Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day…me and ice cream, we go way back. Breyer’s ice cream – the original – was a special treat when I visited my grandparents. When I was little she still had a milk man who delivered milk and ice cream to the metal box that sat outside her door. It wasn’t only a summer treat; we had it year-round. She had special dishes for it, small etched glassware that I only ever saw her use for ice cream. She may have used them for other foods when I wasn’t looking, but to me they will always be her ice cream bowls.
My first job was as a “Ho-Jo to-go girl” at Howard Johnson’s. It was perhaps my favorite job ever because I got to make all of the desserts for the other waitstaff. Trainees always started on the counter and then usually moved on to the floor. Tips were better on the floor, but I resisted. I loved my regular customers and looked forward seeing them. Like the man who came in every day and asked me to order something for him. I am fairly certain he could not read. If he ordered for himself he just pointed to something on the menu and said, “I’ll have that.” He’d had his share of troubles, but he had a great outlook on life…I loved to hear his tales.
HoJos had 32 flavors of ice cream. I sampled every one of them. It was, after all, my duty to be able to properly describe to any customer how they tasted, their finer flavor nuances. Right? At the time, Peppermint was my favorite.
At home I love to make my own ice cream. I don’t do it often, and to be honest it has been over a year – perhaps even closer to two years – since I last made homemade ice cream. I have experimented with many flavors over the years. A few of my favorites: Dark Chocolate with figs (in a reduced port); Coffee with swirls of toffee pieces; Coconut – a vegan ice cream which is perhaps the easiest ice cream of all to make – only 3 ingredients!
But if I had to pick my absolute favorite flavor, I would have to go with vanilla…yep, plain old vanilla. Why? Because it really is not just ‘plain old vanilla’. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. I love to top it with the slightest dusting of chipotle powder and sliced peaches, a drizzle of honey and a shot of Grand Marnier. Sometimes with some toffee pecans or walnuts crumbled on top. Heaven…
Another favorite is Cherries with brandy on top. In fact, I am looking forward to trying the Brandied Cherries I made earlier in the month over some vanilla ice cream…Mmmm, perhaps with some dark chocolate.
I realize these are not hot fudge sundaes; however, they are beautiful ways to enjoy ice cream. So go on out there and grab your favorite flavor, be it homemade, store-bought or straight from your local creamery. It’s hot out there…go cool off!!