I love Blue Bell ice cream.
Not because it’s the best ice cream out there (in truth, it’s not as great as it once was), and not because it’s all-natural or healthy or fancy-schmancy (because it definitely isn’t).
Don’t get me wrong; it’s pretty delicious. But I love it—really, really love it– because it has magical powers: a single spoonful transports me right back to my childhood. More specifically, it sends me straight to the beach on South Padre Island with my dad. For one solid week every April, we spent our mornings (and a good part of our afternoons) swimming. When we were sunburned and starving, we’d retreat to our hotel for lunch and big bowls full of Blue Bell ice cream, which was a really special treat because it wasn’t—and, alas, still isn’t—available at home in Colorado.
Fast forward a decade and a half. When Dmitri and I learned that we were moving to Florida, the only thing I wasn’t apprehensive about was availability of my favorite ice cream. In our first month there, I definitely gained some Blue Bell weight. I blame it on loneliness– and Banana Pudding, Cookies and Cream, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. And, when my midwife suggested that I gain a few more pounds before Lily’s arrival, I did—plus several extra, for good measure—in one weekend. What can I say? Groom’s Cake was spectacular.
Because Mississippi is still Blue Bell country, I feel absolutely compelled to walk down the frozen food aisle every time I’m in a grocery store. I simply have to know which flavors are in, and I’m a total sucker for the ones that are only seasonally available. Dmitri calls this window shopping, and he teases me regularly about my “habit.”
Except yesterday, when I came home with a half gallon of their latest: Mardi Gras. There was no teasing this time.
First of all, it really is as purple as it looks. And it’s almond flavored, with an Amaretto swirl and lots of yellow, green, and pink sprinkles. Practically a party in a carton. Absolutely, positively delicious. Even Dmitri, who easily resists sweets, declared that he was in love. After dinner, we each had a huge bowl full. And for a few minutes, I was 10 years old and back on the beach in Texas with my Dad.
When Dmitri wasn’t looking, I snuck back into the kitchen for another spoonful.
But it wasn’t for me. I had a feeling that Dad was hungry.