Sunday, August 22, 2010

Food writers reminisce about ice cream around the world, from Saveur

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer, from Saveur edition 52
I just stumbled across this beautiful collection of vignettes from writers around the world, reminiscing about memorable ice cream run-ins.  I hope this blog becomes a wider, richer version of this kind of story.  Here are two of my favorites - and notice how the second one hints at the historical roots of the relative dearth of good ice cream in the UK, despite its renowned dairy industry.

Mexico: Frozen Dinner
The tropical ice creams of Puebla are so alluring that I once made an entire dinner out of nothing else. The meal began at Tepoznieves, a wildly colorful shop near the main square. My appetizer was fig ice cream dotted with bits of candied fig and spiked with mescal. The main course followed: tequila ice cream—as white as a cloud—with tangy passion fruit ice. The passion fruit was so refreshing that I had to have two more scoops. For dessert, I walked around the corner to La Flor de Michoacan for a Popsicle-like paleta of guanábana, or soursop, which tastes like a highly perfumed blend of apple and pear. Luscious. And for the road? A mango paleta, as nice a nightcap as I have ever had. —Barbara Hansen

England: Postwar Treat
I began eating ice cream in London in 1947. Ice cream distribution had been banned during World War II and for a time afterward, to save fuel, and it was consequently available only at shops where the owners made the ice cream themselves. Although the quality was rather poor, it tasted simply delicious to me. I'd go to such a shop and get a sandwich of two wafers enclosing a slice from a neapolitan brick; it was called a slider, because if you squeezed it too hard the middle would slide right out. The slider evolved from an earlier ice cream called the hokey pokey, a neapolitan slice wrapped in paper. The vendors who sold it were Italian, and they'd cry, "Ecco un poco" (Here is a little)—which, in the Cockney accent of the customers, became "hokey pokey". —Robin Weir


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