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Are you eating your 22 pounds of ice cream?


Have you done it? Have you achieved the number of pounds of ice cream that millions of Americans eat every year? According to the TV show “Sunday Morning,” 22 pounds of ice cream go slip slidin’ down our gullets every year. While we can (and do) eat it year-round, summer is when ice creams are the most delectable, aren’t they? Ice cream cools us down like no glass of iced tea ever could. Start slurping some of the hundreds of flavors out there.

You may remember climbing into the family station wagon and sailing off to Howard Johnson’s, which first opened in 1925, and by the ‘70s, had grown to 1,000 restaurants nationwide, with ice cream a staple, and we’re not just talking vanilla, but also 27 other flavors, which seemed like a huge amount. But today bacon ice cream is a big hit in some stores. One shop tried making a smoked salmon ice cream but that didn’t spawn a lot of followers.

Ice cream is … um… hot these days, both on TV and in the news. (Did you know a cow can produce 9,000 gallons of ice cream in a lifetime?) Despite all the commercials and features about eating healthier choices of ice cream, 70% of us still prefer eating the premium kinds, i.e., the “bad” kind, heavy on the cream and sugar, and on us.

Artisanal ice cream producers have popped up in many states, one of them being in the state of Maine. Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, is named one of the top 25 ice creams shops in America. The store is, no surprise, pronounced by the locals as “Mount Dessert Ice Cream.”

The Sea Salt Caramel is not surprisingly a popular flavor, given how salted caramel products are soaring. But there’s loads more, such as Cereal Milk that tastes like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Captain Crunch. Girl Scouts Gone Wild is a must for those who love Thin Mints. If you love figs, try Bay of Figs ice cream. A Rocky Road blend of fudge and marshmallow cream with Belgian chocolate and chocolate “pebbles,” and a cake batter flavor are also on my bucket list. As an homage to Maine’s blueberry crop, Mount Desert Ice Cream came up with Blueberry Sour Cream Crumble, made with wild blueberries. It was rated by judges as OMG! the highest rating. The good news? The company plans to sell it retail in the future, so you can skip the drive to Maine.

Ice & Vice in downtown Manhattan has 11 popular flavors, including buttered popcorn with toasted raisins and dark chocolate bits. You can buy Three Little Pigs, a salted caramel base with bacon fat and chunked bacon pralines.

Can’t decide what to choose? A store called MilkMade in Manhattan will sell you five (not-so) mini cones for $12, if you can’t decide on what flavor. Some of their ice cream flavors include three different kinds of s’mores, chocolate coconut macaroon, PB&J, and a rhubarb compote. What a great idea! Beer samples are sold in small amounts, so why not ice cream?

No need to fly away in search of the perfect ice cream. Think local. You can even cool off with a frozen yogurt and your own choice of candy and cookie toppings at a nearby gas station — while you top off your car with gasoline. How convenient is that? I’d think FroYo counts as one of the 22 lbs you need to eat to be in sync with your fellow Americans.

I’m thinking that next summer I’m going to try to consume 22 pounds (make that gallons) of raspberry iced tea instead of ice cream. Fat chance.

mims cushing, community columns, by the way