Something amazing happens when you enter your second year at St Catharine’s college. Not only are we considered mature enough (ahem) to live away from the main site, in the far-flung land that is West Road, but the catering facilities are upgraded, and we are treated to freezers. Considering that first-year gyp rooms consisted of little more than a fridge and unreliable microwave, this is somewhat of a revelation. Think of all the possibilities – chips in twenty minutes, frozen fruit whizzed up into a milkshake… These have all been very convenient, but one culinary delight tops them all: ice cream!
There is something magic about ice cream. However I feel, whatever I crave, there is always an ice cream out there, ready to satisfy my needs. We all know that a Mr Whippy at the seaside is a must, and that a scoop of vanilla atop a steaming slice of apple pie is a heaven-made match, but ice cream can offer so much more! Whether you want silliness or sophistication, comfort or a crazy adventure, there is an ice cream to serve your every whim.
Few foods are more nostalgic than a bowl of vanilla, preferably with one of those fan-shaped wafers that taste of cardboard, and hundreds and thousands which always jet out of the pot too fast. Wasn’t this super-sweet, additive-charged dessert always the best bit of the birthday parties we went to when we were seven? Ice cream brings back memories: it’s Viennetta which takes my mum back to her childhood, while my grandparents always nod approvingly at homemade strawberry ice cream. ‘This is how they used to make it!’ they exclaim, triumphantly spooning a piece of real strawberry out of their soft scoop. Alternatively, ice cream can take you on a journey. Take a trip to the Middle East with matcha-flavoured ice cream, go to America with peanut butter, or be patriotic with raspberry ripple. More of a dare-devil? A cone of charcoal ice cream is a sure way to excite your taste buds… and be very popular on Instagram!
Today’s gelaticians (that’s someone who specialises in ice cream. It’s my Plan B.) know that everyone loves ice cream. For the young (or young at heart), there are tubs loaded with brownie bits and cookie dough, while Magnum and Häagen-Dazs cater for the more sophisticated connoisseur. Every pocket is kept happy: luxury ice creams, leaving little change from £5, are perfect for a blow-out, but those on a tighter budget can still get their fix of the frozen stuff with supermarket-own options.
Think ice cream is only for hot summer afternoons? Absolutely not. Christmas pudding or orange- flavours make the perfect end to any festive meal. And who said it can only be for dessert? Ice cream, spooned straight from the tub, is sometimes the only solution to those Bridget Jones-worthy moments of need. Nowadays, moreover, ice cream needn’t be a guilty pleasure: with more fro yos on the market than ever before, and rising sales of vegan, dairy-free and high-protein options, ice cream is basically a superfood! And I’m convinced Heston was trying to tell us that it’s acceptable to eat ice cream for breakfast when Waitrose launched his marmalade on toast ice cream.
So, let’s commend the cone and give a shout out for soft scoop, because there is one thing that’s certain – ice cream is pretty cool.