I is for Ice Cream!
I love ice cream! Maybe it goes back to childhood and the ice cream truck. This shows my age, but I can remember not just the trucks, but the carts too. We would hear the recorded bell-like music a few blocks away and scramble to ask for a dime from whatever adults happened to be around. As the ice cream man pulled to a stop the kids would line up. Heaven forbid it took you forever to scrounge up some change, because then you have to run to try to get to the truck before the man got back in the cab and drove away. What was your favorite? The little cups with wooden paddle spoons? The original waffle cone nutty buddy? The rainbow bar? The push up? The hunky bar?
Here’s a story about hunky bars. Well, it’s not really about the bar, but about the stick. I don’t anyone calls the chocolate covered vanilla ice cream on a stick a hunky bar anymore. Somehow, hunky came to mean something entirely different, either referring to a man’s attractive muscular build or transforming into honky – often thought of as a derogatory term for white people. Upon researching the word honkey/honky, I found several discrepancies about its origins. Just google it if you want more info. Back to the story about hunky sticks. In my early days of teaching preschool in the early 1970s I wanted the kids to do a project using what I called hunky sticks. I asked another teacher, who happened to be a black woman, if we had any hunky sticks. Maybe she thought I said honky instead of hunky. She stopped and gave me a disbelieving look.
“What did you just ask me?”
“I asked you if we had any hunky sticks.”
“What do you mean do we have any hunky sticks?”
“I mean do we have any of those wooden sticks you get from hunky bars?”
She continued to look at me incredulously. I couldn’t figure out why she was having such a hard time understanding what I was asking about, so I said,
A look of relief flooded her face.
“Oh! “I thought you said hunky sticks!”
“I did say hunky sticks! Like you get from hunky bars, the chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bars.”
“And you call those hunky bars?”
“Yes, that’s what they are.”
“Well, I never heard them called that, and you might want to find out why.”
“Ok, but do we have any?”
I was puzzled, but I asked somebody about it later and was told about the derogatory meaning of honky. I had no clue! The times were changing. And there’s no such thing as hunky sticks anymore. You have to ask for popsicle sticks or the even newer term, craft sticks.
Back to the original topic – ice cream! Remember the little cardboard cups that came with the wooden paddle-like spoons? Every kid in Atlanta during the 1950s and most of the sixties was delighted when their school served the little French’s ice cream cups. What a treat! Yet, when the French’s truck came around to neighborhoods we didn’t want the plain cups. My favorite was the rainbow bar, a type of orange sherbet flavor but it wasn’t icy like sherbet. Or maybe it had sherbet swirled with vanilla ice cream. Hard to find rainbow ice cream like that anymore, but a Varsity Frosted Orange can be satisfactory substitute.
The first Atlanta ice cream parlors I recall were operated by Miss Georgia Dairies. We just called it “Miss Georgia.” Oh the joy when on a hot summer evening Mama would say “Let’s go to Miss Georgia and get a hot fudge sundae!” There were three locations I remember. When I was very young and we lived in West End there was a small one next to the Gordon Theatre. There was a big one on Lee Street, near Oakland City Park. It had drive-in service with carhops. I can remember my sister dragging me along with her and her high school friend who had a car. My favorite there was always the cherry spinning wheel. What’s a spinning wheel? It’s the original term for a milkshake because it was made on that machine with the spinning wheel! The other location was Cascade – that was after we left West End for Venetian Hills. The banana split was another favorite; the old fashioned kind with the three different flavors of ice cream, three different toppings, whipped cream (real of course), nuts, and a cherry on top.
The Miss Georgia’s went away and the Diary Queens came in. Oh, the soothing feel of those soft Dairy Queen cones. I remember Mama driving me home from the doctor where I’d just been diagnosed with mono – yep, the teenage “kissing disease” that she blamed on my boyfriend: mononucleosis. We stopped at the Dairy Queen on Delowe Drive. That luscious cold vanilla felt so good going down my swollen sore throat. Dairy Queens also featured prominently when my boys were little. After every baseball game we hit the Dairy Queen for those little ice cream sundaes in the baseball cap bowls. Most Dairy Queens are still around. Even now, my husband and I go for a treat. He likes a blizzard while I adore a peanut buster parfait.
There some very good store bought ice cream brands nowadays: Breyer’s, Bluebell, or Haagen-Dazs. I only want real ice cream – no ice milk or frozen yogurt for me! Then there are the ice cream shops. Imagine the wonder of 31 Baskin Robbins flavors. The small towns have their Tastee Freezes and their Dairy Kings. But often the very best ice cream is found in the little independent mom and pop ice cream stands. My favorite of all of these is in Flagler Beach, FL. It’s called The Waffle Cone. Beware! It is addictive.
Naturally, no store bought ice cream can compare to home made. I have fond memories of family cookouts, and they usually included ice cream made in the old timey hand-churned ice cream freezers. We would buy bags of ice and the rock salt, then take turns turning and turning that handle round and round. There was no such thing as an electric ice cream churner in those days. Mama’s favorite flavor was always peach, but I preferred the banana. Hand churned ice cream was always a highlight at church socials too. There was peach, strawberry, banana, vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, and probably a few others served along with pie, cake, brownies and cookies. All home baked of course. And who doesn’t love a big scoop of ice cream on homemade peach or apple pie?
Now, I must stop writing and make a little trip…hmm…what flavor shall I get? What flavor would you get? Comment below!
Betcha didn’t know this was a real song!
Step back in time…Vintage Mister Softee Commercial