – and it was all elecronic and probably a professional model like you’d have in a restaurant kitchen. But then everything in the kitchen at Justen’s looked like something you’d find in a restaurant kitchen.
So go grab yourselves some ice cream today. It sure is hot enough outside when I’m writing this. As for me, I’m gonna celebrate by breaking a Block family rule: I’m gonna have ice cream twice today. I’m having a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake bar out of the freezer just as soon as I post this…and I’m introducing Keaton to the strawberry sundae with leche condensada after we get Wingstop for dinner tonight.
He’d better not tell me it’s gayass…