Ever since I can remember, ice cream has been one of my favorite things to eat. For this girl growing up in a third world, tropical country when airconditioning was still a novel thing, ice cream was a liberator to sweltering days where it doesn’t matter how much fans were turned to you, you still felt like a sticky, sweaty mess.
It did help that I had a grandmother who sold it, from Magnolia in its heyday, to Nestle when it took over the national (well provincial) market. I remember being able to finish off a Twin Popsies before even a drop even melted, and a pint of Double Dutch in one sitting. One of my first memories is stirring at a cup of ube ice cream until it melted and drinking it like soup. I remember the most luxurious thing I had as a child was the Nestle Mega, which I now realize was their version of the Magnum, at P20 per stick, the most expensive thing on the menu (excluding pints and gallons). I literally ate away my grandma’s profits for the day, and it didn’t even matter (Sorry Lola) since I was hungry for sweets and a release from the sticky heat, compounded by blackouts in our provincial town.
It took years for my mom to allow us to eat street ice cream, not trusting the street vendors to be sanitary enough (to be fair we all had weird digestive systems). What she didn’t know was, every time we were somewhere for a school field trip that had no chaperone I had my wallet ready to buy an avocado, cheese, ube cone from Manong Sorbetero. Family occasions we bought a whole canful (almost as tall as me) from the neighborhood ice cream maker, and 2 grocery bags full of cones. I was always first to check what flavor was available. When we went to SM North Edsa, it was a huge treat to share a cone of Better Than Ice Cream, a frozen yogurt treat in such an exotic flavor, Mint Chocolate Chip. My dad, when he was having a great night, would bring home cans of Selecta (Oh don’t tell Lola) of Keso, his favorite flavor. When I was a little older and had a bit of control with my allowance, I spent it on Dippin’ Dots, these weirdly small globes of ice cream that just melts in your mouth.
As I grew up, my taste in ice cream evolved. I found Fruits in Ice Cream in UP Diliman and gorged on cones of Green Tea. I giggled at the thought of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from Sebastian’s. The weirdest flavor I think I love is the Bleu Chese from Sebastian’s, with whole chunks of blue cheese topped with walnuts and Palawan Honey. I finally got to taste Cherry Garcia earlier this year, with it being my current favorite flavor.
Later on I came to realize what a relief these soft, sweet, cooling bites were. Until now, when I get annoyed, want to have dessert, am a little angry at the world, I still reach for the freezer. Especially now, with this unbelievable sticky heat, I am keeping my freezer well stocked.
What is your favorite food? Or summer food? Or comfort food?