The ice cream theory is one of those books you read when you are in the mood for something light and humorous but not belly aching hysterical. It takes life and looks at it in a manner that frankly I never would have, as kinds of ice cream. Inside this small book with a tasty looking strawberry (or is that raspberry) cone dripping on the front, is the tale of a woman and how ice cream began to be an obsession for her.
I could really relate to this book on a lot of levels. I remember in my small home town there was this little diner (and when I say little, I men it maybe sat a dozen people) which had the most wonderful butter brickle ice cream cones! And it wasn’t enough that they were cones, they were double dipper cones. Two glorious scoops side by side just begging “eat me first!” I remember how on a hot summers day I would count the steps it took, trying to keep my cool and walk to Chiz Smith’s for that luscious bite of summer, but how I’d break into a run when I saw the diner. Now, 40 something years later, I found a store that sold butter brickle ice cream and though it was good, it wasn’t like I remember it. It was a little too sweet and didn’t have enough “brickle” inside to make me happy. A childhood memory came to an end.
As author Steff Deschenes explains it to the reader, as we go through life, our preferences for ice cream change, At first I was thinking “no way! I just like a little variety now and then.” Then I began to look back on times in my life and how I could really measure it by the ice cream I’d eat until I literally was sick to my stomach.
I remember having a problem with a boyfriend and since I worked at the school cafeteria, we pretty much had free rein of what we wanted, I discovered there was ice cream in the freezer. I still don’t recall why it was there, whether it was the property of the school, or if someone stashed their fave there but I discovered a lot of interesting adventures like Steff there in that icy bit of heaven.
I remember when my heart was breaking, I found myself once again at SAGA (the food service) looking for solace. There I found the perfect salve for my wounds in a half full container of chocolate (deep dark and rich) ice cream. I grabbed the ice cream and headed out the door only to run into the SAGA manager who simply said, “broke up with him huh?” I nodded and he said, wait here, and in a few moments he returned with a small container of chopped peanuts.
Without another word, he patted me on the shoulder and smiled and I was out the door. That night as I sat on the dark chapel steps I found someone else needing solace so I shared my ice cream, chopped nuts and spoon as we both sat there and talked for hours. By the time the ice cream was gone, so were our heartbreaks and though we never did socialize much after that, when we met, a comment like “chocolate ice cream” would be said with the other party saying in turn “peanut sprinkles” bringing a knowing smile to both our faces. It was a connection that this book reminded me of and makes me wonder if my ice cream friend remembers it too, four decades later.
As my life went on, like Steff, times changed and so did my preferences and obsessions for ice cream. I went through many stages, chocolate chip, peppermint, coffee, plain old fashioned vanilla with those lovely crunchy things poured over the top, Italian gelato, and finally my all time favorite of all, which I still adore, but which is close to impossible to find, chocolate ice cream with hunks of peanut butter cup within. Sure, I’ve tried to duplicate it, but it isn’t the same, and now I spend hours staring at rows upon rows of ice cream trying to find the elusive chocolate/peanut cup ice cream I still crave.
This book is one that you will start out taking lightly and find very humorous at times but at times, it will hit you in an all too familiar way like an ice cream headache that “that’s ME she’s taking about!” and life will change from that moment on.
The town I live in now has a lovely little ice cream store that has some of the most luscious flavors available. Like the life before him, my son stares at those flavors and tries to find the perfect one for him. But for me, the magic is all but gone. My love of ice cream has dimmed into that of which a small dip now and then of plain old vanilla is all I need. Like my life, my ice cream is simple and in fact it is as easy to wait in the car for my son and not imbibe as it is to choose a flavor. Ice cream doesn’t have that hold on me that it once had and somehow that saddens me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves ice cream of all sorts or even someone like me who simply wants a scoop now and then on a hot summers day. Whether you are an ice cream freak or not, this book will bring to you memories of days spent with first loves, taking walks with ice cream cones to steal a kiss flavored with a bit of chocolate raspberry ripple or ice cream pity parties where you sat surrounded by pints of different ice creams, dipping into (and sometimes eating them all in one setting) a half dozen decadent flavors, trying to heal a broken heart through not the wonder of modern medicine but through the flavors which burst upon your tongue like bits of snow falling from the sky, trying to help you recapture the mystery and happiness you know is there but have no idea what to do to find it.
A thoroughly enjoyable read, “The Ice Cream Theory” is the perfect book for anyone from high school graduation age through retirement, for the memories it brings are ones you will most definitely connect to a certain ice cream in your life and you will see for yourself, as I did, that Steff is right…the only bad ice cream is the ice cream not eaten!