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I grew up with large buckets of ice cream as a mainstay in the freezer. My mom would buy a few at a time when they were on sale and stick them in the deep freeze in the garage. We had an appreciation and expectation for dessert every night – why else would we finish the main course? The ice cream was there in case there was no fresh baking on hand, and also to feed my brother’s obsession with the stuff.
I recall being in elementary school when a new family moved in across the street. They had moved from the city so were automatically imbued with an air of sophistication. Their mom told us about Haagen-Dazs ice cream. It came in a small cardboard container and had very few ingredients – maybe six (which I have since confirmed to be only five: Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Coffee). This woman’s favourite flavour was coffee. I’m not sure what inspired my mom, but she hunted it down at Safety Mart (our town’s larger of the two grocery stores – the other was called Perry’s Place and boasted only three aisles) and brought home one of the wee containers. I took one spoonful of that divine concoction and one of the more stable relationships in my life was born.
Mention to dinner guests that you have ‘only’ Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream for dessert and their eyes will light up with delight. Last night we had friends over and I tried a new dessert recipe of sliced apples stacked with a crumble between each slice. They smelled delicious baking away in the oven and also when they came out, but when we added the coffee ice cream the angels sang and I became Hostess Extraordinaire.
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Reuben and Rose Matteus from the Bronx for your sweet, sweet frozen creamy dessert. I happily take responsibility for burning off all 18g of fat per ½ cup serving of this accessible ambrosia located in the frozen foods aisle of my local grocer.