May 25, 2009

Britain's First National Ice Cream Week

Celebrating ice cream is done by many people every day all over the world - just eating an ice cream cone whilst walking in the park is a great example. Recognising the importance of ice cream is, I believe, very important; after all, it's a part of our cultural heritage and for many people is a great 'escapist' food - I've yet to see anyone with an ice cream cone that doesn't smile at some point in the experience!

Imagine a world without ice cream? No thanks, that would be incredibly dull!

Q: So how do we recognise the importance of ice cream?
Q: How do we say: "Thank you ice cream for making life that little bit extra special" ?
A: We have special ice cream days!

In the USA of course there's been a tradition of National Ice Cream Month (July) and National Ice Cream Day (3rd Sunday in July) since Ronald Reagan was in office - back in 1984 he proclaimed National Ice Cream Month an official, annual celebration. Nice one Mr. President! But what about other countries?

Well, although it's not been endorsed (as yet!) by the British Government or HM The Queen, 2009 sees a "National Ice Cream Week" for the first time in Britain. Admittedly, it's the brainchild of a British ice cream manufacturer who undoubtedly is looking to see their sales increase, but hopefully during the week of 1 June people all over Britain will enter the spirit of the idea and enjoy some of the fun that ice cream offers. I shall watch with interest how the British react to this new idea. Hopefully, they will embrace it and demand that we celebrate with an even more special week in the summer of 2010.

As one of my favorite singers James Taylor occasionally sings:

"If you're down and troubled and you need a helpin' hand .... and nothing is going right ...."

My advice? Go get some ice cream!
Moreover, make your own ice cream if you can, it's not that difficult. Here are some of my easy ice cream recipes.

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May 19, 2009

Beach Ice Cream

Eating ice cream on the beach .... what a wonderful picture that conjures up in the mind. Children and adults alike love eating ice cream by the sea.

Why is that? Well, let's take a look at it.

To my way of thinking there are a few reasons for this but the main 3 main reasons are:
  1. Most of us go on a beach when it's sunny and warm and on a warm day an ice cream is a really welcome treat - cool and refreshing.
  2. Eating ice cream can be a bit messy. Let's face it, how many of us have never dripped an ice cream cone onto our clothes? I don't see many hands up in the air for that one! So where better to not worry about messing up your clothes than when you're on the beach - most people are in their casual clothes or swimwear so it's not a big deal to clean up any ice cream that's gone astray.
  3. On many beaches, even on those without major facilities for buying food and drink, you can usually find an ice cream seller that comes by during the day. Sometimes on foot but very often in a small motorised ice cream cart, these ice cream sellers doing a roaring trade.
Here's a photograph of one in Zandvoort where the beach stretches for miles on end, giving the ice cream seller a vast sales patch. It must be good business - look at how well organised this ice cream seller is with a tractor and beautifully attractive pink ice cream cart. Hard to resist!

Zandvoort, like many other seaside resorts, is abundant with opportunities to eat ice cream off the beach as well.

It has some great ice cream parlours and some of the best ice cream display cones I've ever seen.

If you know of a great beach for ice cream and want to share it with others I have left this post open to comments. No junk mail please - this is a serious blog for people seriously interested in ice cream. Thank you on behalf of all the good bloggers that are out there!

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May 13, 2009

Ice Cream Vans Threatened With Ban - What Do You Think?

On Monday I wrote a blog post called "The Prospect: No More Ice Cream Trucks On Our Streets" and yesterday I was asked by the BBC to join in a radio debate about the threat that currently exists in some parts of the UK to ban ice cream vendors from having licences to park in residential streets to sell their ice cream.

The reaction from not only myself but others taking part including the radio presenter himself was that it is an absurd idea. People also called in afterwards and sent text messages to the same effect. No-one said anything to the contrary! Such is the strong feeling that people have when it comes to ice cream, especially the ice cream van (in the US of course it's the ice cream truck).

As my friend Mary said to me this morning:

"Not only do they supply ice-cream, but they form a social function. They provide a touch of humanity amongst the welter of anonymous traffic."

However, there is always the risk that politicians and policy makers don't listen to 'the common man'. Therefore I'm going to open up this post to comments and invite you to cast your vote:


Please no junk - only serious comments from people interested in ice cream. Thank you.

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May 11, 2009

The Prospect: No More Ice Cream Trucks On Our Streets

It was with total disbelief that I read a news item the other day about how in Britain there is a move towards banning ice cream trucks from parking in residential streets to sell their ice cream. Crazy or what?!

Apparently, some local councils are fearful that ice cream trucks may cause a public nuisance and could even contribute to childhood obesity. So some are no longer issuing street vending licences to ice cream sellers.

I grew up looking forward every week to the ice cream truck coming down our street, parking within easy walking distance of our house and being allowed by my parents to go and enjoy a special treat of a vanilla ice cream cone sometimes smothered in raspberry sauce or with a chocolate flake. The memories come flooding back as I begin to reminisce. Some of the happiest days of my childhood were ice cream days like that. Moreover, I didn't become obese as a result!

I know I'm not alone in my feelings too - many people eat an ice cream cone and can't help but smile as they do so, recalling fond memories of enjoying ice cream when they were younger. Then there are movies where eating ice cream cones is portrayed as no less than a part of our cultural heritage - take for example 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' (1951 original with Michael Rennie). There's a scene where the man from outer space spends a day out in Washington getting a taste of what human life is about and he gets to eat an ice cream cone. Speaking of Washington, President Obama has a love ice cream that he's happy to share with his family, as witnessed last year during the presidential elections. Read about it in my US Presidents and Ice Cream blog post and also how Senator McCain reacted excitedly upon hearing an ice cream truck whilst he was out campaigning. Very pointedly, none of the people mentioned are obese.

So come on Britain, let some common sense prevail please and leave the ice cream man alone!

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May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Ice Cream

Most countries have a 'Mother's Day'. In Britain it's in March each year yet in the USA it's in May - this year 10 May is the day.

I'm not going to linger over any complicated suggestions of what to do on Mother's Day this year, simply to say that if your mother likes ice cream, you could do worse than to give her a special ice cream surprise.

Make some homemade ice cream fresh that morning - such as vanilla ice cream - or take her out to an ice cream parlor for a special ice cream sundae. It doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to be a great big serving of ice cream. Then again if she really likes ice cream sundaes then order her something like a Knickerbocker Glory! Just as long as i'ts something you know she likes.

After all, Mother's Day is about showing that you care and how better to do that than recognise that she deserves a little treat occasionally. That's the magic of ice cream!

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May 4, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream - Great DIY

If you ever thought that DIY (Do It Yourself) was restricted to putting up some new shelves or installing new garage doors think again because DIY also applies to foods that you might never think of making for yourself ... but can!

Let's face it, when most people think of ice cream they think of going out to buy a pack of Ben & Jerry's or Walls (or one of many others depending upon which country you live in). Few people actually stop and think about making their own homemade ice cream. Yet it's not that difficult. Granted, it's easier with an ice cream maker but you can also make ice cream without an ice cream maker. What's more, when you make ice cream yourself it always tastes better and it's such a satisfying experience.

So if you've ever done any DIY around your house or garden but never made ice cream, think of it like this .... just as you get a kick out of seeing those shelves installed and carrying your books or dvds with the satisfying knowledge that you've done it yourself, imagine eating a bowl of delicious, fresh ice cream made by your own fair hand. Now that's what I call 'tasty' DIY!

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