April 13, 2021

As I was leaving the park yesterday an ice cream truck drove in and slowly went past the playground.   I was surprised because this was not one of the usual trucks I see in my neighborhood.  This looked more like a food truck, although it did have pictures of kids playing and ice cream treats painted on the sides.  My neighborhood trucks are smaller and usually sell the treats out of the side door.  Another difference is they are accompanied by music, which this truck did not have.  The music meant you heard the truck coming from a distance and are given the anticipation of trying to figure out which street the truck is on.  Then you can be ready when the truck slowly moves down your street.  Anticipation is half the fun.

The origins of ice cream can be traced back to at least the 4th century BCE.  Early references include the Roman emperor Nero (37-68 CE), who ordered ice to be brought from the mountains and combined it with fruit toppings.  King Tang (618-97 CE) of Shang, China had a method of creating ice and milk concoctions and making Ice cream treats was likely brought from China back to Europe.  Over time, recipes for ices, sherbets, and milk ices evolved and were served in the fashionable Italian and French royal courts.  After the dessert was imported to the US, it was served by notables such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Dolly Madison (not the cupcake) served it in 1812 while she was First Lady of the US.   Sundaes are the occasional treat Melissa and I grab late night from the Sonic.

When I went online one of the sites that jumped out was the high calorie nature of many of these treats.  While there are low-cal options and sorbets, some go in the opposite direction.  The Oreo Layered Sundae at Baskin Robbins is crammed with fat-packed bits and pieces.  On top of Oreo cookies, there is hot fudge, marshmallows, and whipped cream.  The sundae tops out at 1,330 calories, or over half the amount most people need in a day, and that does not mention the 146 grams of sugar it contains.  On the other end of the spectrum, a small scoop (1/2 cup) of Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream has 160 calories.  My immediate thought was who only eats a half cup of ice cream?  As I read through the site the author asked the same question.

Thoughts:  I was near a turnaround in the park and when the truck got to me it circled and headed back toward the playground.  This time the children were ready, and the truck was soon surrounded by children and adults.   Even though it was the dinner hour, everyone thought it was a good idea to get a treat.  When I attended college in Berkeley there was an ice cream shop about a half mile from the campus.  Whenever the Alums came into town, we would all walk down to Fenton’s for ice cream.   I recall the Jumbo Special they served was another huge sundae.  I contained 15 scoops of different kinds of ice cream.  It was a treat shared by the group.   When we decide it is time for a treat, we also make a choice.  We can choose to eat the 1,330 calories or the 160 calories.  We choose to eat 15 scoops or the ½ cup.  We choose to wear a mask and social distance, or we deny the virus even exists.  It is your choice.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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