The death of strawberry ice cream

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Over the past couple of years I have noticed the gradual disappearance of strawberry ice cream at the grocery stores in my area. At first I put it down to the awful, fantastically out-of-date, cramped, mismanaged Safeways that surround us. But then I noticed that other stores in the metro area were similarly devoid of strawberry. The other morning I was in a Harris Teeter near my office and I saw the Edy’s delivery guy. I took a quick look at their freezer case and sure enough, no strawberry. So I asked the delivery man what was up with strawberry. He told me that Edy’s still makes it but that no one on his route orders it anymore.

That. Is. So. Sad.

Now, before you think I am loony toons, let me just say that strawberry ice cream is not necessarily my favorite flavor. But sometimes I get a crazy craving for it and all other flavors pale in comparison. I should also note that not just any ice cream will do. I crave the kind that is so perfectly melty by the time you get it home from the store that the top layer under the lid is sheer perfection. Premium brands will not work–not enough air. No Ben and Jerry’s, no Haagen-Dazs. Mid market Breyer’s (not to be confused with Edy’s sister brand Dreyer’s) is just god awful in any flavor. Its mouth feel and lack of creaminess is just the worst. Some store brands can do in a pinch, but they lean too much to the artificial side. Although I haven’t had it for a long time, my guess is the Kemp’s of my Minnesota childhood would probably still fit the bill as would home-delivered (in some markets) Schwann’s. But none of those are feasible on a regular basis.

Even if I didn’t have a brand preference I’ve noticed lately that I can’t find strawberry at the grocery store at all. Not premium, not store brand, not any brand. So these days I am pretty much limited to getting the occasional scoop at an actual ice cream shop. This can work, but it isn’t quite the same thing (see above, re: melty bit under the lid).

Tonight I went to pick up a sandwich for dinner. (John’s out of town, the kitchen counters were sealed today and can’t be used until tomorrow.) The place I go for sammies has ice cream and lo and behold they had strawberry. So while I waited for them to make my order I sat down outside and had double scoop. (Yes, before dinner.) Today was the first day we haven’t had rain in about a bazillion days so it was really nice to kick back and enjoy some strawberry ice cream in the early evening sunshine. The product itself was just so-so It is a local brand that isn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite right. As I sat there eating it I began thinking about the Trickling Springs Dairy shop at Union Market in DC. It’s a great food venue with lots of great outlets but it is nowhere near our house and kind of a big pain in the butt to get to. I was fantasizing about someone opening a Trickling Springs shop in our neck of the woods which led to me fantasizing about some of the other Union Market offerings moving up here as well, none of which will happen.

Even though it wasn’t perfect, the cup of strawberry hit the spot and cheered me up to no end. Then I began to walk back to my car and was passing our neighborhood cinema when I noticed that their little coffee shop/concession stand had a sign that said “TRICKLING SPRINGS ICE CREAM”! My first thought was “Damn, I just had inferior ice cream.” My second thought was “Who the hell cares, this is Trickling Springs.” So I went inside and got a cup of cookies and cream. Again, all prior to having dinner.

The irony of the situation is that I didn’t even notice if they had strawberry. I had already scratched that itch I guess. There’s always next time. So I guess the moral of the story is so what if my childhood has disappeared from the giant, chain, grocery stores. As long as mom and pop are still making ice cream there is a pretty good chance I will still be able to get what I need. And I probably don’t need half gallon tubs of it in my home anyway.

19 thoughts on “The death of strawberry ice cream

  1. Kateg May 24, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Enjoyed this post despite my one and only food allergy being strawberries! Brought me back to college days when ice cream was dinner as 5 of us lived 2 blocks from a Swensen’s ice cream parlor. We didn’t even bother with the facade of a sandwich.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thomas May 26, 2016 / 1:32 pm

      I know the feeling. Your comment makes me remember my college days when I lived across the street from a really fantastic local ice cream shop in Minneapolis.

      Like

  2. Jennifer Dee May 25, 2016 / 3:25 am

    I live on the coast of Cornwall where ice cream is sold in every grocery shop. My granddaughter favourite is strawberry but mine s Cornish vanilla ice cream which has clotted cream in it which is seriously gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen K. May 25, 2016 / 9:42 am

    I was never a fan of strawberry ice cream because I usually only found vanilla with chunks of frozen strawberry in it — true strawberry ice cream has strawberry through and through (chunks optional — in fact, I prefer it smooth).

    The best strawberry ice cream I’ve had in recent years was at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor/lunch counter called Beaches and Cream at a Disneyworld resort. My daughter and I shared a banana split and the ice cream was amazing but the strawberry was by far the best. It was so good we went back the next day for sundaes. I was sure it was made in-house but the counter staff told me it was Edy’s (or Dreyer’s? depends on what part of the country you’re in) but nevertheless I’ve never had strawberry ice cream that good from a supermarket.

    Like

    • Thomas May 26, 2016 / 1:34 pm

      See! I am not crazy Edy’s/Dreyer’s is really yummy strawberry. They also make great mint chip and at the holidays their Peppermint Stick isn’t bad–but not as good as the brands from my childhood.

      Like

  4. Kate W May 25, 2016 / 10:31 am

    A double scoop BEFORE dinner is the best.
    Your post reminded me of a childhood visit to Florence, Italy when my dad declared a day Gelato Day. That’s all we ate – breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper and snacks. Best. Day. And guess which flavour stood out? Strawberry of course.

    Like

    • Thomas May 26, 2016 / 1:31 pm

      I should clarify: it was a double scoop of strawberry followed by a single scoop of cookies and cream.

      For me in Italy, every day is gelato day. Although that doesn’t keep me from eating other foods. I became an expert at which stands had good gelato just by looking at it. I can spot the right shine and creaminess from a mile away.

      Also, you may have noticed in Florence that the prices got higher the closer you get to the Ponte Vecchio. Back in the days of the lira I realized that one of my cones cost $8.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate W May 26, 2016 / 11:28 pm

        I’m glad you clarified 😀 and it’s a great skill to be able to spot the good gelato from a mile off.

        Like

  5. Desperate Reader May 25, 2016 / 10:55 am

    Make your own? It’s my favourite flavour to make because a) it’s easy, and b) I love the creamy, sherbety, kick of home made strawberry ice cream

    Like

    • Thomas May 26, 2016 / 1:35 pm

      I do love homemade ice cream, but have never actually made it myself. I fear opening that particular Pandora’s churn.

      Like

  6. quinn May 25, 2016 / 11:10 am

    Perfect! ‘over iris murdock?” and lack of strawberry ice cream..back to back…where else can this much fun be had. Thank u Thomas!
    quinn

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Chris May 25, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    I LOVED this piece! And loved how you had ice cream twice before dinner! Now I want a strawberry ice cream cone! 🙂

    Like

  8. Darklittle May 26, 2016 / 10:50 am

    We recently started eating strawberry ice cream at our local ice cream parlor just because it isn’t as sweet as most other ice cream flavors they offer. And we noticed that we haven’t had strawberry in years. I think a lot of people just forget it’s there with all those new flavors popping up every season. (Oh, and thank God, they still sell strawberry ice cream everywhere over here)

    Like

    • Thomas May 26, 2016 / 1:37 pm

      You are right about the new flavors pushing out the old. I guess to be popular these days they need to have lots of mix-ins.

      Like

  9. Susan in TX May 26, 2016 / 11:02 am

    Life is short…good to see someone practicing this adage and actually eating dessert first. 🙂 I’ve noticed this – not with strawberry ice cream, but with other things. For example, cream peas. We haven’t been able to find them anywhere in over 10 years, and they were once a staple of my childhood. In the summer, we got them fresh from my grandmother’s garden, but they used to be available in the frozen section of the grocery store for fall/winter. Now, nowhere. Who are these food police that decide what we can no longer eat??

    Like

    • Thomas May 26, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      I had never heard of cream peas so I had to look them up. At first I thought you said cream pies, but couldn’t figure out how those came our of your grandmother’s garden.

      As you probably know, they are a legume like a black-eyed pea and they can be purchases dried from Camellia OR frozen from Pictsweet.

      http://www.pictsweet.com/our-products/creme-peas-white-acre

      Thank you for bringing this almost forgotten bit of food to my attention.

      Like

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