Store Bought Ice Cream

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When I was growing up, on occasion, we ate store-bought ice cream, and while summertime is normal ice cream eatin’ time, my family ate ours in the dead of winter. That’s right. on the coldest, bleakest winter days, we sat round the wood-heating stove and ate ice cream. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but I see other people eating ice cream during winter but the ones I see live in Sunny California – not cold, icy, Southern Arkansas.

We ate ice cream in the summer, but it was somewhat rare. When we did, it was the soft, delicious ice cream cone, but seems like ice cream eaten during a long, hard winter turns out to be the best eating.

I have a little theory as to why we ate packaged ice cream during the winter. I sort of believe it was because if we bought ice cream in the summer, as far as we lived from town, it probably would have been melted into a gallon of “milk shake” by the time we got home. That may not be true, but that is my take on it.

Here’s what I remember about winter ice cream eating. If it snowed during the cold season, we ate snow ice cream. During the cold months when there was no snow, Dad (who loved ice cream himself) felt that all of us needed a special treat from the grocer uptown, so he bought Neapolitan – the half-gallon, three flavors. It had chocolate (my mother’s favorite); vanilla every body’s favorite; and strawberry – my favorite, second only to vanilla.

When Dad brought the ice cream home, it was still pretty much frozen in its original packaged condition. With it like that, it had to be sliced. It was quite comical, because we sliced the different colors of the ice cream as though they were pieces of cake. It had to be done quite meticulously in order to get only the flavor that each of us wanted. So, like cake, we had slices of ice cream. Dad took a sharp knife and carefully sliced between each flavor trying not to get too much of one flavor onto the other. Then, he doled out to each of us a decent portion of our favorite flavor. So with a half-gallon of ice cream, we had enough to satisfy our winter, ice cream tastebuds.

Whenever we ate ice cream, the room was roaring hot. That way, for a minute, it was summertime inside but still cold, wintertime outside. And for us, summer or winter was ice cream eatin’ time.